Sunday, October 14, 2007

On Tokyo Time

No swimming, o kudasai!

So, I`ve been here in Japan for three days now, without much chance to update on how I`ve been getting on. Having said that tomorrow is Monday when everything closes in the city, and the weather is forecast to rain all day - so I will probably come back online then and do a major upload of blog posts and photos. Until then, the story so far...

Flight over was fine, and for a supposed 12hr trip it really wasn`t so bad - we had a 50kmh tailwind most of the way (I know this because I always keep the TV channel on the map/info page - it was either that or watch Harry Potter). So we roared along in just over 10hrs. I suspect the flight home will take a fair bit longer. Still, I didn`t sleep at all on the flight, as we took off at 1pm, had a meal, and then all the lights went out (to adjust us to Tokyo time). So there I am listening to the iPod for the next 7hrs, until `breakfast` time.

The first day and a half were really a blur - I got to the hostel OK, thanks to generous directions on the website. I couldn`t get checked in for a few hours, so my sleep-deprived body was back out on the streets in the unseasonal 28C weather. I wandered around Ueno park for a while, during which I checked out one of the hidden gems of Tokyo - Shinobazu Pond (pictured), a Edo-era lake said to be really beautiful. At the moment though, it was chock-full of giant water lily leaves, which made the `No Swimming` signs a bit pointless.

After I got sorted out at the hostel - and here`s a tip for you, if you bring your VISA card 6000 miles around the world with the intention of using it to pay for things, remember to recall your pin number before you go. I had fun with the girl at the hostel desk thinking I was a complete moron for offering my card only to immediately apologise for not being able to remember the pin. Fortunately, I had a big wad of cash to pay for it. That covered, the hostel is really good, got all kinds of treats, including my own Japanese bath, which is the perfect relief for tired travellers.

Jetlag being what it is, though, I was up most of the night, but after another day pounding round Ueno Park catching up on the bits I`d missed or dazedly walked past, I was right as rain. Speaking of which, since the first hot day the weather has been amazing - mid 20`s, light winds, no rain. Whilst I was sitting in the park an old man wobbled up to me on a bike and drunkenly practiced his English on me - he said they had been through an unusually hot summer this year, but it was slowly getting to Autumn. Incidentally, he told me he learned English by watching Sherlock Holmes DVD`s - not the same as the old Tricolore textbooks we used to get at school.

So that`s it for this intro, check in over the next couple of days and I`ll probably have put up a few more posts, some of just photos, some with what I`ve been doing. In a nutshell, I`ve been getting historic in Asakusa (and learning the correct way to pronounce it to avoid sounding like a tourist), getting crazy in the madness of Akihabara, getting some peace in Meiji, and getting some t-shirts in Harajuku. Until next time...