saturday may 14:
We landed in Tokyo at 2pm the next day. It is recommended to start Japanese time the moment you get on the plane (or earlier). This means you go to sleep at take-off, wake up half way through the 13 hour flight and stay awake while you land at around midnight your time.
Narita airport is an hour train ride away from Tokyo, so we easily passed customs, found the train, and settled in. The N’EX is quite peaceful and everything seems, well Japanese. Its clean, very efficient, makes video game noises, easy to understand..except the last part.
But by the time we roll into Shibuya station, rush hour is roaring to life. There are thousands upon thousands of people, noises, signs, instructions. A million people bee-lining in a million different directions. We try to stay to the left, but the posted signs and the Japanese themselves seems to switch from “say right” to “stay left” just about every turn. It’s like a human version of Frogger. The Brown family thinks they walk fast. Heather Brown ain’t got s*** on Tokyo!
Our simple plan to find an ATM, grab cash, catch a taxi to our Airbnb turned from a 20 minute to nearly 2 hour process. But we finally found the place, hit our head on the ceiling, freshened up and hit the town.
Our apartment, like the rest of Japan, is typical of Japan – so small but highly efficient!
day 1 – sunday may 15th – Temples, Towers, Robots, Oh My!
Asakusa – Skytree – Harajuku – Shinjuku
So it’s Sunday. Saturday was a haze and felt like eons ago. First off we had a big festival to hit up in an area called Asakusa. Best known for its famous Senso-ji temple, some great eats, and the Matsuri festival (shrines, beer drinking and moshing).
We saw a large falic tower in the distance and just had to check in out. This was the SkyTree. It is a mall/observatory/tourist trap. But the walk over was sweet, we had delicious Ramen for lunch, and Shannan go her Hello Kitty fix.
Next we jumped on a train across town and stormed into Harajuku: teeny bopper shopping on steroids.
And after a 20 minute turn 4 hour nap we fought off our jetlag and jumped up to Shinjuku where we saw a nutso show including robots, panda bears, Tron, Japanese 4-Loko (called STRONG), and the entire US Olympic Water Polo team.
day 2 – monday may 16th – sumo
Ginza – Tsukiji – Sumo
Every day except Sunday all the Tuna, Salmon, Urchin, and whatever else the fisherman catch ends up in Tokyo at Tsukiji market in downtown Tokyo. Its a crazy bustle but the cool part is the chance to eat some of the freshest fatty tuna (“toro”) nigiri you can get your sticks on. Still on 4 hour sleep cycles we get down to market to wait on line for this delicious stuff.
So after Sushi we explored the “outer” Tsujiki market. Bought a nice knife, saw some more salted, pressed, dried, flaked, and captured seafood of various forms. Then headed off for the old Shoguns second home and now a gorgeous park. The park is an old second home of the Edo/Tokugawa Shogun. We had a *wink* excellent english speaking guide who tricked us into a government TV show featuring local parks and activities. So Shannan and I are soon to be famous on Japan’s CSPAN or something.
To be continued….