Days 1-4: Travel and Tokyo
Hello from China!
Well, I’ve been in Beijing for a day after a week in Japan and another couple days in Shanghai, but if I don’t start blogging now I might never catch up. So, a brief bit about our trip to Tokyo! I’ve got to write fast because we really need to get to bed, so here I go…we’ll see how far I get, but I’ll try my best to catch you all up.
We left Toronto on Sunday January 18th early, and despite a bunch of delays in leaving Pearson, we were able to make our connection in Chicago to get on our Japan Airlines flight. The plane was pretty underbooked, so we had three seats for the two of us, which was nice – but 13 hours is still way too long to be sitting on a plane! I think I watched bits of Mamma Mia and Wall-e a bunch of times.
We landed (thanks to the time change) in Tokyo on Monday in the afternoon and took the train from Narita to Tokyo, then the subway to what would be our home-base train station, Ikebukuro. I had a bit of a freakout in Shinjuku station when we needed to change onto a very crowded train in rush hour.
First impressions? Well, definitely disbelief that we were in Japan! There were lots of lights and lots to look at. The first night we just went to the hotel, then took a bit of a walk around the area, and tried to find vegetarian food (a theme for our trip, really).
The next morning we headed out and took another walk around, checked out the Ueno area, had soba for lunch (turning a blind eye to whatever was in the broth, probably fish) and walked around Akihabara. Akihabara (Electric City) is an area with a ton of shops selling all sorts of electronics and such.
Wednesday we were able to meet up with an awesome reader, Rhonda, who offered to take us (okay, me) yarn and crafty shopping. We went out to a cool neighbourhood whose name escapes me at the moment – at any rate, it was a really cute, interesting neigbourhood that we wouldn’t have ventured out to on our own. First stop? Avril – aka Habu!
My photos kind of suck, but I did end up with some yummy yarn – photos of that will have to wait though. Rhonda was awesome enough to look up a nearby vegetarian restaurant, which was probably the first really satisfying veggie meal of our trip. After lunch, we headed to Yuzawaya, a crazy huge department store which was all crafty stuff! They really have everything – yarn, fabric, beads, everything.
No yarn for me here, but I did pick up a bunch of Japanese books.
When we split from Rhonda, we headed out to Tokyo station to walk by the Imperial Palace and out to Ginza to check out some shops.
(Tokyo station’s under rather major renovation/restoration.)
Whew. Long post! Up next, an excursion on the bullet train!