Tokyo TalesJuly 4, 2017 in Japan
Back on the Bullet Train from Kyoto to the nation’s capital, Tokyo. From the train I caught a glimpse of Mount Fuji shrouded in mist. There was no snow or cherry blossom - it could easily have been Ben Lomond.
Well, if I thought the other Japanese cities were busy, Tokyo is in a league if its own. What a huge city, teeming with people everywhere. A city of contrasts too, with noise, neon lights, huge concrete and steel buildings, as well as quieter areas with old wooden houses, temples and shrines. A myriad of train lines and subways - and yet everything seems to run on time. People seem smartly dressed, politely waiting in line even during rush hour.
In my two and a half days here I have seen only a fraction of what is on offer. My hotel is located in the popular Asakusa area, and is adjacent to the magnificent Senso-ji temple which is thronged with people day and night. I visited Tokyo Skytree, the world’s tallest tower - the only structure to beat it is Dubai’s Burj Khalifa. It was an exhilarating ride to the top and great views, although a bit overcast. I had a pleasant morning sail down the river to the traditional garden of Hama Rikyu Onshi Teien. I enjoyed more green tea in a lovely tea house in the centre of the small lake. (Their green tea is an acquired taste, Anne - thick and foamy like pea soup).
I had an interesting free tour of the gargantuan Gotham City style Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building including its impressive Assembly Hall. I had Veritable Vera the Volunteer showing me round (on my own), and she kept laughing and saying how she wanted to see me in a skirt (I assume she meant kilt).
Most of the rest of the time was spent wandering around Shinjunku - the modern heart of Tokyo. You can find anything you need here (and plenty you don't). There are some crazy things. They have what's known as Maid Cafes where girls in costumes serve food and drink in a cute manner with their voices screeching in high pitched tones. A girl in a candy striped short maid’s outfit and feather duster tried to tempt me in, but I just told her, ‘sorry, hen, but I've already got a cleaner’. There are Butler Cafes too, where buff guys try to tempt the ladies in. (Now, I don't have a butler!). There are even Cat Cafes, offering the chance to spend quality time with up to 50 pussies without the commitment of ownership. The nation is devoted to cartoons, which are prevalent everywhere, and there are even museums dedicated to the culture of Anime and Manga.
There is a whole range of accommodation available from luxury hotels to capsule hostels. They also have what are known as Love Hotels. Instead of having to spend the whole night, you can rent a room for a ‘Rest Period’. Like Elsie in the song ‘Cabaret’ they rented by the hour. Due to the humidity I was fair wabbit, and felt like going in for a wee lie doon masel!
There are literally thousands of restaurants and you really are spoiled for choice.
Well, packing tonight for the long journey home tomorrow (although not as long as the journey to get here). Still pleased that I managed to travel overland (and sea) from Scotland to Japan by public transport - and no flights. I have been on a variety of other transport however - local train, Eurostar, Trans Siberian, tram, bus, subway, marshrutka, ferry, trolley bus and the Bullet Train, as well as Shanks’s pony! It's been the experience of a lifetime, and an adventure I will always treasure. Thanks for following my rambles - it's been great fun!Read more