A Travellerspoint blog

Tokyo-The Imperial Palaceless Palace

Yesterday, I woke up early, which after getting to bed at 3 am from karaoke was troublesome, but I still made it up to do the tour at the imperial Palace in Tokyo. Once again, I got lost on the metro system-but eventually I found the Imperial Palace.

Most of the Imperial Palace was destroyed in World War II, so not much of it remained. Really, just a few defense towers remained, a large stone wall, and few other structures. There was a small museum showing pictures of Emperor Meiji, who was the emperor when the capital of Japan was moved from Kyoto to Tokyo. It was more like a large park, with the addition of flower groves. It was a beautiful sunny day, so I laid down on a bench and took a nice nap.

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I woke up about an hour later-it seems, and took the metro back to where the hostel was-actually a station further away, where supposedly there was a place with 100 yen (about $1.00 sushi), according to someone at the hostel. I didn't find any 100 yen sushi, everything was 200 yen, or $2.00-which was still pretty cheap, and then I walked around where the hostel was and took a nap.

I woke up around 6:00 pm, did some computer work, and then went to the normal meet and greet with new guests, and residents from around who like to learn English. We dressed up in different Japanese outfits. I left my phone and camera in the room so I couldn't take any photos. I then went out for drinks and was out until 2:00 am.

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Posted by DavidPearlman 16:59 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

Tokyo-No Memories of a Giesha

Yesterday, i awoke early and had breakfast at the fish market, which is called the Tsukiji fish market. i went the other day but the market was closed, but it was open yesterday.

I arrived about 9:00 am, an hour before it opens to the public. I walked around the public area which includes many vendors. I also found a small shrine.

At 10:00 am, i entered the wholesale market, which it was like a wholesale fish market is expected to be. Lots of people zipping around on small fork lifts and hand trucks. Lots of crates with different types of fish we're spread around at all sorts of vendors. it was fine for about 10 minutes. But I guess I saw it. Photos weren't permitted.

Then I returned on the metro to the big shrine in Tokyo-which is called Senso-Ji-A giant Buddhist temple, with a pagoda and big time crowds, and lots of shops. I walked around, and took a boring walking tour. Then a free Giesha show came up at the tourist information center-so I watched that. I feel asleep during the show.

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After the show, I went to the district to buy a new cord for the computer, as the electrical cord didn't work. It is a two part cord-and not having it with me, I didn't know which part failed, so I figured the store would have one part. The giant store had everything, including the largest camera department I had ever seen and a food court with a good sushi restaurant, but no cord. I bought a lower part, hoping it would work.

I was pissed-but went back to the hostel, and it worked. The meet up was going on with locals and residents of the hostel. We had a beer, then went out for karaoke, and got back late.

Posted by DavidPearlman 16:46 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

Tokyo-Mount Fuji and The Phone

Yesterday, I left the hostel early to catch the bus to Lake Kawaguchi. I had to take the metro over an hour from the hostel, which involved a change of lines, to the bus station.

The ride on the bus, which I made reservations for, was uneventful. It took about an hour to reach the tourist center at the Lake, which was really really busy. When I got off the bus, though I discovered I didn't have my phone. I looked through everything, and I started to panic. I went to the ticket office, which had a lost and found, and reported the phone lost on the bus, but didn't have much hope.

First I went to the tourist information office, where I was told the best way to see different spots was to take the hop-on hop-off bus (actually three different busses), for $15.00. I bought a ticket (after standing on line behind 20 different people), and then I got in line for the green line bus-(after waiting in line for 30 people). To enhance my bad mood, there was a picture of a beautiful pagoda with Mt Fuji behind it-but I learned I bought the wrong bus ticket for Mt Fuji. I should have bought a heritage bus ticket as opposed to the sightseeing bus. I wasn't happy. And buying that new ticket would require waiting on a long long line.

I got on the bus-which drove through about 20 stops like a bat out of hell-people we're waiting at the stops and he just drove on by. Finally, I got to the first stop, which provided a commanding view of Mt Fuji, beyond an old-fashioned looking town, with old-time buildings and shops. I learned the town went through a mudslide years back, and there was a museum highlighthing this, all in Japanese.

