Writing this post on the Shinkasen Super Express train to Kyoto! It is one of the bullet trains here, they look awesome and have so much leg room! The journey is about 2 and a half hours!
Our flight to Tokyo Narita was with Qantas, it’s a new route for them and it goes direct to Japan, which was much better than having to go to Singapore first. Qantas was great, the flight wasn’t full so it was fairly quiet and no annoying children. Food was good, service was good. Cindy had a inconsiderate man sitting in front who wanted to sit in her lap the whole way. Movie options were okay, nothing stood out.
Getting through Tokyo airport wasn’t too bad, the attendant’s on the flight forgot to give us the customs card -so we had to find that so we could leave the airport.
We missed the train to the city as they only have one an hour so we had to acclimatise to the crazy humidity for an hour waiting for the train.
Getting off at Shinjuku station – wow, it is a huge station – Cindy kept saying we need the east exit, east exit – didn’t realise how important this was until we got off. They have at least seven exits and I swear the station is at least 2km long. So its like 11pm when we get out of the station – we don’t have a map but a very vague idea of the direction we need to head… Thankfully amongst all the crazy neon lights and people (oh yes, this place is insanely busy even at 11) – Cindy spots our hotel amongst the high rises and as we get closer – the giant godzilla on top of the building – that’s right, you read correctly – we stayed at the Godzilla hotel. Thankfully not in a Godzilla room – because who really wants to sleep with a giant scary dinosaur thing looking at you? Not me! The hotel was very nice, nice staff, nice but very small rooms. The bathroom was awesome – well the toilet/bidet was weird but the bath tub was awesome – i think they call it a plunge bath because it is crazy deep!
On Sunday, we had organised tickets to see the Tokyo Giants play the Hiroshima Carps at Tokyo Dome, the gates opened at 12 and us being the crazy kids that we are decide to walk there – take our time and explore on the way – with no map,but a general idea of the route by Google (5km walk), I was skeptical – Cindy was confident… So off we went after our breakfast.. It’s already over 30 degrees and humid as anything.. We walk and walk and walk… Saw some cool things along the way… Shrines, cool baseball field, university and so on… we just kept walking – lost our bearings a few times… I swear we were close but we knew we were getting close to the bickering stage – so we went stopped at a train station and tried to get some answers from a train attendant – he didn’t know much English so it didn’t go too well… He showed us where we were and because we couldn’t really understand each other and I think he was trying to get us to go back to Shinjuku – which I refused because we had just been walking to get to where we were – I was not going back to where it began, No sir! So we walked away and walked and walked…. We knew we were close but who knows- we ended up giving up and found a metro and bought tickets to the station next to Tokyo Dome.. The metros are good, quick,clean and lovely and cool(great ventilation/air cons)…. But we made it. Turns out the street we gave up on would have gotten us to Tokyo Dome… Only another 2kms… I swear walked like 6km… Sigh!
Tokyo Dome is very impressive, it has a huge amusement park with this giant roller coaster (scary looking) – they had some cutesy stores (which is what i call stores that sell lots of cute and cool things) – we found the Giants store and Cindy got a jersey.
The stadium is awesome, we were a bit apprehensive about sitting in the sun / humidity for hours but thankfully it had a ceiling! The whole place was awesome! Of course our tickets were miles up these stairs, I wasn’t looking forward to going up and down to get drinks… Thankfully closer to the “kick off” time all these girls (no guys), came around selling drinks – soft drinks, juices, water and beer!! I felt sorry for them and envious, because they have to run up and down the steep stairs for hours with drink bags or a mini keg on their backs… While being friendly (& sweating to death) – I was envious of the fact they must have killer legs and butts to be able to do that for hours..
The baseball game itself was good, but a fairly boring game for the first few innings, we missed the first run(we think it was a home run) because we went to the bathroom…. Giants were up! Then a few more innings went by and Cindy was trying to show me something and then the Carps get a home run! So now I’ve missed two!! The last three innings were a bit more exciting after they changed the pitchers. Giants put in a white pitcher and he just gave the Carps runs – he didn’t even finish the innings before he got swapped out. Giants fans were just leaving… The Carps fans (we should have worn red!) were awesome, chanting and dancing… In the end – Carps won like 6-1. (Watching the Japan baseball on TV here – much more exciting and the crowd’s are much more exciting! I think we got a boring game!)
After the game we caught the train back to Shinjuku where we went back to the hotel to rest before going back out for dinner. We ended up at this small restaurant that did Gyoza and what only seem like different parts of raw horse… We just stuck to the Gyoza…. We tried a few different types – one was steamed in a white broth, another pan fried and the last was a crumbed deep fried Gyoza (this one was my favourite).
After dinner we went for a little wander around the neon city – there are so many ‘massage’ places and DVD rooms… And many many restaurants! What is crazy about this place is that there are restaurants up on different floors – so you have to go up to the 8th floor to eat…. Or look at a menu… (That we might not even be able to read) I’m sure there are some secret gems to eat at but I’m not sure if I’m comfortable just yet to go up and wing it!
The next day we didn’t have any strict plans so we headed to the station to reserve our seats to get to Kyoto the next day and then looked for a train to get to Sunshine City – this huge shopping centre that has many anime stores/food theme restaurants. We went to the pokemon centre – which was cool. There was a group of British scouts here on a jamboree… They all had picked up these giant ass Pikachu’s (because that’s not wasting your money) until they realised they weren’t the price they thought, so they all got demoted to mid-sized Pikachu’s and Snorlax’s… It was funny watching them at the checkouts -some forgot their money, others hoping they could put it on their cards and others who couldn’t bear to put anything back… Lol…
We went to Namja town which is like an amusement park and cool food court thing we had read great things about. We queued up for a while and then stuffed our faces with all different Gyoza things.
We walked around for awhile before leaving back on the train and everywhere they have these claw machines where you can win cool stuffed toys… We thought we’d give it a go but we failed.. Multiple times…it started pouring and we took refuge in a hello kitty store.. Very pink! we headed back to Shinjuku and went into one of the arcade places here and watched the locals – one girl won one, just stuffed it in this big bag and went to another machine to win the next one… They must go through so much money – Gambling for kids!
We went back to the hotel to rest our legs before going to the other side of Shinjuku to check out the Government building where you can up 45 floors to a free lookout! The views were pretty awesome, unfortunately it wasn’t too clear out in the distance so we couldnt see Mt. Fuji.
We were starting to run out of time before Cindy’s birthday present – I had got her tickets to the Robot Restaurant… We opted out of eating there as its more for the show than the food – and the show is very hard to explain … Girls, robots, dancers, strobe lights, loud music… It goes for about 2 hours with a number of intervals between sets… Only one set had a story line but we still had a good time! Before anyone says anything – its a family friendly thing – there were a number of children in the crowd…
Afterwards, we found a place to eat some katsu curry. It was pretty good – very very filling…
And here we are…it’s now Tuesday and we are on our way to Kyoto for few days. We should be arriving in another hour and will explore the city this afternoon. We are going to Osaka tomorrow and going to Universal studios!! Cindy is so excited! We are both having a good time – I can’t get over how humid it is… It’s pretty disgusting, the locals carry towels, micro fibre clothes around to mop up their sweat… I’m doing that tomorrow at Osaka!
She will be writing the next post. Until next time!