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Tokyo – Days 1 and 2

25 Jun


Despite jet-lag, I’m having a splendid trip.  Here are brief highlights:

En Route:

Bumpy ride, but not bad overall. Kept busy.  Believe it or not, the food was decent and there was plenty of it!  They served shrimp cocktail, salad, chicken with paella rice, fruit, bread, fried rice and more!  The beverages, including beer and wine, were complimentary.  Need I say more?

First Impressions:

The airport was surprisingly quiet and, after getting my luggage, I HAD to check out Japanese toilets!!

It’s recessed into the floor and you use it by squatting, facing the top.

Ah….no way.

I fancied this one. It had BUTTONS!


There was a bidet, spray, and a “flushing sound”, if you absolutely need that sound as you go.

To my complete surprise — it was NOT humid when we arrived at our hotel – about 7:30 PM.  It was a little nippy and balmy and no rain.  Super comfortable!

The Shinawaga Prince Hotel is superb!  My room came complete with a toothbrush, slippers, pajamas/kimono — I use it as a bathrobe because it’s huge — even a room freshener in my closet.

The hotel is situated in a pretty bustling area, even for a Sunday night.  We stopped in a food court and bought ice cream!  It was soft serve and tasted just like ours back home.  YUM! What was different was that you place your order at a ticket machine.   It was a little scary slipping in the blll and not knowing if you were pushing the right buttons…I certainly didn’t want to pay 1,000 yen for an ice cream! :) To my relief, I got change back!

Tour

The next afternoon, we toured the exciting city of Tokyo.  The Tokyo Tower Tree soared into the sky and the streets were hectic with bikes, cars, buses and people.  The tour bus drove on the left side of the street.   Our guide was excellent and kept us informed and amused.  We visited the Imperial Palace, which is the center of Tokyo and only open to the public twice a year: Emperor’s birthday and January 2nd (to celebrate New Year’s Day).

Our tour guide, Akiko, and I are standing in front of the moat that surrounds the Imperial Palace.  The trees and grass in the surroundings are lush green and the trees look like a combination Bonsai and Evergreen.

Our bus drove past entire shopping areas that looked very much like New York and Hawaii (Oahu) combined.  They had every fancy schmancy store there is.

Everywhere we went, there were vending machines with drinks, like tea and water.  Sometimes, I saw BEER.

Then we ventured into Asakusa and visited the shrine and Komagatado Hall. Amazing!

From here on, we were on our own and we went SHOPPING.  The expression “shop til you drop” is the perfect description to our madness.  The little stores were so adorable!  This was a fantastic place to people watch.

We were brave and took the train back to our hotel.  After a mix-up, we found our way safely back.

More adventures tomorrow, when I get to observe and teach (English) students at an Elementary School.

Stay tuned!

~~ Maggie

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14 Comments

Posted by on June 25, 2012 in travel

 

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14 responses to “Tokyo – Days 1 and 2

  1. Wendy Bunston

    June 25, 2012 at 2:45 PM

    You’ll find the Japanese incredibly gracious.

     
    • Maggie Wunderlich

      June 26, 2012 at 12:56 PM

      Yes, Wendy, they are. When my friend and I couldn’t find a train station, a business man who looked extremely tired from a long day, helped us by walking us to where we could get help. He insisted.

       
  2. Blazing Portals

    June 25, 2012 at 4:03 PM

    What a fabulous photo of you!! Your trip sounds amazing from the very beginning! Can’t wait to read more! 楽しむ (enjoy).

     
    • Maggie Wunderlich

      June 26, 2012 at 1:01 PM

      Thanks Nance. It’s been an incredible experience. Tokyo is a mix of nature and technology — lush trees next to skyscrapers, etc.

       
  3. caseykurlander

    June 25, 2012 at 5:48 PM

    I love it! Japan was the most amazingly weird place I have ever been. Totally worth the 21 hour solo flight around the world and $4,000 credit card debt that took almost a year to pay off (I underestimated the value of the yen vs. the U.S. dollar- oops). I just wrote an entry of some of my favorite things about Japan last summer. Here is the link if you want to check it out:

    http://caseykurlander.wordpress.com/2012/05/22/if-you-happen-to-be-going-to-japan/

    Thanks!
    Casey

     
    • Maggie Wunderlich

      June 26, 2012 at 1:51 PM

      Casey – I will check out some of the places in your “favorite things to do in Japan”. What a fun list — sounds like you had a blast! Thanks for the link — I appreciate it. Domo arigato!

       
  4. rushter777

    June 25, 2012 at 7:57 PM

    Tokyo Tower and The Skytree are two different towers. Which were you referring to? Tokyo Tower is red and white while the Skytree is gray and the second tallest building in the world.

     
    • Maggie Wunderlich

      June 26, 2012 at 12:53 PM

      Thank you for your comment. I was referring to The Tokyo Skytree. I will post a picture soon. It was incredible!

       
  5. Haruko-chan

    June 26, 2012 at 7:51 AM

    The flushing sound button on the toilet is not meant to help you ‘go’ but to camouflage any sounds you might make yourself while ‘going’. Japanese ladies are a little shy and prefer not to be overheard while going about their business.

     
    • Maggie Wunderlich

      June 26, 2012 at 1:15 PM

      Thank you for your comment. I love this! I am also getting used heated seats!

       
      • Haruko-chan

        June 27, 2012 at 5:34 AM

        I agree, those heated seats are easy to get used to! I almost shrieked out loud the first time I sat on an unheated Belgian toilet seat again when we went to visit around Christmas time.

         
  6. Luly

    June 27, 2012 at 10:46 AM

    Hi Maggie! wow! I love your Corner,, great pictures! I am so jealous!

     
  7. Michelle Isenhoff

    July 1, 2012 at 4:59 PM

    Awesome! Glad you’re enjoying yourself so much!

     
  8. Fluffy

    July 17, 2012 at 12:42 AM

    Japanese toilets (squat toilets) are really different from the usual toilets. Are there people who still prefer this type of toilet? Hmm, I personally prefer using a bidet toilet as it is comfortable and easy to use. The ones with spray-type are also okay. :) Anyways, glad you found your way back to the hotel, Maggie! Keep safe!

     

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