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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Vay Cay to Jay Jay – Part Six

Although I believe I have had input in planning how our days are going to be spent, hubby emphatically said he wasn’t going to put any ideas forth today and it was all up to me what we did. “Plan our day” he commanded.

So, I gleefully rubbed my hands together and said “I have the perfect day planned!”

I love the busy hubs like Shinjuku, Harajuku, Shibuya but I’ve seen them now and wanted some tranquility and peace. IMG_3673
Today, we were going to climb Mt Takao!

I had looked at a couple of sites and this is a direct quote from one of them.

Alight at Takaosanguchi Station (not Takao Station, which is the stop before) and you’ll be facing the front of the mountain. Don’t be tempted by the cable car or chair lifts at the foot of the mountain – taking either of these will cut short your walk and it’s really not a difficult climb.

Did you get  that? Apparently, this is not a difficult climb.

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First things first, get on the right train.

We got into a “women only” train carriage by accident but you wouldn’t know it by looking at the other passengers….

True to the website’s word, when we got off the train, we were right at the start of the walk.
I had had to talk hubby into this walk and I sold it by saying it was going to be a gentle walk up. Nothing like Mt Lofty! I said that because I knew that’s what he was thinking.

With pursed lips he followed me up and it got pretty steep right away.

 

 

“It must be just like this at the start” I said trying to calm him, “It’s going to taper off soon I’m sure. Look, it’s getting flatter over there isn’t it?”

But no, it wasn’t.

Up and up we went. These Japanese are a strong bunch though. I saw people of all ages, and from all walks of life doing this walk.

At one point I saw a young mum trying to push a stroller up there. Her husband gently pushed her back every now and again to help.
I said to hubby “Why wouldn’t he just take the stroller?” and hubby said through gritted teeth, “I don’t know, maybe it was her effing idea to come up here”  I feel like there was a covert message for me there but I left it…

 

 

And look what else we saw!!! Dog shoes! This dog also had a cap on.
Safety first.

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After a good hard slog and after constantly telling hubby “I’m sure we’re almost at the flat bit” we were at the point where the Cable Cars get to.

He stared longingly at it but it didn’t really make a difference because as it turned out we had done the hard bit.

We stopped so hubby could catch his breath and regain some humanity and got some refreshments. I just loved these little honey/sesame stick things!

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I found an information centre and the lady told me it was only a gentle slope up now to the peak and Visitor Centre. I told her to hold it right there and brought hubby over and asked her to repeat what she’d just said as I was sure he wouldn’t have believed me.

I also asked her about the way down. She said it was a bit gravelly but Elementary School kids do it all the time so it was fine.

With that information in hand we set off for the peak.

 

 

We reached the top!!

 

 


I can’t quite read the expression on hubby’s face…

Now I don’t know what these Japanese people are made of but that “bit gravelly” description was NOT what I would have called it.
In fact I’m sure this trail would NOT have even been allowed in Australia!!!

Here are a few pics I took when it was safe enough to get my camera out.

 

 


Those last two pics show what it was like for the majority of the walk down.

Hubby turned out to be quite the hero. We were walking behind a group of elderly people when a woman slipped and went down a steep embankment. It was quite terrifying!
Everyone screamed.
Two men in front of us tried to help and they quickly went down too.
Hubby got down to help and was holding on to a thin trunk of tree. He slipped but was holding on so was able to pull himself up, then grabbed the ones who’d fallen.

Once up, it was like nothing happened.
Must be a cultural thing. Barely a thank you and off on our way we went.

So there you go, because I forced him up the hill, he saved a woman. You’re welcome.

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We were hungry by the time we got back to the station but decided to wait until we were back in Shinjuku before eating.

Is this enticing anyone? It wasn’t for me.

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Back in Shinjuku and what should we find but Shakeys!!!

Hubby and his family have a history with Shakey’s having once owned several in Canada.

We’ve now been in three different Shakey’s in Japan (not just this trip)

It might not be local food but it was comforting so we went for it.

 

 

They give you  all you can eat for ninety minutes. I estimate hubby and I ate enough for lunch and dinner combined in about twenty.

After that we strolled the streets of Shinjuku with about eight or nine million other people for a while before returning to our apartment.

I don’t think I’ll be planning any more itineraries this holiday….

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