In the Tokyo Groove

Trip Start Oct 05, 2009
Trip End Oct 20, 2009

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Flag of Japan  , Kanto,
Thursday, October 8, 2009


Refreshed and rejuvenated, we had a late start a hot shower each and a family chat over breakfast to plan our first real day of exploring Tokyo. Did we say what a nice place we have found in the Sakura Hostel? Archie made friends with everyone and took a particular shine to Shun – a friendly native of Japan heading for Singapore.

We decided to head to Akihabara – the electronics shopping capital of the world so it seemed. Michael was in his glory and has vowed to go back for a second look on his own on Saturday – Michelle immediately became concerned that he'd get lost. Mike is supremely confident that he won’t, so we’ll see what Saturday brings. We have found the subway system here in Tokyo to be just first class – poor old Sydney looks so amateur by comparison. We have not had to wait more than a minute for any trains – and so far we have been on several, and everything is so clean and well organised. Every station has many people working – from men waving flags in a very animated way to ticket inspectors, cleaners and guides. All are so very helpful, and so well dressed. We love the place already.

We ventured into many computer shops, discount stores and even an eight level building devoted almost entirely to manga magazines, videos and associated techno wizardry. After Akihabara we made our way to another district – Ginza. With every shopping label in the world, the highlight was the Sony building with all the latest Sony products (some yet to be released) presented in a very hands-on way and we were all encouraged to have a play.

Not finding a place for a cheap feed in Ginza we ventured back to our base in Asakusa and found a fantastic tempura restaurant. Oh my Lord the Japanese know how to cook a good feed. We each had a tray served with tempura fried seafood and vegetables plus rice and a range of side dishes – things we have never tried before. Again, everyone had a good go at the local cuisine and we can’t wait to see what our next meal delivers us.

After a rest back in the hostel, we took an early evening train over to the district of Shinjuku and went up to the 45th floor of the Metropolitan Government building for an absolutely mind blowing night view of the city. Tokyo is just too huge to describe; it literally looked like the city lights went on forever. We also must say how incredibly huge and amazing the train station at Shinjuku is – apparently up to 3 million people travel through it on any day and we reckon that half of them were there at the time we were. This is such an incredibly different place to anything we have ever experienced before...

Back to our hostel by 10pm for a very well earned sleep.

Some observations of Japan so far? The people are warm, friendly and welcoming and we have been helped by people in the street many times. Everyone takes pride in their job, no matter how apparently menial; and all are so very well presented. The mix of ancient and ultra modern seems to work beautifully. The food is fantastic.

Anyway dear friends, sleep is calling. Tomorrow we head to Tokyo Disneyland and are all looking forward to see the Japanese spin on American kitsch. Until then...

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