Published: July 3rd 2009July 1st 2009
The Tsukiji fish markets didn’t stand a chance this morning. We had planned to get there about 7am but none of us could wake up in time. And we don’t eat sushi so we gave it a miss. And you can’t be disappointed about something you didn’t see. After a leisurely breakfast downstairs we were off to Asakusa to the temple. It was about 10.30 am and we took the subway to Asakusa. At the station we line up in an orderly fashion as previously, but when the train arrived it was already packed but we managed to get on. The people behind us started pushing and squashing more and more in. There was no personal space and Bec had her head almost resting on some guy’s chest. Thank goodness for the air conditioning. We couldn’t believe how many were on the train in a non-peak period. I guess with 12 million people living in the Tokyo metro area it seems like an endless peak hour to us. Each time we travelled on the metro in Tokyo we did not see other foreigners. I have no idea how they are getting around.All the Japanese people use their mobile phones on the
train. They are not making calls as this is frowned upon. We think they are playing games on the phones. They get on the train, pull the phone out of their pocket and start playing. Flip phones are in and they have big screens.
At Asakusa we found the main gate (Thunder gate) and had our photos taken. There were many people at the temple but only a handful of tourists, most were locals going to the temple. There is a corridor of shops on either side on the way to the temple called Nakamise. Bec and I tried some local cookie looking thing. Many locals were crowded around the stand, so we bought two and bit into them. It was like a cooked thick pancake filled with gooey brown stuff but it wasn’t chocolate. We couldn’t eat them. But there were no bins to be found. Guess the Japanese take their rubbish home with them. At the temple entrance there is a big smoke urn where people brush the smoke over themselves for good luck and health, similarly there is a trough with water. First you cup some water and drink it, then wash each hand separately before entering
At the chinese restaurant
It takes a lot of concentration to feed yourself
the temple. Asakusa temple was completed in 645 although the current model was re-built in the last century.
We continued to ride the subway and next went to Akihabara - Electric town. We were a little disappointed with the general area. Although Australia and Japan work on the same type of mobile network, they do not sell their phones outright but rather only on a plan for domestic use. So all the snazzy looking phones were useless to us. We were not in the market for other electrical stuff, so we didn’t spend a lot of time here. Getting hungry though, we went looking for somewhere to eat. It was Bec’s turn today to choose, so she picked a hamburger type café thing and ordered in Japanese. We had BLT’s with fries and the meal was pretty good. But we got slightly off track on the way back to the station and saw more of Akihabara than we intended. Bec does not have a great sense of direction!!!!!
It was back to the subway and onto Ginza where we walked down the 5th Avenue of Tokyo. Went to the Sony shop and again stuff we thought was cool was for
domestic purchase only. Little disappointed with that. By accident we found ourselves in the basement of one of the department stores in Ginza. The food hall would put the David Jones food hall to shame back home - a whole floor of cakes and chocolates. Bec and I were exhausted by now but still did 2 laps and chose some wonderful strawberry sponge cakes. They were packed in a little box with their own ice packs for the journey home - there are so many aspects to Japanese life that we love and this is one of them - their attention to detail and consideration for others.
“Back home” in Shinjuku it must have been transvestite night as we saw many men dressed as women hanging out on the streets. Bec and I had fun pointing them out to Justin as he seemed to be missing them. As it was our last night in Tokyo, we wandered around looking for a place that the guide book had recommended for dinner. Although we had been given simple directions from the hotel and we had a map and the address for the place - we couldn’t find it. Addresses in Tokyo are
difficult. Only the main streets are named and the numbers do not always follow sequentially. So we gave up as it was a bit of a dodgy area and we had Bec with us. We were hot, tired and bothered by now but we did find another restaurant in Shinjuku recommended by the Lonely planet guide and ventured up to the 3rd floor. We had the most amazing Chinese meal - even Bec liked it and she doesn’t eat Chinese at home. Two dishes and a rice with some non-alcoholic drinks came to the equivalent $AUD 100. But it was an experience…….
There are more photos below