Hello and Konnichiwa!
Before hand, check out the first two parts to this adventure by clicking the links here
Finally, I am in Japan and it’s dark…I’ll have to wait until morning to properly see anything I guess but I’m on Japanese soil and that’s exciting enough in my eyes! A day of travelling was worth it for the airport alone! Although I’m still exhausted from very little sleep, I feel pumped to just be here so after we check in and get past the security, we reunite with our giant cases and I remember just how heavy they were! I know they’ll be much heavier on the return journey…with all the stuff I’ll be buying over here! So much Pokemon and Anime stuff needed! Think the fanboy will come out before I know it…Emma will be buying nothing but Japanese Disney stuff so I feel justified here!
We had someone waiting outside for us with our name on a sheet of paper which was cool! He led us into a taxi and wished us a great holiday before we set off into the night. We went from Narita to Tokyo and just getting the first glimpses of Japanese houses was awesome enough! They always look so cool and in person, they look even cooler! So peaceful and I love the architecture and design of them, make the ones I see every day look boring and stale to be honest. I was quite sleepy so often drifted in and out during the journey, you can’t really blame me after that plane ride though! We travel for what was nearly an hour before we finally enter the city and our taxi driver who was very quiet up to this point starts pointing out various tourist attractions like the Rainbow Bridge and Tokyo Tower
I was still mostly asleep and he took me by surprise as he had been silent up to that moment! I’m glad he did though or I would have missed the sights! Shame it was dark or I would have taken some pictures but we were moving that fast and before long, we were pulling up to our hotel and the driver got out our luggage and wished us a happy holiday, he was really nice and that was a first relief as he was the first person we spoke to here so I was beyond nervous that I was going to say the wrong thing in Japanese but I thanked him by saying arigatou…I would learn later that it would have been more polite to say arigatou gozaimasu but you live and learn!
We check into the hotel and go to our room and what do you think was the first thing we saw once we got out of the elevator that took us to our floor…I’ll let you guess…go ahead…I’ll wait……………………………………………………………………………………….
A vending machine, I’ll be honest as we all know this is a common theme in Japan and I saw so many of these things during my stay, I got bored of them in the end because they lost their lure weirdly enough but this was the first one I saw near my room…is it that easy to get a beer? That was my first thought, does it check age? Saw hundreds of these things though, it is quite amazing how many you actually see! This hotel wasn’t that expensive to be honest but the location was good, it was near some good attractions like Tokyo Tower and it had a train station just a small walk away so a fantastic base to explore the city with.
The bed situation was one that my wife was not so happy with because they were two single beds and since we had only just got married…need I say more? She wouldn’t let me take a picture of the room because of this but let’s get to sleep so the morning can start….that and I really need some god damn sleep already!
初日 (Day One)
Wow it’s hot….I mean it’s hot! I’ve been to Tenerife and not felt this hot! Maybe those vending machines are necessary for survival in this heat. After a very interesting take of Western Breakfast by the Japanese which included Chicken Nuggets and Shrimp Pilaf as options for some reason, I could have had bacon, eggs, nuggets and shrimp pilaf in Hershey’s chocolate sauce if I had wanted too…it was a bit strange but I did have some nuggets with my bacon and shrimp pilaf…just to say that I have had that for breakfast before, weird but tasty.
We decided that we needed to go and collect our Japanese Rail Passes from the main station in Tokyo and our local station went straight to it, only problem was that we needed to pay for this single journey first and we had no idea how to do this as all the signs were in Japanese, that and when we ventured from the hotel for the first time and got a glimpse of Tokyo in daylight and it was astounding, I loved the sound of Cicadas absolutely everywhere! It was a bit soothing actually and if you focus on it long enough at night, you’ll fall asleep
Our first glimpse of a temple on the street was pretty cool and little did I know it was to be the first of MANY during my stay in Japan. We walked down the street and past our first 2 7/11’s we saw a station and walked down the stairs underground to stare at a giant map and we didn’t understand a single thing at all, only that locations had prices on them, saying how much you needed to spend to get a specific ticket for each journey but a helper spotted the obvious lost foreigners and informed us how to use the ‘subway’
It was at this point that we left because our rail passes wouldn’t work on the subway anyway so there was no point getting used to it, so we used the underground pass to walk to the other train station and after using the knowledge we had picked up from before by chance, we were able to get tickets to the Tokyo Station. I don’t think I could use dumb luck every day, the sooner we had those passes the better I thought! For anyone going to Japan, GET A RAIL PASS! Life saver! It makes everything so much easier when it comes to travelling and it’s cheaper in the long haul so get one! Don’t be stubborn, you’ll thank yourself later!
