20191201 – Last Few Days In Tokyo; Goodbye Japan We’ll Be Back


Sunday

Senso-ji temple.

Breakfast on 40th floor. Great views but an expensive breakfast.

Set off to the Senso-ji temple. An interesting combination of the cultural, holy and spiritual complete with about 100+ stalls selling all sorts of tat that you’ve neither need nor hopefully want. It’s as busy as hell, all the world are here. But combining the cultural with the shopping cravings that Wendy has meets both our expectations.

Then it’s down to the Akihabara district for the Kanda Myojin shrine and the hustle and bustle of electric town, the centre of maid cafes and anime and manga culture. Wendy is reluctant to go to one of the maid cafés, exploits women she says – so it’s not PC, all the more reason to do it, hopefully it may offend some snowflakes. Mind you at 500 yen each for a 30 minute visit to a cafe it is a tad expensive. For that price I’d be expecting Pole dancing.

Empty barbecue.

No this isn’t a joke, Maids in the café’s will also kneel by the table to stir cream and sugar into a customer’s coffee, and some cafés even offer spoon-feeding services to customers. Recently maid cafés also offer other services such as dance performances, singing karaoke together or taking photos together on a nostalgic polaroid photo. Customers can also sometimes play rock-paper-scissors, card games, board games, and video games with maids as well as prepare arts, crafts and many more fun activities. You even can request your favorite maid to perform for you some type of fun and cute activity (P.S.: Anime character acting is very popular)!

They close the main road off so you can stroll down the road. It’s humming.

Senso-ji.

Catch the train to Tokyo station for a visit to the palace gardens. Unbelievable how many people are being herded in. We take a short cut to avoid the well behaved conforming crowds and get away with it. Then we’re in and realise how futile this really is so we try and get out of this rat trap. Really makes you realise what it must be like living in these high rise rat cages. How anyone can put up with these crowds is beyond me. I suppose the whole of Tokyo must come out at weekend to escape and supposedly enjoy the open spaces. Sadly they’re not open as they’re full of people trying to escape. It really must do something to their psyche, living like rats in a cage. I’d be demented.

Having a rest on a zebra.

Finally escape and head back to Tokyo station. Another hell hole, signposted by a lost blind man. It rightly has the accolades of the busiest and most confusing complicated station in the world.

Decide we’ll eat in tonight so go to try some bento boxes, so very Japanese. The shop is busier than a public stoning in Tehran, I think all the crowds from the palace gardens have decided to buy bento boxes.

Finally escape, search for our platform and for some reason our pasmo card has been invalidated. It’s probably as confused as I am.

Crowds the the Emperor’s palace.

Back to the hotel for sanity, peace and luxury. I take a stroll around the hotels amazing Japanese gardens to calm my frayed nerves. Have afternoon tea in our club lounge along with free chocolate cake.

Then it’s back to our suite for our bento feast, along with a well deserved bottle of Hofbrau original – how civilised is that – and more of The Crown. Very disappointing this season.

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Not really a laughing matter.


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Tea tonight.

Why do we not see the word Islam in this or any other Times article dealing with Islamic terrorist’s. Why are there no comments on any of the pieces covering the Islamic Troy attack on London Bridge. What are we not talking about the problem. Hiding it will not make the problem go away. I’m sure there are many Muslims who are disgusted with this and would like to provide their moderate views.


Monday

Wait time to get into the Nintendo store. These people must be insane I’d be terrified of joining a queue with them.

Breakfast on the 40th floor this morning, would be great views but it’s raining.

Then we set off to Shibuya for Wendy’s shopping trip. She’s obsessed with going to the Nintendo store. Get there and there’s a 180 minute queue, yes that’s not a mistake, Monday and a 180 minute wait. To top out all the store looks pretty crap, not really that much in it. What is wrong with these people. Living in rat cages must addle their brains.

Sushi on a conveyor.

As it’s pouring down we decide to have our conveyor belt sushi for lunch. Wendy’s clever idea. Really smart, order on an iPad and it’s all in English. Interesting watching the Japanese eat sushi. Unbelievable as they take a 4” long piece of sushi in their mouths all at one go. Whereas I’m struggling to cut it into a few pieces with my chopsticks. No wonder chopsticks work for them but you need a big gob.

Carols back at the hotel.

Must have RFID in the plates as all they do is scan the empty plates. £26 for 14 plates and beer, no wonder people were queuing.

Have a stroll around including yet another BicCamera. Pick up some cake and sandwiches for tea. Can you believe it they even provide a small freezer pack to keep your food cool. How cool is that.

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Our Bento boxes for tea, note the quality beer.

Metropolitan Police counterterrorism chief Neil Basu said the suspect appeared to be wearing a bomb vest but it turned out to be ‘a hoax explosive device.’

Basu said officers were keeping ‘an open mind as to any motive.’ Obviously this guy will never make the grade as a detective. Go read the quran and then perhaps you’ll get it.

For allahs sake he was a convicted terrorist who had served time in prison and was wearing an electronic tag at the time of the attack. 


Tuesday

My snack of grilled eel on a stick being prepared.

Yet another average but expensive breakfast however the Japanese garden view makes it worth every penny. Then as we approach the lift one of the staff of 5,000 presses the button for the lift for us, escort us to right lift shaft and then scrapes, bows and smiles as we enter. Perhaps she thinks we’re too old and frail to push a button and to senile to decide which door to use. I could really get used to the service level in this hotel.

