Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Tokyo Part 2

So here we are, the last blog.... :(

After 10 planes, 7 trains, 31 buses, 13 boat journeys, 5 minibuses, 3 cars, 1 campervan and countless other trips on boats, buses, taxis, rickshaws, scooters (yes mum we rented them) and trains, we have made it to our final destination, Tokyo! (pt 2) I hope no one is adding up our carbon footprint!

It was a bit more difficult to find our hostel as we forgot to copy the directions, but we eventually found it and eventually managed to get the hostel staff to acknowledge us and check us in.

It was my birthday and Emma had something planned as we were heading out to be somewhere for 6! Lost at 6.15, Emma needed help so decided to tell me we were eating posh nosh on the 40th floor of a nearby building! A guy directed us and when we arrived it wasn't a problem that we were 30 mins late!! The view was amazing and the food was really good too. It was an all you can eat buffet, but, a really posh one! We weren't sure if they had experienced British people at an all you can eat buffet before, but I think we filled a dishwasher with the amount of dishes we used! After I had my first round of dessert(s!), they brought out a birthday cake which was a plate full of candyfloss with a candle in it!! Excellent!

After the meal we stopped for drinks at a stand up bar. Stand up places are very popular in Japan as people are always on the go. It definitely had a local feel about it. The guy behind the bar got Emma to try Shochu which is a Japanese wine distilled from barley, sweet potato or rice (about 25% alcohol). It was pretty gross and definitely tasted of potato's!

We finished off our night at the hostel bar drinking free sake. We were surprised to see our room mates from Kyoto in the same bar so drunk with them for a bit.

Next morning we went back to Ueno park to see how the cherry blossom was getting on. A few more trees had actually started to blossom so the temples looked really nice!

Being the bargain hunting backpackers that we are we found out about a free viewing tower in the government building in the Shinjuku area. We even got a free audio guide! Unfortunately it was still a bit too cloudy to see Mt. Fuji, but great views and even better that it was freeeee! We rounded off the night with a curry! Proper job.

The next morning we got up early and headed to Mt. Fuji. We had carefully picked this day as BBC weather,, metcheck all said it was going to a sunny day. Well it was cloudy. We got to Lake Kawaguchi and couldn't see Mt. Fuji so thought it was hiding itself behind one of the hills. We headed for a view point on the other side of the lake and saw half a mountain covered in cloud. The cloud wasn't that thick so at times, the top of the mountain poked through. Anyway, we waited there for 4 hours in the freezing cold for the cloud to clear. It didn't clear, so we headed back to the bus stop with a few OK pictures.

Just as we were about to leave we got hungry and went to the 7/11 it was then we noticed the mountain had suddenly appeared! We couldn't believe our luck. BAD luck because we had been standing at an amazing viewpoint and didn't get a decent picture and GOOD luck because we actually saw the mountain, albeit a bad view.


We got up early on our last day keen to see the last of the days sights. We headed for the Tokyo Fishmarket at about 8.30 ish. The famous auction had taken place (3 hours earlier!) and people were selling the fish they had bought at the auction. As we only had a bag of chocolate covered cornflakes for breakfast (yes it is as good as it sounds) we decided to have Sushi again, for a late breakfast! We had tuna, snowcrab, eel, squid and Emma had octopus (it had tentacles on!). I was going to eat half of it but it wouldn't break down, never mind! Next time :P (for parents, thats a smiley face with a sticky out tongue!)

We then headed to the imperial palace which isn't as grand as it sounds. It was bombed in WWII so parts have been rebuild parts have been tarmacked over! The emperor still lives in the bit you cant goto which is probably the best bit. We went to a free museum there which housed gifts received from other nations. We saw extravagant gifts from Korea, Kenya, Cambodia and many other countries. Expecting the best of the best from the England we see that the Queen and old Phil had given the emporer a lace table cloth, the sort of table cloth you would see in a greasy spoon in England! How embarrassing, the gift from Wales was obviously being used in the emperors house, unlike the table cloth!!!

We went to Harijuku to see the crazy fashion folk but it wasn't happening and after a few seconds we got deja-vu, as we had already been there before and it was no good last time either!

Straight back on the subway, we then decided to be wacky and goto the Tokyo Stock Exchange as it was a free tour. It was pretty boring. Basically its a big building that they use to use before everything was computerised and now they've got all this spare space to allow boring tours! I'm pretty sure the people 'working' were actors and were just looking at screensavers!

We then went to go shopping to get the many souvenirs we had earmarked. There was also a dragon parade on the street hence the photos.

In the evening we decided to head to Rappongi which we heard was popular with expats etc. As we walked through it didn't seem that great, no thanks to the people hanging around. We splashed out and went for a TGIs anyway! As we walked in we noticed that during a persons 'birthday month(!)' they get a free desert. After our awesome meal of ribs and chicken burger, both huge, I went to the bathroom while Emma enquired about the free desert. 5 minutes later the staff were around the table singing happy birthday and brought me a free desert!! Excellent! They also gave me a birthday card with a picture of us that they took 5 minutes earlier!

Japan has been...cold (Emmas input). Its also been pretty cool with a mix of history with shrines and pagodas and modern lifestyle. The people have been really friendly and helpful when we have looked lost. I think the happy people have just been to toilet though, those seat warmers and bum washers puts a smile on anyone's face!!

So that's it. Thanks for reading, you will now all be charged for the privilege - how else did you think we'd fund our trip?!

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