Location: Tokyo, Japan
Hi there and welcome to my last post from japan. I leave tomorrow afternoon. I am not really sure what to do all day. A lot of public places are closed on mondays in japan. privately run places are open usually, maybe I will just sir and wait.
So this morning I decided to go see Tokyo Disneyland. I probably would have gone in but before I even arrived they had stopped selling tickets for the day. too many people already. I have a feeling the park isn't as big as its american counterparts and probably sees way more people. Especially on such a nice weekend. I couldn't even get to the front gate for a picture. They do have a shopping mall outside the gates though. So I wandered in there for a while. I have noticed a phenomenon at other tourist places as well as at disneyland. Japanese people love souvenirs. Waking through a disney one, people had baskets full of stuff. I would watch them walk by something, look at it for two seconds and in the basket it went. They were easily spending over $300. After I had all I could stand of the crowds, I left for ueno park.
I guess I eally didn't have though of crowds at disneyland because ueno was just as bad. I hate window shoppers, especially on an already narrow street. Once I had lunch I went into the park proper. They were having some kind of fair as well, but not about food. It seemed to be about resorts and onsens. It didn't stop then from having a children s show with odd mascots.
I went into the nature and science museum. The exhibits were very interesting. it would have been more interesting if I could read japanese. Today they happened to be holding a little mini classical concert put on by a string quartet. It was apleasant way to enjoy my afternoon. With it being warm, my belly full from lunch, and relaxing music, I almost fell asleep. I wasnt the only one. You could see others doing some nodding.
I then just enjoyed the park for a while and headed to my hotel. I could do more but my feet hurt. they never seemed to really adjust to all the walking.
This has been a great trip and a great experience. I am looking forward typ coming home, but there is a small part that just wants to hop on a plane bound for somewhere new. The chances of me doing that are slim typ none though. There is too much to look forward to at home.
I will come back to japan one day, but I wonder where the next trip will be to..
Location: Kamakura and tokyo, Japan
Well, another day is nearing its end. It was a hot one today, 31°. Tomorrow if supposed to be just as hot. A great way to finish my trip.
Today I had breakfast at the Denny's across the way. I had the japanese/western meal. It wasnt exactly ab american size breakfast. Only 1 egg, 2 small slices of bacon, rice, miso soup, and natto. I have decided that I don't like natto. Its flavor just is not quite to my liking.
I went to kamakura today. It is an old capital and has a lot of temples. It is especially important for zen buddhism. The 5 temples I say all had some kind of unique statue and/or zen garden. I really like the simplicity of a zen garden, whether its a rock garden or has flora. The kamakura area has a lot of temples you can see, but the ones I saw were more than enough. You coulda easily spend a full day or more exploring them, as it was I took 4 hours.
The main attraction in kamakura is the large buddha that is outdoors. The building that used to protect it was washed away many years ago by a tsunami with no damage to the buddha. Then it survived a major earthquake, again with no damage to the buddha. that is some good handiwork. it was interesting to see. I thought it was going to ner bigger, but it is quite smaller than the daibutsu in nara. You can go inside the kamakura one though. You can see some of the techniques used to make it.
I visited one last templ after that, which had a large kannon statue with 11 heads. Another very interesting statue.
I left the kamakura area and visited the food fair I sae yesterday. It was like you would expect. Good and drink stalls everywhere, but with a japanese flair. The vendors yelling out trying to get business. you could smell the deep fried goodness in the air. I wanted to ready so much, but so much of it I couldn't eat. I did have a couple things, including some kind if mystery meat I thought was crab, but may not have been. Ah, the spirit of travel and adventure.
In the evening I wanted to go see tokyo tower lit up. I thought all I was going to get was the pictures from the ground, but a building nearby had its observation floor still open. so I paid the admission and went up. I was reassessed with a great view of not only tokyo tower but all of tokyo as well. very cool. Although the pictures I took just didn't do it justice.
For dinner I went to the same place as last night, it was that good. Even though I was not hungry and an writing this in some pain from eating took much, it was completely worth it.
Only 1 more full day and one morning left in japan.
Location: Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan
Good evening to all my adoring fans. You do all adore me right? RIGHT?!?
This morning when I woke up it was pouring rain, hard. Great, I thought. Raining when I arrive so why not rain when I leave. I went down for breakfast and found out it was a little different from yesterday. No whole fish today but rather a nice sized piece of grilled salmon. It was really good. I assumed it was salmon but maybe it was something elgar. They also had a mushroom miso soup that was served in its own little pot with a candle yo heat it. It was really cool and I want one. There was a variety of vegetable dishes and rice to round out my meal.
By the time I checked out the rsin had stopped and by the time I was at the train station it was sunny and hot. The forecast for the rest of mytrip is sunny and hot. That's not just me being optimistic. That's according to the news.
A short shinkansen ride and I am back in the tokyo area. It feels like a month since I left tokyo, but its only been 2 weeks. I had a couple of hours until I could check into my next hotel so I visited tokyo tower. Tokyo tower is shaped like the eiffel tower. Its fun to see, even though the view from it is a little unimpressive after being up the skytree. One thing the tokyo tower had over the skytree is tokyo tower gave my some pretty good vertigo. In the skytree, the elevator ride up is inside the tower with no windows. In the tokyo tower you get a outside view. I hope it didn't look like I was trying to hide from the view to the other people in the elevator. It must have been because the observation deck is a lot lower in tokyo tower compared to the skytree. Its feels the same with helicopters versus trains.
