Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tokyo, day 4….

The three of us were up and having breakfast at 8am, they have a fantastic buffet breakfast at the hotel and i was set up for the rest of the day after having it.

When i was in my early teens i used to (and still do)  listen to an album by the group MSG, titled,- One Night At Budokan. Its an amazing live album that features Michael Schenker band, a guitarist I’ve been a huge fan of for over 30 years. I googled the venue before i left the US as it was one of the places i wanted to visit just to say id been. Mark wanted to visit the Japanese war memorial and museum today and this happened to be across the street from the Budokan venue!

The subway system here in Tokyo is vast and there's several different companies that have different train lines. We needed the red M line today to get to a station that was 4 stops away from the hotel. As you can see from the picture below, on all of the signs it tells you how many metres walk it is to each of the different train lines.We had 815 metres to walk underground to get to the M line.This doesn't seem a lot but when you consider the amount of stairs, inclines and escalators then 815 metres seems like 815 miles! At least it did today. I’d love to see the exact route we took as when we got to the actual train we needed we were only on it for one stop till we got to the station! we had walked the distance of the three other stops!

Here in Tokyo they also stand on the opposite side of the escalator, they stand on the left leaving space on the right for people to walk up, unlike the US where they stand on the right! They also drive on the same side of the road here as they do in the UK and I’m convinced this is something to do with why they stand on the left on the escalators too! much to the amusement of mark and Kami, every time i got on in the metro on the 1st day i was always on the right until one of them laughed and reminded me. Today before we started out i said i wasn't going to stand on the right one single time the whole of today. I think it was within 10 minutes that i heard fits of laughter from behind me before i realised I’d done it again! Well as i said, i wasn't going to do it one single time, id make sure i did it lots of times:)

815 metres to go                       Women only carriages               Everything is mounted so low!    Mark on the hoops!

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We changed trains at the stop and we all wondering how many metres we had to walk to the next one, only 250 this time. 4 stops later we got off at our required stop and walked up to the Budokan.

A wall on the way to the Budokan!

P1060918 (Large) P1060916 (Large) P1060917 (Large) There was some even on at the venue, it was some type of Judo event and whilst we couldn't get in to see inside it was cool to walk all the way around and see the venue itself.

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We spent a while looking around before heading over to the Yasu Kuni shrine and the Jinja temple across the street. There was a yard type sale on all along the street leading up to the temple and it was full of old Japanese war pieces ranging from gas masks to helmets and lots of other Japanese antiques, pictures and ……..junk!

Again there was a fountain at the entrance to the Jinja temple where we cleansed our hands and continued along through the huge wooden entrance gates.

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As nice as the temple was it was no where near as nice as the one we saw yesterday, it was also a lot quieter. There was another fence full of pieces of paper where people had tied their bad fortunes to after  doing the Omikuji fortunate telling thing. We had also come to see the museum that “celebrates” the Japanese wars and also tells the story the way the Japanese think things happen! It was interesting to see how they saw things to have happened and hear from Mark what really happened! There were no pictures allowed in the main museum and there were a few planes, torpedoes, tanks and guns etc on display along with 20 or so rooms with things displayed from the hundreds of years of wars.

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Took us nearly two hours to go around everything and read all that went on. We headed back towards the entrance where we had come in and got a cab back to the hotel to get lunch in one of the hotel restaurants called The Terrace. I was still not really hungry from having the amazing breakfast but Kami had the Gnocchi past and a salad and Mark had the club sandwich and fries. The restaurant was real nice and looked over one of the beautiful gardens here around the hotel.I hone of ad the best cup of tea’s I’ve ever had!, they also heated the cups up so it didn't make the tea go cold quicker!

Mark had some work to finish off in the room this afternoon so after Kami and i freshening up we headed back out to the metro and took the train to Harajuku, an area of Tokyo popular with young people who want to just hang out and be seen! Took us 20 minutes to get there and as we got off the train the area was full…… no, packed with young kids,mostly young girls. It soon became evident as we looked across the street to a huge arena that there was a concert on today and everyone was heading over there to see the boy band show. We followed the crowd as we were going their way to get to a large park where people hang out,walk their dog and do whatever they want!

Harakujo metro station,                              Boy band gig, full of girls!                           Mmmmmmm

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The park was like any other park in the middle of most cities but as Tokyo people live in pretty small apartments and houses they use the park not only as a place to walk their dogs but to relax, practice their hobbies, play their music and also practise on their drums! The guy below had just brought his drum kit, set up in the park and was playing away with no one to complain it was too loud!

Is there anybody out there!!                         Just banging on my drums!                        Spinning things!              

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There was a group of two guys and two girls at the entrance to the park doing Rockabilly dancing and to be honest it was a touch embarrassing! especially when i saw the back of one their jackets and instead of the word Rebel, it said Lebel! i half expected to see the words Lock n Lolling

INSERT ROCK N ROLL VIDEO

There were hundreds of dogs in the park too, all different shapes and sizes.

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After hanging out in the park for an hour we headed over to the main street across from the station, again this is a place where everyone hangs out, shops for the latest fashion and likes to be seen. The street was packed with people but again i towered over the short Japanese people!

Kind of laughed at the name of the street    Fashion!                                                   Packed street

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After walking around for a couple of hours we made our way back to Shebuya by walking down a really nice little street that had lots of boutique type stores along each side, kinda looked a little bit English too.

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When we were in Shabuya the other night we saw a glass elevator in on of the hotels and I’d wanted to see if we could go in it to get a god view over the whole of the Shabuya interchange. We managed to go up to the 19th floor and took some great pictures and video of the area.

Masses of people                                     Rooftop soccer pitch

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Kami and i headed back to the hotel around 8pm, we went looking for a non existent Irish bar for 30 minutes (thanks Google!) we hadn't eaten tonight so ended up in a small rice and curry bar before heading back to the hotel. We walked for miles today and saw a lot of things, i took a couple of hundred pictures and you can click on the link below to see them all.

1 comment:

  1. That wall on the way to Budokan looks shockingly similar to one in Cusco, Peru, which is virtually on the other side of the globe from Tokyo!

    http://www.travelblog.org/Photos/3275580

    ReplyDelete