Last week we left the nice quiet countryside and headed for the big city to see my mother on her way back from England. Coming from a reasonably small city in New Zealand and then of course living in the real countryside of Japan I always find Japanese cities a little overwhelming. Tokyo has a population of over 12 and a half million. New Zealand has a population of around 4 million...... Actually there are around 35 million people living in the greater Tokyo area, but who is counting!
To get to Tokyo from our house we took the train - well two trains actually. The shinkansen (bullet train) is definately a little faster than the trains in New Zealand - reaching speeds of up to 300km per hour. Of course it still took about 6 and a half hours to get to Tokyo from our house and still costs a lot of money, but the seats are far more comfortable than an airplane seat and free for kids under 6 !
For me the concrete jungle and endless people in Tokyo just make me tired. There are some good places to go - we made it to Tokyo Tower and of course Disneyland. For shopaholics I am sure there are many more things to do, but for country folks like us the pull of the garden, frogs and snakes was greater than the urge to stay amongst the millions of people who seem to spend their whole day commuting to and from work.
Of course it was great to spend some time with Mum though - and you can never stop at enough coffee shops to rest your legs!