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

 

 

 

 

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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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Turning Japanese – Part Four

We woke up in beautifully busy Tokyo this morning but before I get to food related topics, let me tell you a few things that have amused and delighted me…

I’ve discovered that eating or drinking while walking on the street is considered rude but picking your nose seems to be ok.
Talking on your phone on the train is extremely rude and in fact, there are service announcements on the train to tell you not to do it.
Dorky electronic music plays everywhere for all different reasons. For example, when we enter a convenience store, a ten second clip plays. We were in that store for about five minutes and by the end I wanted to punch that speaker out.
When a train arrives on the platform, the music plays again telling you to get on that train.
Maybe it’s to hurry everyone along as they’re all trying to get away from that god awful sound.

I was pleasantly surprised to see how the bathroom was stocked here in our hotel room.
Full bottles of shampoo, conditioner, body wash AND skin cleansing bottles too!!!

 

And another corner of the bathroom was stocked with all kind of things from razors to hair combs to toothpaste and toothbrushes….
So imagine my surprise when I saw the following packet…
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My first thought was…. is that a condom??
The fact that it was called “Lady’s set” didn’t phase me as things are labelled in interesting ways here in Japan but really, a condom?
I mean hubby and I read all about their “love hotels” before we came here because we almost booked ourselves into one of them. Luckily we found out what they were and changed our booking.

So, I opened the Lady’s set packet and this is what I found.
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Well, that’s NOT a condom but certainly very handy!

Moving right along… breakfast this morning was at Denny’s. It’s part of our hotel package and if you don’t know, Denny’s is an American chain so I was very interested to see what they’d be offering for breakfast.

The menus we were given were both in English and Japanese. I took a quick pic to give you an idea of what we were looking at.

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There was a little frustrating moment for both myself and the Japanese waiter. I ordered number three from the top line so I said “three, with the mushrooms”.
I totally accept the blame. I should have just said three but the fact that I mentioned mushrooms confused him and he thought I was saying I didn’t want them in the dish. We back and forthed a bit and honestly I wasn’t really sure what was going to come out. Thankfully, it came out as it was supposed to.

I didn’t take a picture but we’ll be back tomorrow so hopefully I’ll remember then.
The mushrooms were delicious and added a lot of flavour to that dish. The toast was thick and I was just craving bread so badly!!! It was a perfect breakfast for me today.

Hubby and I did a lot of touristy things including going to the Oeno Zoo, and we mostly grazed during the day. I can’t get over the sweet shops here.

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Their desserts are amazing. How do they stay thin??? And if you do a brief crowd sweep, you’ll notice that there are very few overweight Japanese. I wonder if they think Westerners are all fat?

And then it was time for dinner and again I find myself getting a little stressed as I have no idea what I’m going to eat or where we’re going to eat it.

We started strolling through the streets behind our hotel at Ikebukuro and lo and behold what do we see but a Shakey’s pizza!! Now hubby has a long association with Shakey’s and once we saw it, how could we not go in?
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We had to wait in line to be able to go in, and many people lined up after us as we waited.
The restaurant was full!!! And not full of tourists, but full of locals.
I was very happy that it was a buffet and hubby and I were able to finally really fill our bellies. I felt like we hadn’t eaten for a few days!

As well as pizza’s Shakey’s has beans and cornchips, mojo potatoes, salads, spaghetti, curry and rice and very interestingly, dessert pizza’s! Drinks with free refills and coffee were also included in our buffet price making this easily the best value meal we’ve had since we’ve been here. Very happy to use a regular fork to eat the spaghetti, but I had to have a little giggle when I saw a local trying to eat her pizza with a fork.

No need to visit the convenience store for snacks tonight!! In fact we walked the streets a little longer to try to help us digest the large meal we’d just consumed.
So much life in this place! No matter where you go, there are people everywhere!!

I’ll leave you with one last image. Hubby was begging me to pose with her but all I could think was the caption that would read “frumpy with fabulous”
So instead I took a pic when her back was turned. Gotta love Japan!

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