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Published: December 4th 2018
I wake up feeling good this morning after another cosy night's sleep. I am honestly in love with this hotel room – the bed is super comfy (a rival to any premier inn), it has great climate control to adjust the room temperature and the heated toilet seat is something I could definitely get used to. And the sound proofing is impeccable – you would literally think you were the only guest staying here and there's no cleaners shouting at the top of their lungs and scraping chairs around at 8 in the morning (we've since noticed from staying in other hotels that they all seem to do their cleaning between 10am and 3pm – what a sensible idea!). Unfortunately even though I am definitely sleeping better, I still wake up at 3am then 5am and then at half 7 I am wide awake. Greg is still snoring away merrily next to me so I just read my kindle until he finally wakes at 9am. We have our little coffee machine coffee in the room and then head out to buy some souvenirs from senso-ji market as its unlikely we'll be here again and we had spotted some really cool stuff
to buy when we were here the other day. Along the way we can't resist popping into our little pancake place for some more of those delicious pancakes we had a few days ago.
Next on the list this morning is the Tsujiki fish market. After years of threatening to move the market, they finally did it last month, so we have researched whether its best to visit the old or new sight. Most people have said there is still plenty enough to see at the old fish market in terms of stalls, and that the new market you can hardly get near the warehouse floor as it has all been blocked off now to tourists, so we decide to head to the original site. To be honest, we saw a lot of wet fish markets when we lived in China, so its more about trying some food more than anything.
We take the train straight down and it is pretty easy to find with our trusty map in hand. There are lots of alleyways with fish stalls and restaurants and street food dotted all over which is a delight for the senses. We
stay away from the sushi restaurants as it is most definitely inflated tourist prices which is disappointing, and instead opt for a bit of street food. Greg has a 'sausage' looking thing on a stick made of octopus, squid, ginger and cabbage and I stay fish free with one of those delicious pork steamed buns. We also try some egg omelette which you can watch the guy make in little square, metal containers. I'm not a massive fan as its been cooked in fish oil which makes it a bit bizarre tasting, but Greg happily wolfs it down.
After a wander around, we walk on to the Hamarikyu gardens which are only a 15 minute walk from the fish market and is well signposted as well. It's a really lovely tranquil garden right in the middle of the city with a tea house on a lake in the middle, and a 300 year old tree. The sun has came out meaning its a really pleasant temperature and we happily meander around for an hour or two.
In the afternoon we make our way to Odaiba island which is also in the South of the
Tokyo disricts and not too far from where we are now. We've done pretty well up until now navigating the train network, but Shimashi station is HUGE and signs for our train line keep disappearing. They are also doing building work so have temporary diversions in place sending you in other directions which doesn't help. We follow a sign for the train line which seems to just end up taking us round in a big circle, but after about 10 minutes we click its because we actually need to go upstairs, doh! Once we get to the train platform, I am hugely confused as there are lines on both sides of the platform and it doesn't seem to say which direction they are going in so i'm not sure which one we need to get on. I step off the train we have boarded to get a closer look at the map, and then without warning the doors to the train start closing behind me. Greg and I both try our bests to open it again but all I see in slow motion is Greg shaking his head angrily at me as the train leaves the station, doh! I panic
for the briefest of seconds but then realise i'll just jump on the next one that comes along- it is an island we're going to after all so we can't get that lost from each other, right?? But then I start to worry maybe Greg will wait for me at the next stop, or maybe even come back to get me and I don't know what to do…. I figure i'll just head to the destination stop and see if he's there and if not, i'll see if I can get free wifi somewhere and call him. If this was 10 years ago i'd probably be crying in the corner and panicking right now but all those years of travelling have made me take problems like this in my stride. Thankfully its only a 5 minute wait before the next train leaves (and both platforms leave for the same place as it is the start/end station, doh). Another 10 minute (slightly anxious) train journey and I am thankful to see Greg's hat in the crowd waiting for me phew!
Directly out from the train station is a mini replica of the statue of liberty with a bridge
that looks like the brooklyn bridge in the background, so you could mistakenly think you were in New York. Its really cool and we do take about a zillion photos of the same thing from different angles, just in case. We debate whether to get something to eat here or not as it's gone 3pm now, but we decide its probably better if we head to the digital art museum which we have pre-booked tickets for as it shuts at 7pm and last entry is at 5pm. It also states at busy periods you could be waiting up to an hour for entry so we don't want to chance it (seriously, what has happened to the unorganised, scatty Greg and Nikki that everyone knows so well?). It takes a good 20 minutes walking to get there but the queue isn't too bad, so we stop in at Wendy's across from it to get a quick beer and bite to eat (yes, in that order).
The museum is everything I had hoped for and more. You enter into these dark hallways which lead off into different rooms with different graphics projecting off the walls, and each room is
different and the graphics change in each room after a while. We end up in this mirrored room with LED lights hanging from the roof, and because the floor is mirrored as well, it feels like you are in a never ending maze of lights which keep changing colour and pace. On the top floor they even have a 'light' climbing course that you need to navigate through using the same colours for feet and hands.
We head back to the train and as we are chatting, this younger girl saunters over and asks if we are from Scotland and we reply yeh. She is also from Glasgow and thinks its the coolest thing ever she has met someone else from Glasgow too lol. She is out on her own as her boyfriend is unwell back at the hotel but she still wanted to sight see so fair play to her. We chat for a while and then without outstaying her welcome heads off in the opposite direction which ashamadely we are quite relieved at as we are usually about as sociable as the grinch haha.
Back in Asakusa we follow our usual 7-11 snack and beer routine and then decide where were going to eat this evening. I've been hankering after katsu curry (fried pork cutlet in panko breadcrumbs served in a curry sauce) since we got here but I haven't really seen many places advertising it, and if they do, its been really expensive. We look it up on the internet and see there is a restaurant chain called cocos curry not far from us who do katsu curry in all shapes and forms and at a very reasonable price. I can't deny its super tasty and as good as I hoped it would be. Suitably full, we head back to our humble abode for a beer and to try and figure out our travel plans for Mount Fuji tomorrow.
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