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    • Day 5


      July 18 in Japan ⋅ ☁️ 33 °C

      Journée à Setagaya. Nous commençons par une balade rafraîchissante à l'ombre des arbres de la vallée de Todoroki. Nous flânons jusqu'au parc Futako Tamagawa. Nous rejoignons ensuite le célèbre temple Gotokuji 🐱 l'ambiance aux alentours est paisible, authentique. Une parenthèse dans le tumulte tokyoïte. Nous clôturons cette journée en se posant dans un petit café pour déguster une pâtisserie en forme de Manekineko.Read more

    • Day 4

      Harajuku & Nakano

      July 17 in Japan ⋅ ☁️ 31 °C

      Direction Harajuku et le "Harajuku Kawaii Land Kyunkyun" 🐹🦔 où l'on caresse et nourrit cochons d'Inde, hérissons et chinchillas, dans un cadre complètement kawaii aux tons pastels. Puis pause déjeuner au Café Ralph Lauren. Virée shopping à Kiddyland pour faire le plein de mignonneries ! On file chez Fancy Pods pour se customiser des coques de téléphone et trousse 🍭💫 Et nous terminons la journée dans le quartier geek de Nakano & ses petites ruelles pleines de restaurants et izakayasRead more

    • Day 5

      On to Osaka Wednesday

      November 8, 2023 in Japan ⋅ ☀️ 61 °F

      So I remembered my phone to take a picture of my breakfast. Breakfast was livelier this morning. There were more foreigners, more Westerners. And it was louder. It’s interesting to see what they eat from the Japanese breakfast spread. They do have some toast, cornflakes and yogurt; and may eat that with fruit.
      A friend asked me before I left if I was an adventurous eater, and I said No. But I guess if you put me on a graph, I would definitely be in the Adventurous category.
      This head cold is still kicking my ass. I wake up in the mornings feeling yucky. But a good breakfast, miso soup, a hot shower and cold meds get me going. I have a giant unopened bag of throat lozenges, that I threw in my bag at the very last minute before I left. I had opened it to put some in a baggie and just took the whole thing. Thank goodness. Especially hooting, hollering and singing these last 2 nights with 75 thousand people.
      So I checked out of the hotel, and made my way to Tokyo Station where I’m catching the Hikari 513 on the Tokaido Shinkansen.
      I have never seen anything like Tokyo station. Grand Central is definitely up there, but then multiple it by 100. Between the commuters, and train is the primary way of travel here, and Tokyo Station is the Granddaddy hub in the country. WOW.
      I have my JR Rail pass, which allows me to travel for 14 days. But I upgraded to the Green car and so you have to make seat reservations separately, and that is a separate ticket. So you have 2 tickets every time you board. Your base ticket/JR pass and your reserved seat ticket. I had made this reservation yesterday afternoon. There was a long line at the vending machine where you do this, and thankfully a young man ( in his 20’s) walking everyone through it. So he starts doing for me really fast, and I wanted to learn how to do it, as I had more reservations to make. So I told him, “Wait, show me how you did that!” I was definitely feeling the age gap.
      So today, I left nice and early so I could make the rest of my train reservations and get my bento box for the journey. After you cross into the JR Shinkansen side of the train station ( where it gets super nutty, b/c now you are throwing everyone with their luggage in the mix) They have these amazing stores that sell all different packaged bento box lunches to take on the train with you. And every region has local specialties at their Jr station. It’s so cool!!