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i got back on the bus, went back to where i could change cars,l, and returned to the visitors center, where I got on another bus. This time I got off at a ropewalk, which is a cable car going to the top of a mountain, with an even better view of Mount Fuji.
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i then took the bus to the end of the line-where I had to get off. I got on another bus, returned to the visitors center around 4:30, and they had my phone. I was relieved. I walked around a little, looked at new cars at a Suzuki dealer, including my favorite, called a Hustler. I then saw some nice views of the mountains, and got on the 6:25 pm bus back to town, (the one I had a ticket for).

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Posted by DavidPearlman 15:27 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

Tokyo-A Dog's Life with Scarlett Johansson

Yesterday, rather then going to the central part of Tokyo once again-I took a walking tour given by the, hostel in the area where the hostel is located. We took a roughly 20 minute walk to a temple called Nishiari Daishi temple. The temple was beautiful, with a pond in front with large fish. The tour guide from the hostel didn't seem to know that much. i went with roughly 15-20 others from the hostel.

Right by the temple, we sampled traditional rice treats and Japanese candies, which we're pretty good.

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Everyone else walked back to the hostel, I guess. i decided to explore the area where I haven't spent much time in. The area is pretty nice, mainly with shops, restaurants and various stores. I spent time walking around, and in a large shopping mall, where i took a nap, and went to a pet store, where there was a sign on a dog cage not to stick your finger in (in Japanese)-and it was right-a dog lightly bit my finger. (just lightly-no blood). i also saw a movie theater at the mall. Posters announced a new Wes Anderson film, with, you got it-the starts from Lost In Translation reunited again-Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson-in a film called Isle of Dogs.

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After a few hours walking around, I came back to the hostel. I then got on the metro to the Tokyo Skytree tower, which is only about 20 minutes away. After a short line-i went up to the top of the tower. In line, I found a Scarlett Johansson look-a-like right in front of me-another strange coincidence.

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I walked around the top of the tower. Although it was cloudy out, I did witness the sunset, which was beautiful over the city. After spending about 1 1/2 hours watching the sunset, I went to the adjoining cafeteria, which had a long thin place to eat watching the view, and had a beer and some nuts (this dinner cost around $10.00-expensive for a beer and very few nuts). I found a seat next to Scarlett Johansson-who wasn't very friendly. But here I was watching the view of Tokyo with Scarlett Johansson-just like Bill Murray. No kareoke this time-just me, Scarlett, Tokyo, my overpriced beer and tiny bowl of nuts.

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i then took the metro back to the hostel-did some work on the computer, and feel asleep.

Posted by DavidPearlman 13:14 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

Tokyo-Lost, and Lost in Translation

Yesterday, I left the hostel early to go to the Tsukiji, the fish market here in Tokyo. You can go very early and wait for the tuna auctions, which happen at around 5:00 am-I didn't go that early. I knew that folks can walk around the actual market at around 10:00 am, and view all of the action, but when I got there, I found the market was closed Wednesday, so I just walked around at the various restaurants, shops. I found a guy selling sushi out of a little stand, and had some 5 pieces for around $10.00. The Japanese for the most part are incredibly honest, I thought I was done after 3 pieces and he said two more are coming. The sushi was delicious.

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After wandering around for a little more, and having a cup of freshly made coffee out of a french press, I believe, i walked a few blocks over to the next area of town-which is called Ginza. Ginza has a lot of fancy stores, which I walked around. i saw a store called Nissan Crossing-which is a car showroom, showing the new Nissan Electric car, and small toy models of various old Nissans. There was even a Nissan crossing cafe, where you can eat Nissan Crossing Muffins and Donuts.

I went to the world's largest Uniglo showroom, and bought a pair of underwear, and went to a giant toy store. Here they had a huge race course with miniature cars on the racing around, all sorts of models-it was 5 stories of toys, it was fancy.

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I was exhausted-but I wanted to get back to the hostel early-to meet others. It was Karaoke Night at the cruise ship hostel. After the first few nights-I haven't been spending much time here (i have been out late in Tokyo-not returning till' 10 or 11)-so I wanted to engage in an activity and meet others.

Karaoke started out sort of slow and boring as it usually does. A few girls we're singing who we're quite good. This reminded me of a film that took place (A) with Karaoke, and (B) also in Tokyo-Lost in Translation. But Bill Murray was bored at the Grand Hyatt. I was at the Emblem Hostel.

As the night continued, beer started flowing, a couple brought whisky down from their room, and the singing got more and more spirited. I sang "Never gonna give you up" by Rick Astley with three others.

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Eventually, we went out for ramen at around midnight at a place around the hostel, and then went back to the hostel.

Posted by DavidPearlman 17:27 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

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