The trains were interesting to say the least but thankfully I never had to deal with this issue
Sure trains were full at some points but I was often able to find a seat and to be honest, It was easier to find a train seat on a train in TOKYO, JAPAN then it was from Leeds to Huddersfield in Britain, I never get a seat on one of those things! Seriously, on a side note, I found it amusing that it was easier to get a seat on a train in Tokyo than it was in West Yorkshire in Britain…just sounds like it should be the opposite way round but then again, the trains in Japan had more than enough carriages so everyone could get on!
Anyway, I was happy to be on a train at last! It looked amazing and it had announcements in Japanese and English so In didn’t have to worry about missing my stop because that was a massive concern of mine coming here, I could learn Japanese but I wasn’t confident on knowing what someone was saying to me so learning that all signs had English on them as well was a massive lifesaver!
Tokyo Station…WOW! It was busy, super busy I mean…we got lost immediately as we looked for the office where we could collect our passes. I had a guidebook but the place had so many passages, floors and exits it was more like a shopping center than somewhere you could board a train! In this chaos, we spend the next half an hour going the wrong way and nearly exiting the station all together at one point which was alarming as we would have had to have bought another ticket just to get in but Emma pointed out to me that we had to go past the North ticketed gate because she spotted an office….not wanting to admit that she was right, I totally pretended that I found the place myself…she wasn’t happy with that.
With our new Rail Passes, we booked our train journey to Kyoto in a weeks time which was awesome, a whole week exploring Tokyo before moving on southwards to see more of the country but with this all done and dusted, we wanted to put our new passes to the test, however before we could do that, we decided to grab a spot of lunch so headed downstairs and had a small place that looked a bit like a pub to be honest. I did want to try something Japanese but I guess after all the travelling, I was still in home mode so without thinking, I ordered a hot dog which to be honest was a great decision as it was the nicest one I’ve ever had! Tasted like effort was put into it which can’t be said for a lot of other Hot Dogs I’ve bought in the past. Everyone was friendly which was reassuring when your in a foreign land, no one was staring as far as I knew anyway!
We explored Character Street after this and it looked really cool, I recognized a lot of the businesses down here and spent a lot of time exploring and being in awe at everything I saw but for me, I only had one major reason to come down here, I had wanted to visit this place for so long so you can imagine my delight when we spotted it at the bottom of the street
I saw the Pokemon store right at the bottom and I was so happy to see that familiar logo up close, it instantly made all of the travelling to get here worth it. The whole street was amazing to be honest, saw a Snoopy place! Yet Pokemon was the main attraction for me, the atmosphere coming from it was just awesome, everyone looked excited as they went in and I didn’t see anyone leaving empty handed so that was awesome…if my case was big enough, I would have bought all the big Pokemon Plushies but I had to be careful and realistically only get one or two big ones during my stay here!
It was like my entire childhood had come flooding back by seeing this place! Pokemon was my childhood and to visit the country it was made in was just mind blowing as stuff was all over the place but I was so happy to finally find an actual Pokemon store…I rushed in, believe that! I wanted as many Pokemon as I could get to be honest and although the shop was a little bit small, it still had sooo much stuff to purchase, I could have honestly spent all day in there if I wanted to. Japan is so lucky to have such an amazing franchise on their doorstep like Pokemon and Nintendo, I was so jealous that I couldn’t come here every single day and just buy more Pokemon stuff but I wouldn’t have a lot of money if I kept doing that so maybe distance was a good thing…
A lot of transformed Ditto Pokemon as well in there which was cool but I was only able to buy a couple of things as I didn’t want to spend so much money on the first day but I got a Cyndaquil, a Rayquaza and some small Tsum Tsum like Charmander, Bulbasaur and a Mew toys so I was satisfied. I had two weeks to get more stuff and by the end of this holiday, I would be amazed that I could fit it all in my suitcase and get everything back home in one piece!
I will stop here for now because even though the day is not over yet, the next part is a real big one that will take up a lot of words so it deserves it’s own chapter! What we decided to do was try out our rail passes and as I looked at the route maps, I saw a familiar name on it and I had decided where our next destination was going to be