Random thoughts of a Brit living in the Imperial Valley of California

More Tokyo Sight Seeting

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We all worked Saturday so that we wouldn’t have to work Sunday. I actually probably won’t have to work Tuesday either but we’ll see. I may have to hang around the office just in case something turns up that they need me to do. When I left the office Saturday evening they had turned the downstairs reception into a big PS3 play area, it looked sweet.

So, my final day of sight-seeing and I got up late and made my plan. First, I would go to Asakusa to see the Sensoji Temple, the oldest such building in Tokyo dating back to 628. From there I would go to Akihabara, the electronics capitol of Tokyo where lots of small (and not so small) vendors hawk the latest gadgets. After that, a long subway ride to Harajuku, famous for the Tokyo youth to prance around in freakish fashions.

I’ve uploaded some pictures to two new flickr sets: Asakusa set, and Akihabara set, and added some new ones in the regular Tokyo set that don’t belong in either. If you want to read more, click on the link….

Asakusa is at the end of the Ginza line so it took a while to get out there. I chose an exit from the subway at random and was dumped out straight facing the Asahi brewery across the river. It is somewhat famous for the object on the roof, I don’t know what the object is – a hop? A carrot?? I was heading for the shrine with my usual lack of direction when I stumbled upon Nakamise. I hadn’t noticed this in the guidebook but its a huge indoor market selling everything from tourist crap to highclass clothing and gifts. It was totally packed with people but I was able to pick out some gifts for the family. I even found something for our dogs. At the end of the market was the Shrine, another impressive monument with many very cool stone buddahs and landscaping.

After that it was a couple of trains to Akihabara. It reminds me of Oxford Circus in London, except with higher quality items and more noise. Every store has someone outside (often a girl in a maid outfit) shouting at you to come in and look, or handing you a leaflet. If you go inside a store there is more loud shouting which almost drowns out the high energy music. The prices didn’t look that good to me on the high end goods, cheaper to buy a PSP in San Diego for instance, but I am sure some items were a good deal or only available in Japan right now. I was feeling hungry and stumbled upon a KFC so took a late lunch with some chicken and fries. Yummy.

It amazes me how healthy most Japanese people look and yet almost all of them smoke. Sitting in the KFC, everyone around me was smoking, a couple of them lighting up one after another. They may be considerate with cell phone noise but they don’t care about giving a guy cancer when he’s trying to lick his fingers clean.

I wandered around some more and was just trying to work out how to get to Harajuku when I realised I should have bought one more gift. The market was so good I decided to go back and look for something. After I found what I was looking for I had had enough for the day and just came back to the hotel. The Harajuku boys and girls can evade my camera today. And to be quite honest I’ve gotten bored of taking pictures of girls in shorts and high boots. Yeah, I am definitely not feeling myself!

On the train back to the hotel I was sat opposite three school age girls all dressed in what I would call a maid outfit, but not a french maid, more the old fashioned long skirt and thick petticoat kind, and a couple had bonnets on. They all had small suitcases so they must have been to something. They would have made a great picture and I thought about asking them. I’ve read that most of the time Japanese children are very happy to have their picture taken but I stuck to my usual reserve and kept the camera in my pocket.

It was a decent day out but I am down to just 1100 Yen (about $100) in cash. Most Japanese ATMs dont take non-Japanese cards and for some reason the machine here in the hotel is closed from Saturday lunchtime to Monday morning so I have been stuck with the cash I had on hand. So unless I grab a drink in the hotel and charge it, or buy a couple of tinnies from the off licence near by I am stuck with a dull night ahead of me.

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October 29th, 2006 at 2:10 am

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