Saturday, 27 January 2007

Tokyo - ikkimashita-Part 1 first blog on my trip to japan. I actually saved the last blog but some how it disappeared! damn after all that effort and it did not actually save properly. Well, i went to japan in 2006 on November 21st. Was with TIFA and piggie, MASHI and her mom, naturally myself and my mom.

Turns out there was another couple from the same company that joined us. Everyone was trying to use up their holiday vouchers. All in all, we paid about RM4,000+ per person for 6 days 5 nights. But it is worth every penny of the trip. Neko's mom has been there the 3rd time- seems she never tires of it and always finds something different to see about Tokyo.

We were only at Tokyo, didnt venture out to outskirts. Perhaps the next trip i will be braver!.

Ok! The first day we landed ( day we fly off and land is considered 1st and Second day) we hit Disuni-lando. See the mickey mouse ear train?? It is my second trip to this place, though it is a happy happy place to be, i passed it. It happen to be a school holiday in japan and the Q for the tickets were long. The last time i was here, for every ride it took me and hour to get it. I wanted to spend a more meaning full day in japan so i took the train from Maihama station straight to Shinjuku. It is not tought 2 get around in Japan. Armed with a map etc, and a little bit of courage you can get from Shinjuku to Akihabara and back! After awhile, the famous "Yamamote Line" will be ingrained to your brain!

See ... proof i was near a train :) . That distinctive sound of the Japanese trains keep ringing in my head. Mashi, my self and the two moms boarded the maihama line train and headed to Shinjuku to go "SHOPPING". Actually shopping was not our main purpose but we wanted to see the Momiji or Autumn leaves in Tokyo. It is Mashi and Tifa's first trip to Japan. My second. My first was during Hanami- or the Cherry blossom time :)

Ah! The famous Shinjuku Corner. Neon boards and posters every where. One thing about Japan you spend a lot of time looking up and down and up because everything is So busy!!

Anyway- a trip is not a trip without a shot of food... You get real authentic food here unlike the stuff in genki sushi. See the pic on the right? That is our lunch near one of the shops in Asakusa. Real good stuff. It's a very simple lunch btw. Made of Japanese rice, tempura, oden ( my first time eating this!)
and accompanied by a small salad and miso. The tempura was lovely. It's not soggy like the ones here and the Oden was made up of fish cakes nicely marinated :) Sugoku Oishii!! i think i put on a few kgs here. It's lucky i think i did not, otherwise someone will say i look "cheong already" (hahaha). We had a good lunch,truly have not eaten something so tasty before.

What's a trip to Tokyo- without highlighting their famous places. After lunch, we walked down to Nakamise. Literally translated "In Shops". It is near the Asakusa Kannon temple and it was crowded that day. Close to the Christmas hols and because it was a holiday somewhat, the place was piling with people! i bought stuff for someone and brother here.

Look at the crowd! This is the end bit of Nakamise i was working my way up. It was also close to one of their national holidays so you see the shop owners flying the flags. Nakamise is famous for selling Fortune Cats. A shop field with this stuff.

Running out of luck? Get one. I cud not even cram into this shop. I took this tip-toed and hands above my head. The other shot next to it- ( especially for someone and bro ) - who are crazy for samurai swords. I bought them little miniature ones ( that i can bring home) but the picture here is a real sword. They were designed to look like the ones used by Yoshitsune etc. See the gold strings etc? Kirei!! It costs about 380,000 yen. And i cant bring it back anway.

Ok fastforward all the bus trips etc.... we reached HAKONE. The Onsen city.......

Well i am not great at arranging photos on a web, this is a few choice shots from Hakone. Starting from the left is Mount Fuji from a far, Momiji leaves and a Torii. Actually i was really thrilled to see a Torii! It some how confirm and feel as if i am really in japan

You dont see this in the City, only outskirts of Japan. Hakone is about an hour's drive from Tokyo and it is considered the playground of the rich and famous. People come here to relax and rest. It is also a place whereby you can get quick dip in the hot springs. Every other hotel in Hakone, has a hot spring inn. The inn or ( sometimes looks like a modern hotel with futon beds ) has a hot spring as part of their services offered. People come here, dress up in yukata's, eat and enjoy the hot spring dip. Now for those of you who have not done a hot spring in japan Please note there is nudity involved!! You cannot wear swimmers in. The process is that you have to bathe your self clean in a common shower room then only go dipping in the extremely hot water. Different type of waters have different theraupetic qualities. Sulphuric water is good for people who have skin problem etc... For me it was good for the "BONES"... i think it is a much better tool of relaxing than an OSIM chair. Just soak your pains away man............................ Guys- if you are thinking you see pretty girls in the Onsen... the answer is NO. It is a segregated Onsen and mostly the Onsen people are old ladies! kakakaka.

After Hakone we went back to Tokyo again! And we had 2 days on our own to walk around.
Armed with my trusty map ( really looking like tourist ) i took my mom to places you dont see on guided tour. We went to Meiji Shrine, saw a shinto wedding and to Harajuku next.

The first pic on the left, is the main wooded entrance to Meiji Shrine. This shrine is famous for 1) New Year prayers 2) Weddings! The guide told us that if we go early we can see some weddings. It was actually a cool day in Tokyo - so armed with our sweaters and camera, mom and i made our way down from Kudanshita to Harajuku station. Took us only about 15 minutes and it was such a pleasant walk. After Harajuku station, turn right when you come out and you will walk into that big wooden torii. That is the entrance to Meiji Shrine.

On the second pic, you see that lady in the brown jacket and back pack? that is neko-hime's mom... what caught her attention? Chrysanthenuem flowers! In front of her is the temple entrance to the main shrine. Just my luck i saw 2 weddings! And i saw 2 real life MIKO. I got shooed away by 1 temple guard because i was blocking the path but it was worth it. It is such a solemn affair this japanese weddings. Everything is either in black or white and there is no noise like chinese weddings. The couple is heading for another blessing in the main temple hall which i could not follow.

This blog is getting two long- i will start a Part 2

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