Saturday, 24 May 2008

Akihabara and Shinjuku

If an area of a city could be described as a shop, then Akihabara is literally the Richer Sounds of Tokyo. Referred to as the electric city, shops in Akihabara sell anything that needs a battery or a plug. (St John - note the couple of cheap Chinese watches below).

We then made our way to Shinjuku - a skyscraper and retail district of Tokyo. Lunch was some rather fine sushi (below left). The area is also home to the Park Hyatt Tokyo hotel, made famous in the film Lost in Translation (below middle). We got a great view from the neighboring Tokyo Government Metropolitan Building (45th floor- below right).

We accidentally went one stop along the wrong line, came back to the original station and then needed to get through the barrier. Having bought only a single ticket, the ticket barrier repelled us once again so we had to try and speak to the conductor. He just let us through the barrier - and with a full refund for our wasted journey! (Below - what not to do on the subway)

After tonights noodles we went exploring in some atmospheric alleyways next to the train station in Shinjuku. We stumbled into a small bar and a very kind Japanese businessman ended up buying us a beer and yakitori (chicken skewers). We managed to have a bit of a chat (we shared about four words in common) before he had to leave to return to Kyoto. We were overwhelmed by his generosity. What amazing people!

(Below - a wet Shinjuku evening; everyone has these same 400 yen umbrella's - including me now).

Friday, 23 May 2008


After watching two films on the way here, and Jen being squashed by the
Russian guy in front reclining for the whole trip, we finally arrived
tired, jetlagged and dehydrated at Tokyo Narita airport. The journey
into downtown Tokyo was fairly effortless and our golden ticket rail
passes were obtained without any problems. The only pitfall was
spending an extra 320 Yen (a whopping £1.60) on a train ticket rather
than a subway ticket. The station guard looked on in amusement as we
repeatedly barged the barriers without success.

Observations from the express train from the airport to downtown - it's
not that express, there's paddy fields and bamboo, it's refreshing being
the odd one out for a change and everyone hangs their mattresses out on
the balcony in the morning.

Today was spent in a blurry haze of tiredness and heat ( 33 °C). We did manage to get some noodles in and visit Ueno Park in central Tokyo (picture below), culminating in an impromptu siesta on the park bench.

Eli saavuimme Tokioon tänään todella väsyneinä! Lentokenttäjunasta näimme loputtomia riisipeltoja ja paljon bambuja. Olemme majoittautuneet hostelliin Asakusan kaupunginosassa, joka on yksi Tokion vanhimpia. Olemme lähellä Sensoji-temppeliä, joka on todella hieno kuten ylläolevasta kuvasta näkyy. Tänään ei vielä ollut paljon energiaa kuin lähiympäristön tutkimiseen ja puistossa rentoutumiseen. Meinaan tätäkin kirjoittaessani koko ajan nukahdella, joten taidetaanpa mennä klo 21 nukkumaan. Ehkä tämä zombi-tila sitten pikku hiljaa paranee! On ollut ihanaa tulla Aasiaan ja ollaan todella hyvin mielin.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

20 May 2008 - Väinö's 83rd Birthday

Today we made a surprise visit to Jen's Grandad, Väinö, to celebrate his 83rd birthday.  Irmeli had baked a very nice cake too, topped with cloud berries.

There was also time tonight for a quick trip in the 'new' rowing boat.  The last one developed a couple of leaks.

Pictures: 6645 - Irmeli pours the coffee, 6627 - Väinö, 6631 - group photo, 6658 and 6653 - an evening on the sea in Harri's new aluminum rowing boat.