Sunday, December 29, 2013

Part two: I brave Tokyo's train system

It's now Sunday December 22nd and my first full day in Tokyo.

Now I had added the breakfast option to my hotel room for my stay as that's one meal I like to know is taken care of.

The Park Hotel offers a western and Japanese buffet for breakfast.

First off I tried the coffee in the room, they call this origami coffee and it's genius just pour hot water gently through the filter. I wish we had these at home.
View of the buffet from above.

 It wasn't a huge buffet and it was pretty much the same thing everyday, this was day two breakfast the only difference between day one and two was day one had hashbrowns not french fries. By Day 3 I gave up on the buffet and went to coffee shops for variety. The next time I go I will not do the breakfast option as it was added cost of about $20/ day and in my humble opinion not worth $20.

 View of the ceiling of the Park Hotel

Now I was going to meet Chris my Canadian friend living in Tokyo at Tokyo Station so I had to brave the train system. I highly recommend getting a Pasmo card from the ticket machine as this lets you load money and it has a 500 Yen deposit. The best thing is it allows you to ride Tokyo Metro and the JR Line and there's no worry about adjusting your fare when you get to where you're going as opposed to buying an individual ticket.

An incredibly friendly train attendant helped me out and I gave her a pin as a thank you. There is no tipping in Tokyo. They take great pride in their work so tipping is considered bad form, you don't tip the cab driver or the baggage handlers so that's why I brought pins with me. A small gift means much more.
 I got to Tokyo Station where I was to meet Chris early. The train stations are immense. Multiple tracks run from them and there many stores and restaurants in them. This was an example of just one store. One thing I noticed is that one escalators you stand on the left and pass on the right, no deviation from this at all.

 Ticket machines in Tokyo Station for the JR line.

 This is the bullet train but you'll see signs in English for all trains.

 Map in every train station
 Food Court and mall in Tokyo Station.

I managed to find Chris and we were off to Harajuku. Every guide book said to go on a Sunday as then you'd see the teenagers of Tokyo an the Harajuku Girls.

 Harajuku Station from the outside

 Takeshita Street, the street in Harajuku and lined with many many stores.

 and many many people
 First off lunch at MacDonald's where I tried the Teriyaki McBurger, it was a sausage patty not a beef burger though. One thing I noticed no super size me options.

I saw some pretty short skirts all over Tokyo and especially in Harajuku, I guess in Japan it's all about the legs.

We stopped off at Daiso which is a Yen Store (Dollar Store) where Chris advised I get a hand towel as the public washrooms in Tokyo are all over the map, some may not have hand dryers or towels or soap. Daiso is also a great place to pick up souvenirs.

I went with Minnie and found this a really good idea especially in train stations.

We walked through Yoyogi Park which is beautiful and saw a few street preformers. This one are caught my attention.

 On one side winter's wrath and the other the last fling of fall.

There are vending machines everywhere and you can use your Pasmo card on some of them. I saw one in Shibuya which scanned your face and made suggestions. What I also noticed is juice bottles are small and all appropriate for one serving.

 We walked through the park to Shibuya where you find the Meiji Temple

Light post as you approach the temple.

 Entrance into the Temple, you should bow before entering.

 Rinse you hands before you enter here it was wash left hand with right hand, wash right hand with left hand.
 We saw two Japanese weddings, here are the bride and groom.

 I'm guessing this is the mother of the bride but I was enchanted with her kimono.

 After the temple we went into Shibuya, Tokyo is decked out for Christmas but it's a very commercialized Christmas, shop clerks dressed as Santa and Reindeer no Elves though. Everything Christmas related disappears on the 26th.

 The Shibuya Scramble Crossing. Up to 2 million people go through Shibuya every day and up to 1000 people cross this crosswalk at once. I crossed it a few times and would describe it as controlled chaos.

You can find the statue of Hatchiko here, he's a legend as he walked his master to that Shibuya station every day and after his master passed away he still went to the train station until the last train ran. It's a very popular meeting spot I took this shot further on in the week and was lucky to get so close. This is usually a very crowded spot.

 We wandered through some stores and found this huge display for AKB48 a very very very popular j-pop girl group.
 Shibuya lights up at night

 Every kid I saw had a Nintendo
 Tokyo Arcade, the bottom floor filled with these games where the goal is knock off whatever is in there into the hole and you win. They had everything you could think of in there, small stuffed animals, blankets, action figures, giant containers of Pringles.
 The upper floor had more traditional arcade games and the place was hopping.

 Next was noodles for Supper, peruse the menu
 Make you selection and pay for it at the machine, it spits out a ticket that you take inside.
 The Gyoza was so good I ate half of it before I remembered to take a picture.

 We went to this used book store called Book Off, I was impressed with what good quality the used products were. It was explained to me that the Japanese take very good care of their possessions. Above is all Manga (Japanese comic books) hugely popular. One thing I noticed is e-readers are not popular and didn't take off here. I did see a commercial for Kindle but it was featuring sharing pictures with the tv not for reading.
 Most restaurants have a display of what they offer this is all plastic and considered and art form. I was impressed with the foam on the beer.
I walked 34, 121 steps this day so when I got back to my room I totally deserved a beer.

Tomorrow Part 3 - Where I visit the Imperial Palace and Tokyo Disneyland.

1 comment:

BabyWeightMyFatAss said...

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