Sake to me Baby – Japan Day Five

IMG_0667Today is our last full day in Tokyo and it was a glorious day so we were looking forward to doing some walking. I love walking in foreign countries because you see so much more than if you’re always in a train or car.
You get a better feel of the place you’re in.

Hubby wanted to go to the Honda Welcome Plaza and Google Maps showed it was about 7.5kms away so we set off.

I had planned out the walking route and knew to look out for a “Curves” because we were going to be turning right straight after that.  I told hubby to look out for curves as we were turning right at the next intersection after that.
Tell me that’s not clear.
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We were walking and walking and I started to get confused as I thought we should have passed it by now. I even said from time to time “Still haven’t seen that Curves sign”

It just goes to show that hubby doesn’t listen to me when I talk because after about the third time I’d said that I still hadn’t seen a Curves sign, he says “oh, we passed that ages ago.”
What the heck!!!
I said “why didn’t you tell me!! I told you we were turning after Curves!”

1f644He said that he thought I meant we were turning after curves in the road.
I’m sorry to tell you dear readers, this is indeed a true story.

It’s all fine, fine… We made a new route that took us eventually by the water and we love to walk anyway so what was an extra three of four kilometres?


Finally we saw the Honda building in sight! It sort of takes you breath away as you walk in. Its a big place, not a huge display but what’s there is interesting to look at.


I even got to get on a motor bike! Who said riding was hard!

After that, we were looking for a train station to take us to the next stop when we passed a McLaren dealership. This was a much smaller place but definitely more breathtaking than the Honda place!


Very nice!! And as we left we wondered if they would have let us sat inside. I wish we’d done that now.

We passed a park that looked interesting so went inside for a little bit. I told hubby we could do with a bit more serenity in our lives. It was really pretty but within a few minutes I was ready to see something else. We both don’t know how to sit and be peaceful.


Oh and look at this sign that was at the start of the park. I’m assuming it’s a list of things not to do at the park. What’s the first one? No sleeping in the park?

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We got off at Tokyo Station. That place is CRAZY! And walked to the Imperial Palace. Last time we were here there weren’t many other tourists around, today there seemed to be heaps. There were tons of buses parked in the car park too. I’m not sure what they’re all going to see because it’s not like you can look inside. We all just walked up to the bridge, took some pics, then walked back. Lovely grounds around there too and I love the view of Tokyo from here. This is more of a business district so doesn’t have the craziness of some of the other places we’ve been to.


Everything is cute in Japan. Look at the roadworks barriers.

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We really wanted to see a themed cafe and still haven’t done that with all the times we’ve been here. That’s mainly because they haven’t been open at the times we’ve gone there.

Today we wanted to see Alice in an Old Castle (Alice in Wonderland theme) at Ikebukuro.

It took a little bit to find but unfortunately, it was not open until 5pm.

The same thing happened to us last time we were in Tokyo.
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So instead we wandered around Ikebukuro.

This place is special to us as it’s the first place we saw in Tokyo. The very first time we came, we stayed at a hotel in Ikebukuro.

Before we knew it we were in front of Shakey’s pizza.
I’ve mentioned this in a past entry but this has meaning for hubby as he and his family owned a few Shakey’s Pizza Restaurants in the past.
The Shakey’s here in Japan is not exactly as he knew it but we couldn’t help but go in- even though we knew we would be regretting it as we walked out because would surely eat too much and that’s exactly what happened.

We were hot from walking and hungry and I’m sure the staff are still talking about the crazy Westerners who couldn’t stop eating and drinking.

We even ate dessert pizzas!!!
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We realised we were less than two kilometres from our apartment so we walked back and I had to take a picture of the roses that are growing along the tramline tracks.
How pretty are they!
Much nicer in real life.

 

My photo does not do them justice.

We spent a bit of time researching things to do in Osaka this evening. It kind of already feels like we’ve left Tokyo and we’re a bit sad that this part of our vacation is quickly coming to a close but are really excited for the next bit!

For now, Oyasuminasai

 

 

 

 

Sake to me Baby – Japan Day Four

I’ve just realised that before today, we’d spend two and a half days in Japan and were yet to use chopsticks!! Shame on us. And that’s not that when given a choice, we chose a fork, it’s that we haven’t really eaten any Japanese food. That changed today.

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Today we went on a tour to Mt Fuji!! I was so excited as for all the times we’ve been to Japan, we still hadn’t gone there.

