Konnichiwa our friends!

10 Jul

Arriving in Tokyo was exciting! Although we almost didn’t make it as SOMEBODY (hmmm… Troy!) thought leaving his passport back in Toowoomba was a good idea.  It’s a city of vibrancy, beautiful, compassionate and friendly people, fast trains, bright lights, vending machines selling ice-cream, coffee, soft drinks, alcohol and cigarettes, Big Echo karaoke, delicious food, arcade games, mobile phones (and the accessories almost everybody hangs off them) and very crowd-friendly. The city is so alive and we absolutely loved exploring what there was to offer.

We tried to cram our list of must-do things into the four days we have had here. We have seen:

  • Imperial gardens
  • Tokyo Tower and the wax and space wax museums
  • Karaoke (with our awesome friend Haruka!)
  • Akihabara Electric Town
  • Anime centre
  • Disneyland
  • Ueno park
  • Ikebukuro Toyota Auto Salon (Matt’s favourite place where he finished races in 2nd and 1st on a simulator! He was very excited about this)
  • Takeshita Dori (street in Harajuko)
  • Ginza city lights
  • Visited Kyoto yesterday on the bullet train.

Our most memorable days were Disneyland and Kyoto. It was de ja vu for us as we walked through the gates at Disneyland – almost everything is identical to Disneyland in LA, except in Japanese! Mickey Mouse speaks Japanese very well! We spent 12 hours in the park (man were our feet sore, but our calf muscles look amazing!) and made it on every ride and saw most of the street parades.

Kyoto (the old capital) is gorgeous. If you want to see traditional Japan, come here. The temples and shrines we visited were so beautiful – very neatly kept, green as ever with trees and all types of plants, and raked gardens. One in particular stood out – Ginkauji temple – as did Nijojo Castle with the nightingale floors (the floors squeak like birds as they walk across them to warn of intruders) and rice paper sliding doors, moat and beautiful gardens.

We stayed at the Ninja hostel in Asakusabashi east of the main center of Tokyo and easily accessible to this area as well.

The crowds are massive, but everything seems to be designed for the large numbers of people. Trains run almost three minutes apart, people are orderly and respect lines, customer service is super fast (but really friendly), people are happy to stand (EVERYWHERE – we didn’t see one bench at a train station or on the pavement), and there are vending machines, convenience stores and restaurants on every corner.

The people here are so friendly – flash a smile at someone and you’ll likely get one back with a slight nod of the head. We were asked on more than one occasion if we needed help with directions and train lines as we stood around looking for the next train we had to catch. People are more than happy to point you in the right direction.

The language barrier is interesting! Some things get lost in translation, but we very quickly became experts at sign language and pointing at where we wanted to go on maps. Some of the restaurants have pictures of the food so we could take a guess at what we were ordering.

The weather has been so very hot, but on occasion it will start to rain and cool things down. We’re looking forward to some nicer weather in London!

We are about to start a very long day to get to London – almost 30 hours including flights and wait time at Colombo airport.

Pictures of our time in Japan to come soon!

Bye for now (Ja ne!)

Mel and Matt xoxoxoxo

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One Response to “Konnichiwa our friends!”

  1. nyree July 10, 2010 at 8:56 PM #

    Cool. Sounds good already!

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today was meaningful

a collection of thoughts, life lessons, and days full of meaning.

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An Australian in Germany

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