Travel Blog

The Adventures of Relic and Sikosis
Mt FujiWe slept in this morning, but still managed to get ready and race downstairs in time for our tour. It took a couple of hours drive to Mt Fuji's 5th station of which there are 10; Mt Fuji is 3306m in high and station 5 is at 2300m. Impressive view, but I wish I'd known to bring warm clothing, as it was freezing.

We then went to a local hotel, that had a nice view of Mt Fuji, for a traditional Japanese lunch box. Unfortunately, Lisa didn't like it, but I thought it was alright, so I ate most of hers. We then proceeded to Hakone for a short but nice boat cruise on Lake Ashi.

We were then supposed to take a cable car ride at Komagatake, but the station had been closed, because it was too windy, so we went to another station and saw (and smelt) the sulfar mines.

The tour concluded with our first ride on the Shinkansen (Bullet Train) to Tokyo station and then we used the subway to get back to our hotel; later having dinner at a local restaurant called MOS Burger. MMMmmm ... Japanese Burgers with cheese and jalapenos.
Me and SushiThis morning it was pouring down in Tokyo as we prepared to explore Akihabara aka Electric Town.

Despite the rain, there was still heaps of people shopping. Whilst the Lonely Planet guide said there was porn / manga porn everywhere, we only saw 2 shops in amongst the gazillon other shops selling cameras, mobile phones, laptops, MP3 devices - you name it. So much choice, so little yen. ;)

As well as picking up a cheap suitcase and some other gifts, I bought a Sony Vaio VGN-UX71 for $700 AU cheaper than I could have got it for at home. It works great, however, it is running Vista Home Premium and due to MS and their wisdom (licensing restrictions), it only ships with one language pack - Japanese. Apparently, Vista Ultimate and Enterprise don't have this issue. Thanks for nothing Microsoft. :(

Anyway, after a tiring day shopping, we then headed back to the hotel to freshen up. Whilst I'm loving it here, Lisa is having difficultly adapting to the number of people and the culture. Take dinner for example, we went to that sushi restaurant I found, where you write down what you want by the piece. Of course, I just ordered 16 pieces of Salmon :) - Lisa tried her luck and ended up with Eel and Abalone. Needless to say, she wasn't happy, whilst I had a belly full of sushi. To make up for it, I said she can choose dinner tomorrow night.
Lisa and I at Imperial PalaceToday, we embarked on our full day tour of Tokyo, first starting with views of the city via the observation deck of the Tokyo Tower; Japan's slightly taller and less heavy version of Paris's Eiffel Tower. As the Tokyo Tower is surrounded by other high-rise buildings, it doesn't stand out as much as the Eiffel Tower, though it does have more practical uses, beaming digital TV/radio and analog signals.

Next stop was at Happoen Gardens for a traditional tea ceremony, where we got to try some green tea. It's chock full of vitamins and caffeine, giving me a much needed fix to press on (still feeling a bit jetlagged). At the garden, we also got to see 300 year old Bansai trees - very cool and the garden was also very tranquil.

We then visited the gates of the Imperial Gardens and then headed off to the Chinaznso Garden Restaurant for a delicious Japanese Stone BBQ meal. I asked our tour guide what was his favourite beer to recommend was and he said he drinks Guiness. Lol :) So, I then asked what was his favourite Japanese beer was to which he replied - Asahi Super Dry, which wasn't a bad drop.

Next, we took a boat cruise on the Sumida River to Akakusa for some shopping and also to see the Kan-non Temple. The company, Canon, derived their name from this national icon.

The tour concluded at the expensive Ginza district, where we saw all the designer labels (think Rodeo Drive or 5th Avenue) as well as a poster for Die Hard 4. We then successfully navigated the subway system back to our hotel, it's much like London's Underground, but busier.

For dinner, we picked up some cheap McDonald's and then did some more shopping at the Tobu department store with it's 7 levels of shopping nirvana. I was in heaven at HMV, which had lots of CDs that were $20-$30 AU dollars cheaper than they are in Australia. I've also picked out a nice sushi restaurant for tomorrow night.
Tokyo at NightUnfortunately, we didn't get any sleep on the plane, thanks to the uncomfortable seats and some rude people, who chatted the whole way. The only time I drowned them out, was while I was watching Music and Lyrics, which was quite a light, funny movie.

We arrived at Narita airport at 10:30am, gaining 8 hours crossing timezones. We then had a 2 hour bus ride to our hotel room (due to traffic), where we then checked in and crashed. At 7pm, we got some room service, whilst watching many bizarre Japanese game shows - lots of cooking ones at that, which makes me want to play some Cooking Mama. :)
Airplane at HeathrowFirst thing this morning, we went to the Fulham Post Office to send some of our shopping home. The Post Office, according to 3 internet sites, was due to be open at 9am with our shuttle to the airport arriving to pick us up between 9:30am and 10:00am. So, we knew it was going to be touch and go; unfortunately, the Post Office didn't open til 9:15am and then we got a slow teller.

By the time we got back to the hotel, it was 10am. The concierge told us that we'd missed our shuttle, so we got him to arrange a mini-cab, whilst we waited outside. To our surprise, our shuttle then arrived, with the driver apologizing for being stuck in traffic ... thankfully.

We then arrived at Heathrow with plenty of time to spare and proceeded through all their security points. We ended up going through 3 scanners, getting padded down twice. :( The flight was then delayed for 2 hours, due to a problem with the plane and then by 3pm, we were underway on our 11.5 hour flight. Joy.