      So the most popular bento box store is called Ekibenya and I swear (this is for you Uncle Al) it reminded me of Zabar’s in NYC on a Friday evening. But imagine all the old ladies have their luggage. So I picked out one that had a seasonal autumn menu.
      So now I’m standing at the track waiting for it to arrive. Manda, there is a guy here with his wife who reminds me of Steve Bunch. He is taking the good arrival videos of the incoming trains. I need to copy him. And I managed to get a decent video of my Shinkansen as it arrived. I’ll upload it here.
      So let me back track a little bit. So I got to the station early today so I could reserve my seat on the rest of my train trips. Ask I said earlier, I watched the kid do it, so I had a pretty good idea. There were lots of people in line, but I took my time once it was my turn ( there are ticket vending machines all along the wall so the line moves fast) and made such I got when and where I wanted to go.
      The only one was an upgrade on the last stretch, on the last day before I head home, a really fast train, that takes about 5 hrs. Well, you can upgrade to Gran class, and I wanted to do it. A nice way to end the trip. But I wasn’t able to do it through the vending machine ( b/c you have to pay an up charge) so I had to go to the JR office. I stood in line, and when it was my turn, explained to the nice man ( who did speak some English) that I wanted to reserve a seat on this train in Gran class. He said, “Well, that’s extra”. I said I understood. So he gets out his price list and a calculator does some math, does some more and then says”No, that’s too much”. And puts it all away and kinda just looks at me. So said, Yes, I know. That’s fine”. So we look at each other for about 2 beats and he gets out his stuff again, does the math and shows me the calculator with a flourish. I’m ready with my exchange app (but have already decided to do it. I budgeted for it) I look at what it would be and say ” YES. That’s fine. “
      So he finished the transaction and I leave. In the way out I’m thinking. “Did he really say, No, that’s too much” ?! As if he gets to have an opinion whether or not I do this? lol, I had a good laugh. Not what I was expecting from the JR guy, but it takes all kinds.
      Anyway, so I boarded the Shinkansen and it’s really nice. Like comfy seats , no one sitting next to me, quiet, and this thing is fast! But It feels like you a literally flying. And so smooth. It is well staffed, attendants and security. I ate my bento and set my alarm for 20 minutes for a cat nap. It was neat watching the landscape change and what takes a bus overnight, we were there in 3 hrs.
      I got off at Shin-Osaka ( a JR hub outside of Osaka) Wow! All the stores and food and gifts! I did something really smart , I think. I bought another bento box before I left the JR Shinkansen section of the station. I knew when I got to my hotel I’d be too tired to go anywhere.
      So with dinner in hand, I made my way onto a local train to take me into Osaka. As I stepped on the train, this very nice Japanese woman started chatting with me. It kinds threw me, b/c Japanese are not chatty with strangers, especially in English. Turns out she is an English teacher at the University. She 1st asked me if I was from France. I loved that. It at least makes me hope that looking at me doesn’t scream American. I saw a lot of that from the tourists today. It was cool talking to her.
      So I got to my room, ate my bento box, and it’s super early, but I’m heading to bed. ❤️
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    • Day 2

