May 2006 - Tokyo & Europe
We arrived safely in Tokyo after being lavished by gifts on the plane. Jonno started making jokes about the onboard safety video; it was a Japanese ladies' voice describing in game show excitement the safety features of the plane. I was in a fit of laughter which is quite normal when Jonno is on a roll. Anyhow, after the video had finished we were approached by an air host who was very curious to see if we had been watching something else on the TV screen. As we settled in for the flight with our economy headphones (you know the ones, volume high and never quite feel comfortable on your head) and Jonno says, "He's the one we need to suck up to for Business Class." Shortly after the comment was made the air host returns with Business Class headphones (soundproof ones, spiffy and more importantly comfortable) and toiletries for men and women. With one look between Jonno and myself we crack up laughing at our good fortune. Fast forward a couple of hours and the air host is back (and both of us thought he was going the sneak us into Business Class, alas no) bringing us an extra pillow with a bottle of french champagne inside for us to take off the plane and enjoy in Tokyo... SCORED!
From the plane to the bus, and then to Tokyo station took 25 minutes. 25 minutes! In Sydney we would have still been waiting in the immigration queue. Unfortunately this efficiency in getting to Hotel did have a down side, our room would not be ready until 2pm which left 5 hours to burn in Tokyo... hardly a difficult task.
So we spent the next hour or so walking around Ginza (about 10 minutes from the Hotel). Most of the shops were closed so we refilled with a coffee and hot chocolate before heading to Asakusa where the Sensoji Temple can be found. To my surprise navigating the Tokyo train system was almost as if I had never left.
Tiredness kicked in soon after and neither Jonno or I wanted to tempt fate with unfamiliar food so we found ourselves at a trusty Maccas. I was forced to break my Coke-free 5 months by drinking half a medium Coke. A bit of guilt hung over that lunch.
Finally at 2.30pm after walking around for the last 5 we are able to collapse on our beds.
Before dinner we were captivated by the 8 floors of toys found at the beginning of the main street in Ginza. Dinner was at the Beer Hall in Ginza that Mum, Dad and I had been to on my first trip to Tokyo. Our first day in Tokyo was coming to a close when we found a tiny whiskey bar off the main streets of Ginza where we drank a Santory Whiskey before strolling back to the Hotel for SLEEP!
"For relaxing times, make it Suntory time."
The Other 100 Yen (Jonno's bit)
Well, I'm writing this in retrospect at 12 at night after a crazy day in a city I've never been to, but almost knew without visiting. We had a great flight as mentioned by Nat, processed with an efficiency that will never even hope to find in Sydney, we're just too laid back and self involved to deliver the kind of service you get here.
Bus to the station, we then expected to be fighting someone for a cab, only to find the cab was brought to us. Our driver, whose name we never got, spoken limited but good English, so we discussed our trip over the Golden Week period and then briefly discussed the speed limits, only seconds before the car in front of us gets pulled over by the cops and according to our highly spirited driver (he was jumping in his seat and having a great time laughing at this guy), he was about to get a fine of about $600 USD for his speeding. How crazy is that? Wonder why no one drives?
We spent the rest of the day walking or training about, joined a small group of other gaijin at a Maccas in Asakusa (nothing to write home about... but I just have... DAMN!). We returned to the hotel and crashed, got cleaned up then went out and did a spot of shopping before heading to a Beer Hall for dinner. Rounding off the night we walked the streets of a closing or closed down Ginza and window shopping the exclusive designer boutiques before having a drink at this tiny but fantastic little bar that we happened across. Bought some Hagen-Daas ice cream sandwiches and about to say goodnight to this metropolis for the first time. Ghibli tomorrow and some family to catch up with ;)
Can't wait... but now, sleep. -J x