Catch the subway to Tokyo station to reconnoiter the way to the Narita express. Essential with this maze the station from hell – must have been laid out by a blind woman with an etch a sketch.

Tucking in.

Then it’s onto the giant BicCamera store to see if we can get a Nintendo figure for Jasper. All this way and we spend more time shopping than seeing any thing Tokyo has to offer. No luck on the Nintendo toy.

Set off to the old fish market. A crowded maze of stalls selling every fish you can imagine, some are cooked, some are raw and some are still alive. Most are served on sticks ready to eat. Not seen any live ones on sticks though. I try some smoked eel.

Wander back to Tokyo station in the hope of finding somewhere to have a coffee and something to eat. Fat chance. Finally find some where. Then find we have to pay 140 yen to leave the central part of the station – because it has shops. How crazy is that.

Passed on this.

Head towards the palace in the hope that we can finally have a stroll around the gardens. We’ll just like yesterday we can, along with half of Tokyo and all the school children in Japan – forget it.

Head back to the hotel for Otani club lounge and afternoon tea. A sanctuary of sanity, with free tea, coffee and cake.

Wendy then does the packing. I offered to do my own but she won’t let me. Seems to think I’m irresponsible.

Quality infrastructure.

Tonight’s we treat ourselves to tea at a ninja themed restaurant. Getting like me mother, always finishing a holiday with a meal treat and bingo. Fortunately I don’t think they do bingo in Japan. Meal starts off by being greeted by a ninja jumping out of the wall. Not recommended for anyone with a weak heart. Haven’t a clue what we eat, but it was 9 courses of most of the sea creatures known to man and some unknown.

Yamato Spirit Course
1. Shuriken star-blades grissini
2. Appetizer of the season
3. Turban shell bombs with garlic butter
4. Special stone-boiled soup (Japanese bouillabaisse)
5. Seafood specialty of the day
6. Sherbet candy in flavors of the season
7. Meat specialty of the day
8. Special Sushi & Sushi Roll
9. Today’s dessert

Ninja food.

Did they bother cooking them? Who knows. I can at least confirm that none of the fish were still alive – count your blessings. It was good and entertaining, including amazing ninja magic at the table.
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Top tips to survive Japan

Wear slip on shoes, you’ll be constantly taking them on and off.

If it’s the colour of green tea, then leave it be. Avoid anything green, it’s probably made with green tea – not my cup of tea.

Walk on the left apart from some train stations.

Use google maps.

Buy a pasmo card, great on the trains and subway.

Have plenty of cash

Avoid popular places in Tokyo on a Sunday.

If it’s raining and you don’t wear glasses then invest in some welding goggles to save your eyeballs from the umbrellas.

If you’re thinking of getting perfect photos with no strangers in them, forget it. Download off the internet. There’s always a cast of 5,000 extras lurking in your view finder.

Avoid Tokyo station at all costs The station from hell, laid out by a blind woman with an etch a sketch.


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You really can’t believe that these two Communist, terrorist sympathiser might be in Downing street. If so time to seek asylum in Tehran.


Wednesday

More Ninja food. Yes, I’m still alive.

Early hurried breakfast and then the subway to our nemesis, Tokyo station, to board the Narita express to Narita airport. Just over an hour to the airport, all very comfortable. Glad we reconnoitred the platform but as luck would have it it was so easy to locate.

Of course British airways check in haven’t bothered to open yet.

Go to the IASS, priority pass lounge, what a dump. Would be better sat on a bench outsides local doss house. Is anybody stupid enough to pay for this, the cafes outside are more welcoming and comfortable, ah but you don’t get the one free drink. Oh and there’s no food.

Colourful ninja dessert.

To top it all the lounge is land side rather than Airside. Stupidity abounds.

Like a young lager lout on a booze trip to Amsterdam it’s 09:00 and I’m drinking beer already. Forgive me oh Flying Spaghetti Monster for I have egregiously sinned.

Wendy’s done the smart thing and gone shopping. She did ask me if I wanted to go. Such an enticing offer but I declined.

And they even say goodbye in style. No tips needed.

Flight was very comfortable despite the food screw up. Seats are very roomy and comfortable, but choice of films is dire. Give me Virgin Atlantic anytime.

Bretts at the airport to pick us up Thankfully tea tonight does not include fish but good old Shepards Pie. Proper food. And tomorrow night we’ll be celbrating with baked beans on toast. Enjoyed trying all the different foods, sadly missed Udon Noodles, but will be glad to get back to my junk food diet.

Go home with an overdose of omega 3 in me and like most Brits abroad still not knowing a word of the language, apart from the word for thank you – Arigatōgozaimashita, try remembering or saying that after a few beers, better stick with origami! Mind you I can recognise the Japanese symbol for Yen.
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Final thoughts on Japan

Waiting for the Narita Express.

Would I come again? Yes, absolutely but would not bother so much with Tokyo, apart from the new otani garden hotel which is amazing. Instead would explore Kyoto and other older towns with the benefit of a Japanese Rail, the trains are so convenient.

Would Wendy come again. Nah not now we’ve been.


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Narita Express.

I realise I might as well chalk pentagrams and stroke my toad as expect British airways not to screw up, again. On the way out they ran out of our chosen meal even though we’d ordered it online in advance. Yet again they’ve run out of our choice of meals despite there being only 9 people served before us. I have a major meltdown. We pay extra for premium economy and they can’t even get the meal right, so we end up eating a cattle class meal. I feel a serious complaint coming on. They log a complaint on their system and give us a bottle of champagne.