Archives

All posts for the month May, 2010

Japan

I sit here recovering from jet lag after Stephanie and I went to Japan last week. We left on Monday morning flying out of LAX and arrived in Japan around 3pm. I immediately fell asleep when arrived at our hotel, The Shinigawa Prince Hotel, due to travel, jet lag, and not sleeping at all the night before but instead playing video games and watching King of the Hill thinking I could sleep on the plane. This did not happen as every time my head fell forward I woke up.

On Wednesday (having lost a day due to space warps) we got up around 4am, got some breakfast (curry) and hiked up to Tokyo Tower. From there we walked around the Imperial Palace. We then arrived on the Edo Museum and got caught up on our Tokyo history.

On Thursday we took a tour of Mt Fuji. It was raining that day so I was kind of bummed but as we headed up the mountain we got over the clouds and rain to a spectacular view of Mt. Fuji. After the mountain we head to Hakone for lunch and then took a cable car up to the volcanic geysers and ate eggs that had been boiled and blacked in the geyser. We also took a misty boat ride on Lake Ashi which the boat had a silly pirate theme and would play what can only be described as pixie music when we arrived at a port (A lot of places in Tokyo had strange children’s music playing in the background.)¬† We finally took a bullet train back to our hotel.

Friday we continued our hiking of Tokyo first with the Sengakuji Buddhist temple where a bunch of samurai committed seppuku there. From there we went to the photography museum. Navigating Tokyo can be difficult as they don’t really have street names and we never figured out what they do use. When trying to get to the photography museum we were staying at a map a guy tried to help give us direction using his phone. He figured there was no one way to explain it to a couple of clueless foreigners so he walked us to the museum. I was amazed.

The museum was fun with original photographs of samurai during the meiji era. After we had a great Japanese lunch and then head over to Akihabara, the technology area of Tokyo. We walked up and down the street and peaked into a pachinko parlor and a grouping of Radioshack booths. I wasn’t satisfied when we finished so decided to check out the two multistory buildings of videogame/anime stuff. The first few stories were of the Sega store¬† had those game where you try and grab prizes with a clumsy crane. Prizes included all kinds of anime stuff including pillows shaped like anime girls where the poops were finely shaped. The next stories was an arcade with all kinds of video games.

I wanted to visit the other building because it had an anime cafe which I thought meant coffee and anime. We got pressed into visiting the third floor by a woman in a skimpy maid outfit. When we got to the third floor five women in skimpy maid outfoots all turned toward the door and said konichiwa. Stephanie firmly said, “no” and we continued our way up. The anime cafe turned out to be a place to check out the internet, grab a soda and read anime for an hourly fee.

All these places had a creepy vibe like an adult bookstore… I still kind of want to see what the anime maids were all about though.

On Saturday we went to the Shinto Shrine Asakusa and did some shopping, and watched a monkey dance. From there we went to the top of the Asahi building for some beer and city viewing. We then took a boat down the river to Odaiba, a popular location for the Japanese to shop.

Sunday it was raining but we took out the umbrellas and headed out to Shibuya (popular shopping area, think Time Square) and walked up to a park where there was a little festival. We tried some horrible fruit called durian that tasted like onion. We then went to the Meiji Temple where we alked around the gardens. We relaxed at the hotel for awhile and then went to Tokyo Dome to watch the Giants play the Buffaloes. Japanese baseball was a lot of fun as the crowds got excited and would chant and sing.

After all that we made it back now recovering and jet lagged.