      1st night in tokyo

      November 5, 2023 in Japan ⋅ 🌙 68 °F

      The flight was great. I flew Japan Airlines in premium economy and it was very nice. Noise cancelling headphones, really good food, comfortable seats and a nice woman next to me made it rather enjoyable.
      The feed you about an hour after take off, then dim the lights for 6 hrs, turn up the lights to feed everyone a snack, then dim them for another 4. They feed you again 2 hrs before you land, and would pass out coffee and hot green tea.
      I had a few things to get after we landed and before I left the airport. All of that went smoothly. The Japanese have really made an effort to be helpful getting the foreign tourists what they need and on their way. The other thing I wanted to do, was get my 2 Coldplay tickets before I left. See, you have a voucher and you turn it in to any 7-11, and they print out the tickets. It’s on of the things I e been most nervous about doing. (What if they didn’t understand me? What if it was this whole long process that I didn’t understand and I held up the line, and people started rolling there eyes, and the clearly were mean to me? )
      So my thought was, a 7-11 at the International arrival terminal would be the best chance be able to communicate clearly. I found the 7-11, have the vouchers up on my phone ( My phone will automatically translate Japanese into English for me so I had to keep switching it back, lol) showed to to the girl, she nodded, scanned them and gave me my tickets!!!! I was so excited, I literally hopped up and down clapping my hands together quietly with this HUGE smile on my face. She laughed and I was on my way.
      I told Mom before I left, the only thing I really wanted to go well on this trip was getting these tickets and seeing these shows. If it all fell apart I could just ride the trains around the country. And having to get the tickets once I got here, was super uncharted territory.
      Now I have my pocket WiFi, my train pass, my Coldplay tickets , and my SUICA card ( a card you put money on to ride subways trains buses, use at vending machines and some convenience stores). So I was ready to get into Tokyo. I packed more on this trip than usual. I have 2 24 inch and 1 18 inch suitcases with me. They are about 1/2 packed each so I have room for things I find here.
      I will be in heat in Taiwan and super cold in Way Northern Japan and wanted to take what I wanted to. Also, they have luggage shipping around country. Instead of lugging all your shit onto the train, you ship it from city to city as you travel. So I figure I can ship the 2 bigger bags and carry the 18’ around with me and repack as my needs change. People say it’s easy, reliable and very affordable. So we will see how all of that goes. But in the mean time, I had to get 3 suitcases to my hotel. I had looked up all the options and figured I could decide when I got in. I decided on a train line that was a straight shot, rapid express to my hotel’s neighborhood then a 5 minute walk. Pretty straightforward and my courage was way up because I had just gotten those tickets.
      So I look to see what train I need and it pulls up, I check the sign on the train, it says in English the line I need so I hop on and go.
      Just as I’m getting on the train, a man stops me and asks “Wait, where is it you are going?” I tell him the Ginza neighborhood and he looks at the same train sign I did and says”Ok yes good. “. So I figure I’m (literally) on the right track.
      I’m so glad of my experiences in NYC. Holding on to the strap while managing 3 roller suitcases is not for sissies. As we go, I’m noticing we stop a lot ( more like a local train) and I’m not recognizing any of the stops ahead of us. Have faith, trust the process, I tell myself. I get a seat, and able to hold onto to the suitcases easier and I pull out my phone. (This is why you HAVE to get your phone data/WIFI situation handled before you leave the airport, if you aren’t being picked up by a car)
      So I’m checking the map and we are going in the opposite direction of Tokyo. 🤦‍♀️
      I’m like ok, don’t panic, get off and go back the other way. We are in Japan, not Miami, this is a good place to blunder.
      I get off at the next station. I find a station worker/security guy and ask him “Tokyo?” He points to the other side of the tracks heading north. So I start over there. But there are stairs. Which is why I liked the straight shot train idea to my hotel neighborhood, no stairs. So I schlep 2 suitcase down the stairs and go back for the other one. As I’m about to go up the stairs on the other side, another train police man offered to help me. He takes one bag and I take the other 2. “Adventures in Japan, Caroline, You are getting your Adventure in Japan” I mutter as I’m going up the stairs.
      So once on the proper platform, I can check Google maps and see where I am and how to get where I need to go. Google maps is exceptional in Japan with train schedules and every thing is very punctual.
      So I see I’m on the right track line, I just went the wrong way. And literally in 5 minutes the limited express train is coming. And it did. And I got on. Going the right way. Phew!!
      It took longer than 5 minutes to find my hotel, but I found in 10, and I have the tiniest room I’ve ever seen and it is perfect. The bathroom is nice and it is exactly what I need.
      This morning , I’m going down to breakfast. I’m going to have an easy morning , check out the neighborhood and rest up for the 1st show tonight. I’m so excited. I can’t believe I’m going to be seeing them tonight. And tomorrow!!
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    • Day 3

      Découverte du quartier coréen

      July 16 in Japan ⋅ ☁️ 23 °C

      Découverte du quartier coréen : Shin Okubo. On fait le plein de K-Beauty puis pause déjeuner avec de la K-Food au menu 🤤
      Nous flânons jusqu'à Shinjuku puis dîner à Akasaka dans un izakaya hyper accueillant !Read more

