Time for my first update from Japan! Before I begin, I must warn you...
I am a little drunk right now. And the keyboard punctuation locations are totally different.
Anyway, Amy and I headed off after waiting an hour and a half on the calgary airport tarmack due to a problem with their *papers* but we had the personal tvs on the flight and I:d requested a vegetarian meal so the food was good too. Easily my best long distance flight, especially with it being air canada. We arrived in the late afternoon Japan time, which is about 13 hours ahead of back home. After a few more long waits in line ups, we were on the subway and off to our Tokyo home, the Khaosan Ninja hostel! The location is not the best, but it is easy to connect to the subway and it is a cute, quiet hostel. We are in the mixed dormatories (10 beds) and our hostel-mates seem to be decent, respectful people.
We didn't do much after we arrived... just a short walk of the neighbourhood. We did get some really delicious ramen curry at a little shop in the alleyway near the hostel, under the train tracks. The whole place shook every time a train went overhead. I loved it! It was just like being in a movie. We made it back to the hostel and I fell asleep while reading, which resulted in me clocking myself in the head when I dropped my ebook reader into my face.
Today we woke up EARLY (like 6am) and got a good start on the day. We exchanged our JR pass vouchers for the trains today because the line at the airport station was ridiculous. The pass is very convenient so far and we have used JR lines for most of our stations anyway, which saves us a few extra dollars. For breakfast we had some awesomely delicious onigiri (rice balls with meat and/or seasoning... the japanese version of a sandwich).
We truly started our day by going to the Studio Ghibli Museum and it was truly FANTASTIC. Sadly, no pictures were permitted inside but I will be adding some outside photos soon. The short film we got to see was about an underwater spider who falls in love with a water glider. Adorable! Amy and I also bought souvenier mugs with totoro on them. Naturally, we picked the exact same mug. It was just awesome to get to experience Miyazaki films the way their intended audience gets to do it! The whole museum had this very European country feeling. I would love a house with that design.
We then set our sights on wandering the Shinjuku area. We walked EVERYWHERE trying to find the big station crossing but were totally lost. While looking at a map the nicest gentleman offered his help and gave us a free map of the area. He also gave us some tips on things to see. We checked out Yodobashi camera and the electric street, then gave up on the area and headed for Harajuku.
It wasn't until we were on the train that Amy realized it.
The famous intersection was in Shibuya, not shinjuku.
Harajuku was a fashion dream. It made me a little jealous to not be young enough to pull some of these insane fashion choices off. I mean, I could wear it, but who would take me seriously? Worse still, I could look like an old lady wearing clothing that she borrowed from her daughter. Yuck.
Amy finally found some takoyaki (deep fried octopus balls) that she'd been on about all morning. I indulged in a delicious crepe. We had an unbelievable lunch of sashimi on rice and miso soup. We did a lot of shopping and a lot of planning to come back again later since we will be leaving out of tokyo, therefore we don:t have to carry heavy gift items all over Japan.
After Harajuku our feet were exhausted so we came back to our hostel, did some planning and future hostel bookings, and headed out for dinner. Some sushi and a great, big serving of hot sake later, here I am! Tomorrow we are thinking we will visit Akihabara (the otaku/anime nerd district) and hopefully get to Ueno to see the gardens and view more of the cherry blossom trees since they are just opening. It may rain, so the plan might have to change, but we:ll see! I will try to add pictures tomorrow but for now I am exhausted so we are going to sit and enjoy some green tea ice cream instead!
Update again soon.