Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Tokyo 2012

I'm guessing that my big catch up is going to be in a very random order and will probably have some current activities thrown into the mix.
The first photos I discovered on my camera were from a trip I took to Tokyo in October.  To be brutally honest, I hate Tokyo.  I don't understand why people want to visit there, let alone live there - I am a country bumpkin who prefers to hang out with wild boars and chickens than with wall to wall people!  That being said, this trip to Tokyo was worth the crowds as I got to meet up with my father and stepmother and celebrate all our birthdays together. 
The plan was very simple - we were flying into different airports so I booked the hotel and gave easy directions to get there - "simply go out the WEST exit and turn right. Walk a little bit down the road and you should then see the hotel on the left."  You know, the kind of directions that would work perfectly here (with the exception that any building landmarks would be replaced by rice paddies).  Unfortunately the station we were arriving at was Shinjuku station, which happens to be about the most confusing station in the entire world.  Yes, you can find the WEST exit.. but there are a zillion different WEST exits.... Of course if I had read the wikipedia information about the station before giving my simple instructions I might have thought twice!  
Anyway, I managed to find my way to the hotel by eventually finding an information center and the other two followed later with the help of an old man whose hobby is helping lost waifs and strays to find their way around the most confusing station in the world.  We then had 3 days of eating, talking, walking, trying to find socks, trying to find things to do, getting lost and getting found, getting on and off subways, going up and down lifts, visiting big temples and museums, and most importantly drinking coffee and catching up on things on the other side of the world. 
The big tourist attraction in Tokyo at the moment is the Sky Tree, a big tower that if you are lucky enough (or patient enough to stand in the lines long enough) you can climb for a huge price and see a great view over Tokyo.  Me, being the huge tourist that I am, couldn't quite justify it though and we opted for the Tokyo Metropolitan building view instead.  I think we waited about 2 minutes in the line and got panoramic views of the city from the height of 202 metres for free.  Great views at a great price.  
As expected the 3 days raced by a bit too fast and all of a sudden I was standing on the platform waving goodbye yet again.  Would I go to Tokyo again?  On my own for a "break" - NO.  To meet family - in a heart beat!

Here is a strange slideshow of a few of the highlights... sorry, I can't get the photobucket slideshow function to work and it is my first play with smilebox....
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  1. Gotta love the Tokyo Metropolitan building and it's free views! Thanks for sharing the photos too - mmmm noodles!

  2. haha! I feel exactly the same way about Tokyo. My worst directions gaff was directing my parents around Nagoya station. I had printed out maps, drawn lines on them in red and marked landmarks, the works. It was all futile though as right at the start when I said 'head out the central exit' I assumed they were on ground level while they stayed in the underground mall. >_< Ah well, we don't have those problems around here!

  3. Natedogg1:36 PM

    I remember standing at the top of the Tokyo Met tower and watching a korean boy try work out how to use a chatter ring! He had no idea so I walked over, plucked it from his hands and pulled off some moves. Within 3 seconds the entire Korean population on that floor was watching me. I swear I'm in that families holiday snaps on some wall in Korea!

  4. I feel exactly the same way as you and Heather about Tokyo and the bigger cities in Japan. Add me to the country bumpkin category. Hahaha.

    Just coming back from Kyoto and Osaka. Where we like seeing the extended family and all. But my gosh the billions of people. The non stop traffic. There’s no what do you call it...horizon or big sweeping views like we get in the countryside. What I mean is we can see for miles and miles in the countryside/inaka. When we were in Osaka because the buildings are so big, you can’t see very far away. Also we were quite chilled to the bone because the sun doesn’t get between the tall buildings so it felt super freezing. Like a concrete zoo....a concrete life. I’m sure there are pros to being a city person. But, I’ll just take the country, nice peace and quiet any day over the city and the conveniences.

    Oh and get this the conibi’s had zero parking. We did find one that had parking across the street where you had to pay for every 20 minutes you parked your car there. And Mc Donald’s with no parking lots (not that we had time to eat at one but yeah we noticed). Where do people park? I assume a car would be more a pain then a help while living in the city, but it gave our country family who drove from a long way away quite the hard time trying to find parking. With living in the country we get used to things such as plentiful parking.

    Sorry, I’m writing a novel to you right now. But this topic I have lots to say about. Love when you bring this topic up by the way.

    We went to yakiniku for the huge family meal. And after being stuck in traffic for what seemed like forever and we finally arrived late, I mentioned to my husband. Do you think the yakiniku restaurant has parking? I was being serious. He turned to me and said, “of course what sort of restaurant has no parking” famous last words! Because we spent 10 extra minutes driving around he block of the restaurant trying to find the best place to pay for parking. Yep, no parking at the yakiniku restaurant at all. @_@ Absolutely unbelievable. I am not sure what we paid for the parking while we ate yakiniku because we were there for quite a while.