    • Day 16

      Die letzten beiden Tage in Japan

      August 22, 2023 in Japan ⋅ ☁️ 32 °C

      Die letzten beiden Tage haben wir dann noch in Tokyo verbracht, bevor dann unser Flug am 24.08 um 0:05 ging. In erster Linie haben wir die Zeit zum ausgiebigen Shoppen genutzt😛. Wir waren dann noch in dem bekannten Manga Viertel in Tokyo (Bild 1). Danach haben wir uns noch den letzten Schrein des Urlaubs angesehen (Senso -ji Schrein) (Bild 2,3,4). Zum krönenden Abschluss sind wir noch Shibuya Sky hochgefahren. Hier hatte man einen atemberaubenden Blick auf die gesamte Stadt😍 (restlichen Bilder). Schlussendlich waren wir noch Abends Sushi essen😍🍱 Hierzu folgt noch ein letzter Bericht demnächst.Read more

    • Day 7

      Mnt. Fuji

      September 22, 2023 in Japan ⋅ ☁️ 26 °C

      Um 7.30h geht es mit dem Bus ab Ginza los. Wir mussten früh aufstehen und wir beide konnten wieder nur mäßig schlafen. Das Wetter ist durchwachsen, wir sind gespannt wie gut wir den Berg sehen können.

      Zuerst auf 2309m den Berg betrachten, plötzlich sind alle Wolken weg und wir haben freie Sicht. Ich finde es aus der Position nicht sehr spektakulär. 1776 gab es den letzten Ausbruch-2022 hatte man mit einem erneuten Ausbruch gerechnet.

      Wir fahren weiter, essen Mittag und besuchen einen japanischen Garten, wer den jap. Garten in Leverkusen kennt, braucht hier nicht her.

      Also weiter zu einem rauchenden Schlot des Vulkans, sehr beeindruckend und es stinkt nach Schwefel, es raucht und dampft. Mit der Gondel über den Berg an einen See für eine kurze Fahrt mit dem Schiff.
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    • Day 60

      Tokio (1/2)

      October 16, 2019 in Japan ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

      Nach der sonnigen Radtour mit Blick auf Mt Fuji empfängt uns Tokio einen Tag später mit 15 Grad C und Nieselregen.
      Nach unseren Erfahrungen in Beijing, Seoul und der Region Kyoto/Osaka haut uns die Größe der Metropole nicht wie befürchtet um - wie schnell wir uns doch an Mega-Städte gewöhnt haben. Einzig der im ersten Moment unübersichtliche Nahverkehr mit drei verschiedenen Betreibern (Metro, Subway, JR) die für ihre Strecken jeweils ihre eigenen Fahrkahrten und Tagestickets verkaufen, verwirrt uns anfänglich ein wenig.

      Wir haben den Eindruck in einer Art komprimiertem Japan zu sein und erkennen einiges, was wir schon vorher auf unserer Japanreise gesehen haben: die unglaublich gute Organisation des Alltäglichen, die vielen bunten Lichter der Reklamatafeln und Manga-Läden, das fantastische Essen mit viel frischem Fisch und die liebevoll gepflegten Tempel- und Palast-Anlagen.

      Andererseits verschmilzt hier die Mischung aus zukunftsgewandter internationaler Metropole und traditioneller japanischer Kultur zu einer Stimmung, die wir bisher noch nicht erlebt haben.

      Ein Highlight unseres Japan-Aufenthalts ist definitiv der Besuch der TeamLab Borderless Art Ausstellung.
      Da jeder Reisende mit seinem Handy automatisch zu einem Hobby-Fotograf wird und immer auf der Suche nach einem guten Motiv die Umgebung abscant, ist diese Kunstgallerie die einzig logische Konsequenz, und die Umsetzung phänomenal.

