Tokyo – Need I say anymore

September 7, 2008 at 5:21 am | Posted in Me | Leave a comment
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Righty-o, Tokyo a whirlwind of lights and shopping, shopping, shopping. Of course there is the old mixed in with the new, and the crazy kids and their outfits. What a place.

Stayed: Hotel New Star in Ikebukuro

Verdit: It wasn’t that bad. We didn’t have to walk very far from the station to the hotel. It was small as they all are and really just a place to lay your head.

Sights:

Nanjatown/Ikebukuro Gyoza Stadium: That’s right a whole place dedicated to Gyoza (Japanese fried dumplings). The ‘stadium’ is located within Nanjatown which is pretty much a place for kids (or big kids in this case). There are so many stalls to choose from, and many varieties of Gyoza to choose from. Yummmy

Imperial Palace Gardens: You can’t go inside as this is the actual palace of the royal family. But you get a chance to see the outside and the beautiful sculptured gardens.

Rumik World: I was fortunate to be in Tokyo at the time when my manga hero had an exhibition on. Rumiko Takahashi is the creator of one of the only comics that I am committed to ready Ranma 1/2. I stumbled upon the exhibition of all of her works in a department store of all places. Bit of a pilgrimage for me…

Senso-ji: The place was swarming with tourists, it was boiling hot. It was very spiritual but I would probably go on another day. Did however see a Geisha there! Felt sorry for her, as it was at least 35 degrees celsius, she must have been melting.

Studio Ghibli: The museum for the wonderful world of Miyazaki. If you are familiar with Miyazaki’s films “Spirited Away”, “Howl’s Moving Castle” etc you’ll understand what sort of place Studio Ghibli is. Lots of animation cells, explore a recreation of his studio, beautiful garden and a bespoke short film created and shown in the theatre.

Harajuku: As well as the shopping, there is the kids that dress up in those outfits. When we walked around there, tourists were swarming and wanting to take photos of the kids. There were ‘minders’ who were shielding the kids. Once again I felt sorry for the kids because it was really hot. I was impressed that their make up didn’t run!

Meiji-jingu shrine: You have to walk past the goth kids, and end up walking the length of an beautiful garden till you reach the shrine. There were monks there praying, banging the big drums and we also saw a traditional wedding between a Japanese woman and a non Japanese man. It was great to see everyone dressing up in the traditional clothes.

Shibuya: The scramble crossing is what it is most famous for (apart from the shops). You can get a great view from the Starbucks which is what all the tour guides tell you to go. What they don’t tell you is that you can’t take any photos up there. The scramble crossing is definitely as crazy as what everyone say it is. The statue of Hachiko is also located there.

Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum: That’s right a ramen museum. A museum full of noodles. My heaven. Essentially the first floor is dedicated to the history of noodles. It looks at the varieties found in Japan and traces the evolution of the cup noodle. There was a cup noodle with Arnie’s face on it! The bottom floor has been designed to look like an old noodle market. With traditional ramen stalls and places for you to try the different varieties. You are expected to buy at least one bowl of noodle.

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office: This is actually a free observation deck where you can see the whole city. Unfortunately the day we went it was incredibly smoggy, therefore you couldn’t see that far out.

That’s the end of the Tokyo trip, I didn’t mention any of the department stores or the shopping because it would fill a whole blog!

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