Monday, June 18, 2007

Tokyo Day 1

I arrived in at JR Tokyo at about 7 o'clock. My first act after getting my stuff was to go and buy a shinkansen ticket for the return trip. Then, I dumped my big backpack in a locker near a curry house, and got breakfast at a cafe. When I actually walked out of the station, the first thing I saw was a giant NOVA flower, and then a giant Usagi at the top of the building. I wandered around the station for a while (an area called Nihonbashi). I found a currency museum that was part of the Japanese mint which I thought I would go to, but it turns out that it was closed on Mondays. So a bit more wandering, then I decided to head to the Imperial Palace and visit the gardens there, where I intended to sit around for a while and not do much, to try and gain a bit of energy. Well, guess what else was closed on Mondays? So instead I sat down on a small garden on the street outside the palace. I read for about ten minutes, then laid back and used the book as a cushion. I lay with my eyes closed for maybe half an hour when this guy in a suit came over and told me the emperor would be driving by soon. So I sat up and got my camera ready, and waited for about 20 minutes until the motorcade went past. It was about 4 cars and I didn't see the emperor, but I did see an old lady wave from one of the cars, so I assume this was the empress.

After that bit of excitement, I walked around the imperial palace, at one time being overtaken by an old man (I blame the lack of sleep). After making the round of the palace I walked to Yasukuni Shrine. The shrine was interesting with a few statues and other bits and pieces, but the good bit was the museum. It started out with a documentary in Japanese, which I went into with the intention of trying to pick up as much as possible, but after about 10 minutes nodded off. I hope I didn't snore. Anyway, the rest of the museum had information in English and Japanese (although more in Japanese. Can't really blame them for that though.) and was quite interesting. It made me somewhat more interested in the history of Japan from about 1900-1940 (My knowledge sort of goes "samurai, samurai, something, something, Pearl Harbour").

After that it was late enough in the day for me to check into my guest house, so I headed out to Asakusa. I got my room key, and checked out the room. It had it's own toilet and sink, and four bunk beds. For Tokyo, pretty good value at 2800 yen per night. I had a bit of a nap, and then headed out for dinner. I had a curry at a surf themed restaurant, that was nice, if a bit pricey (that seems a common theme in Tokyo, nice but a little pricey). Then I tried out a bar called Bar JD's Style. It was nice and the barkeeper was friendly. The decor was mainly Jack Daniels paraphenalia. After a few drinks there, I went back to the hostel to get some sleep.

Pictures are here.

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