MATT: Couple of entries today as we have made it out of Tokyo to Osaka by bullet train. The public transport here is unreal...fast, clean and exactly on time. There is no question of delay or lack of information. Luckily most signage is in Japanese and English, and most everyone speaks enough English or is friendly and happy enough to point with us at maps and timetables so that we are understood. The Japanese people are, almost without exception, extremely freindly, polite and respectful...lots of bowing and smiling everywhere, and people seem really happy to help.
So...what have we been up to...
Our last day in Tokyo was spent walking along the bay, through some beautiful Edo period gardens (unspeakably tranquil and definitely a highlight) where we even sat and had a nice chat with an 80 year old Tokyoite who was making his first vist to the gardens also. I think Kel would have been happy to take him travelling with us...
We then moved on to Tokyo's fish market...which is exactly the winding alleys, fish stalls and hustle and bustle that you would expect of Tokyo. We bought some freshly fried fish to eat on the street...delicious.
After, we made a quick stop at the main station in Tokyo to pick up our passes for the bullet train (a great deal - as you can use it for unlimited travel on any JR service) and then headed in to the main shopping street of Tokyo. This place is unreal and where I really start to see Japan as being somewhere in the furure of the rest of the world. The number of people, the lights and buildings were fantastic...like Bond St on steroids (some photo's will follow when we get somewhere to upload them).
Our last night was spent eating take away food and packing as we had a real early start to Osaka the next morning.
Osaka by bullet train...then a long hike with our bags through the mad crowds of Osaka's theatre district to find our hotel. The Cross Hotel is a nice place if you ever visit Osaka...central, pretty cool and very comfortable. This time the toilet not only washes your ass automatically, but drys it too...cool.
Osaka is a bit grittier than Tokyo, by no means as pretty, but seems more like the Japan of the movies...Jap punks, street stalls for noodles, weird gambling and video gaming halls, neon everywhere. Really alive...
We spent the evening at Univeral Studios (all in Japanese which adds to the already surreal experience of a theme park) and loved going on the far out rides - Back to the Future, Jurassic Park, Terminator, Spiderman and Jaws. Spiderman was the highlight...if you ever come to Osaka - go.
The next morning we enjoyed noodles at a street stall and a wander around the centre..I would have liked to spent a bit longer in Osaka - but on to Kyoto, where we are now.
Last night is a small, but comfortable hotel room and we are about to head out for a look around before we head to the Ryoken this afternoon...more of that after we have had the experience.
Have to go now as my money is running out...peace...