We were up early to make sure we made the departure time which was going to be from a hotel in Shinjuku.

We spied the Metropolitan Government building close by and made a plan to go there later, after we got back from the tour.

We got to talking to a few people that were going on tour with us. It’s nice talking to people from around the world and hearing about their experiences in Japan.

Our tour guide, Taka, was just so cute! I could have listened to her talking all day although it did take a bit of concentrating as her accent was strong at times but she was so lovely.

I took a few pics from the bus. We drove past some gorgeous towns along the way. So green and lush and picturesque along the water. Unfortunately the highway mostly had a barrier up so I wasn’t always able to take pictures when I wanted to.


And then sooner than I expected, we saw Mt Fuji in the distance!!!
It was soon covered over with cloud again though so I was worried about what we were going to see when we got to the fifth station.

I didn’t realise how high we had driven until I started to see we were above the clouds! How did that happen!! And how gorgeous are the clouds. I felt like we were in a plane and flying instead of driving.


There were loads of people up the top!! So many tour buses!! AND, more importantly, Mt Fuji was visible. I have to admit though, I found the other side, with all the clouds, much more interesting to look at.

 


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Our guide Taka told us a story of a guy who kept climbing up Mt Fuji right up until his death at 105 years of age.
He was Masashi Toyoda, from Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture.

There’s a statue of him inside one of the stores at the Fifth Station and we posed in front of it because, well, that’s just what you do!

For lunch we were taken to a restaurant where a buffet style meal was prepared for us. There was a great array of food. Some of it Japanese and some was a little more Western but it was all really really tasty AND I got to use chop sticks for the first time on this trip! Took me thirty seconds or so to get used to it again. I just don’t understand why people persist with chopsticks when we have INVENTED AN EASIER WAY. I mean when we discover something that works better, we usually adopt it! But whatever. It’s fun to eat with chopsticks and it definitely helps the waist line because for me, it takes longer and I can’t pick up every single last morsel.


The grounds/gardens outside the restaurant were really pretty too. We had that view from our table.

After lunch we were back on the bus and our guide Taka taught us how to make an Origami Japanese warrior hat.
She was like a parent not wanting to disappoint a child who clearly is not doing well with me. She said I almost had it right then fixed it up expertly.

Our next stop was Lake Ashi where we were going to take a cruise. We had about thirty minutes in the store there before the cruise and I found a couple of interesting items.

What you see below, is a vending machine that sells HOT food!! Like chips/fries and burgers. Can you believe that!! Only in Japan I say!

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Of course, if you don’t want your fries hot, you can also buy them like this.
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Would you be game enough to drink anyone of these drinks?


No wasabi and no sweat for me thank you very much.

The views out of the lake were so breathtakingly beautiful. My photos do not do it justice at all!

And a couple more photos from the catamaran as well.


We were dropped at Hakkone and took the ropeway up to the top.
Now this seemed like a good idea when I was booking this tour. I didn’t realise how high it was going to go!!
First, a few pictures.


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And then we were in the clouds and I was freaking out a bit!!!

I definitely made a mental note to NOT sit at the front on the way back down.

 
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Our tour was just about over.

All that was left was to take the bullet train back to Tokyo.

Even though hubby and I have been here many times, we were yet to ride the bullet train so were really looking forward to it!

Turns out, it’s just a train that goes pretty fast. When you’re sitting in it though, it’s quiet so you don’t really notice how fast you’re going. I’m sure if you were standing outside and it whizzed past you, it would knock you around a bit and be impressive but apart from reaching our destination a little quicker, I’m not sure that I’d use it again.

Once we were back at Tokyo, we went back to the Metropolitan Governement building. We really wanted to see the view from the observatory and seeing as it was getting darker, thought it would be nice to see it at night.
When we got there, there was a line that went out through the door AND it was closing within thirty minutes so we missed out again.
There’s always tomorrow.

Instead we walked around Shinjuku


We even went to the “you must see this” Robot Cafe!

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That is, we went outside it. The inside will need to be explored another day.
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Finally, I found my wine bar again. I had first seen this place a few trips to Japan ago.

This is the wine bar that is dedicated to all Margot’s around the world but especially me because I say so.

It had just been such a long day and our time here is not over so we can always go back.

I feel like we saw a lot of things we have wanted to see in Japan today and we met some really nice people and made some nice memories. Thanks Japan!

Just to finish up, I’ll leave you with this signboard that we saw in a cafe. I just love Japanese English!

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