      Es gibt keine Übersicht, keinen wirklichen Plan und Ablauf. Vielmehr besteht das Museum aus verschiedenen Themenräumen, in denen (digitale) Kunstprojekte mit Hilfe von Lichtinstallationen und Musik umgesetzt werden.
      So erzeugen wir während unseres vierstündigen Aufenthalts aus uns selbst heraus Schmetterlinge aus Licht, die anschließend über die Wände hinweg durch die gesamte Austellung fliegen, werden in einem digitalem Blütenmeer fast ertränkt, und treffen immer wieder auf kunterbunte Tiere die durch die Räume und Flure streifen - Tiger, Nashörner, Kängerus und überdimensionierte Frösche, teils mit farbenfrohen Blumen geschmückt. Wir durchstreifen einen verspiegelten Raum voller Lampen, spazieren durch Wetter-imitierende Kordeln voller Lichter und bringen mit unseren Händen Licht dazu die Richtung zu wechseln. Eine beeindruckende Erfahrung mit unendlich vielen wunderbaren Fotos.

      Ja, Japan, die zwei Wochen waren viel zu kurz für dieses abwechslungsreiche Land, mit all den Städten und bewaldeten Bergen, mit dieser reichen Kultur und Geschichte, dieser positiven, unglaublich respektvollen, höflichen und gut organisierten Gesellschaft.

      An unserem letzten Abend in unserer lieblings Sushi-Bar sind wir uns sicher: wir müssen definitiv wiederkommen.
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    • Day 7

      Von Tokio nach Gōra

      March 21 in Japan ⋅ 🌬 10 °C

      Mit einem kleinen Erdbeben (später erfahren wir, es war Stärke 5,2 auf der Richterskala rund 40 km vor Tokio) und der entsprechenden Notfallwarnung auf dem Handy verabschiedete sich Tokio bei strahlendem Sonnenschein von uns.
      Nach Umsteigen in Odawara und Hakone, geht es nach Gōra. Diese Bahnstrecke ist ein echtes Erlebnis. Die Kurven sind so eng und der Anstieg so steil (zweit steilste Bahnstrecke der Welt), dass der Zug nur sehr kurz sein kann. Stellenweise fühlt man sich wie in der langsamen Version der wilden Maus.
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    • Day 8

      Marathon Tag

      March 3 in Japan ⋅ ☀️ 13 °C

      Heute klingelten die Wecker um 06:15 Uhr, da wir um 07:00 Uhr im Zug Richtung Startgelände sein wollten. Davor gab es für Mirco noch einen kleinen Snack bestehend aus Porridge und einem halben Apfel 🫣

      Pünktlich in Shinjuku angekommen, trennten sich unsere Wege und Helene hat sich auf den Weg zum ersten, und vorgängig besprochenen, Spot bei 9KM gemacht.

      Startschuss des Rennens war um 09:10 Uhr und Mirco überquerte die Startlinie ca. 10' später mit der Welle "F". Das Rennen fing gut an, jedoch musste man unglaublich aufpassen und zwischendurch auch die Ellbogen ausfahren, wollte man nicht über den Haufen gerennt werden 😅

      Nach ca. 45' Laufzeit haben wir uns das erste Mal gesehen und es sollen noch fünf weitere Stops folgen 🥰
      Ebenfalls abgemacht wurde die Übergabe der Energy Gels, da es mühsam wäre sieben solcher von Anfang an mitzunehmen. Auch dies hat alles geklappt und das Rennen wurde in einer neuen Bestzeit beendet 🤩🥳

      Die Stimmung an der Strecke war unglaublich, das Wetter einmalig und all die Japanischen Volunteers so unglaublich herzlich 🫶🏻

      Treffpunkt nach dem Rennen war in der Nippon Foundation Charity Lounge, wo es Essen und Getränke (🍺) gab. Wir haben uns da einen kurzen Moment verweilt bevor es zurück ins Hotel und unter die sehnlichst erwartete Dusche ging ☺️

      Für das Abendessen haben wir uns heute einen Burger Laden in Shinjuku ausgesucht, welcher Wagyu Steak Burger auf der Karte hatte 🤤
      Ein gelungener Abschluss eines erfolgreichen Tages 🤩

      Danke Spatz, das Du mich immer wieder unterstützisch bi mine Vorhabe. Z wüsse, das Du am Strasserand stahsch und mir zuejublisch und pushisch, bedüüted mr so extrem viel 🫶🏻
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    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Chiyoda-ku, Chiyoda, 千代田区, CAU

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