After tokyo tower, I tried to find a pokemon building I saw a sign for at the train station. I didn't find it but I did find the mast for an old sailing ship coming out of a plaza. It was a landmark for the pier right there, but from a distance I thought I was going to see an old sailing ship.
My new hotel is in the shibuya district. I think I had my districts confused because shibuya is a shopping mecca. I thought shinjuku was, but I was really thinking of shibuya. Shibuya has that big intersection that you see photos of filled with people. It was cool to see in person. Unless the one I am thinking of is really in shinjuku. If you like shopping, you will love shibuya.
Nearby is the meiji jingu. This is where Emperor Meiji is enshrined. The park they created for it is amazing. I say park but it is more like a forest in tokyo.
On my way there I saw people setting up for a fair for this weekend. Looks like its similar to taste of calgary, just taste of kyushu. I will try typ get typ it sunday.
I wandered in shibuya some more looking for dinner. I settled on a steak and rice bowl. For a place not known for a lot of cattle ranching, I have found the japanese do beef and steaks really well. In fact, the steak in japan has been better than most places in alberta.
That pretty much covers today. tomorrow I plan to head to kamakura for another big buddha and more temples. Sunday I might go to disneyland. Maybe.
Location: Hakone, Japan
Hi ya'll. today was pretty laid back, sort of. I didn't rush anywhere, and only went to places I wanted to, but was still out most of the day.
I have managed to adjust my sleeping somewhat. I get up at 545 now instead of 0400. Problem is, in this area I an in nothing opens until 930 or later. I went for a walk before breakfast down to the lake. Luckily the vending machines around here all have the hot canned coffee, so up could have that instead of nothing. I suppose before that I had tea in my room, but that doesn't count. Why? Because I wasnt dressed yet. That's right. If your not dressed, it doesn't count. I didn't make rules.
At breakfast today I encountered two things I had yet to experience. One is that grilled fish that is spread open for you. The spine and tail are still there, as well as the outer part of the head. I didn't have my phone so no picture. Tomorrow maybe. I had no idea how to eat it with chopsticks, so I made a nigh mess and wasnt able to get at all the meat. It was really good, at least the parts I ate. The other food was natto. Natto is fermented beans. they are beret sticky and stringy. They also make a big mess if you touch them. I was looking forward typ trying this since I heard so much about it. I didn't hate it but I didn't like it either. I tried it and that is what matters.
After breakfast I walked down to the pirate ship for the first ride. The lake feels like any lake in bc. It's because most buildings in the area are not japanese style, but rather that sort of swiss, european style. I don't know why it's like that but whatever. near the other end of the lake Mt. Fuji came into view behind us. Or at least the peak did, the lower parts were obscured by clouds. I guess I should mention the skies around the lake were clear, but not towards Mt. Fuji.
After I got off the boat I wandered around a while. I came to another view spot for mt. Fuji, at another non japanese building. By this time however, mt.fuji was completely covered by clouds. I also walked down what remains of an old edo to kyoto highway that had giant cedars on either side. It was once considered a major route, but isnt much bigger than a wide pathway. Still interesting when you think about what it used to be.
I eventually got on another boat (there were three ' ships') back to my original starting point. From there I took a gondola up to an area where old volcanic activity had opened up vents that sulfuric gas escapes from. up there they have a specialty food, black eggs. They boil eggs in the sulfuric spring water and it turns the shells black. If you eat them it is supposed typ extend your life by 7 years. I had one and it was pretty good.
After that I went down the other side of the hill and took a little scenic mountain train. It uses a couple of switchbacks to get down the hill. Once that ride was done I took a bus back to my lodging. That was the extent of my day. I could have done a bit more but I really didn't feel like it.
Tomorrow I head back typ the tokyo area for my last few days. There is more to see and do there that I didn't get to at the start of my trip.
Good evening to all. Today was not an action packed day. But I think I have reached a point where Up really want to take it easy. It's as lot more tiring to travel the way I an than I thought it would be. Maybe up should actually try to take a break, not just say I will then go full speed ahead. Yah, and maybe the earth will stop spinning.
So this morning I stuffed myself at the breakfast buffet. And bacon. Lots of bacon. now that I think of it, today was only second time I had bacon in japan. They also had whole and cut up fish you could grill yourself, but I passed on that. Sorry fish, bacon wins.
After breakfast I had planned on ching for a quick hike up the mountain/hill right beside the hotel. It was to have lead to popular spot overlooking kobe. However the typhoon that came in and its heavy rains said otherwise.I just left for hakone a bit early.
I thought the weather would improve by the time I arrived in hakone and for a quilter ity looked like it would. But by the time I arrived in the area of my lodging, it was raining hard. Two of the major attractions on the area, a gondola and a sightseeing boat designed like a pirate ship were closed. Hopefully tomorrow has better weather. So after I checked in I took it easy.
Later I enjoyed the onsen here. An onsen is a hot spring. Supposedly this I've iya good for the eyes and sore muscles. It wasnt as hour as the temple bath, but I was good after about 10 minutes. at this ryokan I am at, you can reserve the open air baths for private use, for freezer. That's good because you aren't allowed in the public baths if you have a tattoo. there is still singe negative connotations with tattoos among some people, so some places don't allow tattoos. So even though I was alone in my onsen time, it still feels weird to be naked in a communal place.
And that was my unexciting day. Maybe tomorrow will be as equally exciting. I guess we shall see