21.04.2012 - 23.04.2012 12 °C
The time to leave NZ shores finally arrived and we made our way, bleary eyed, to Auckland International Airport at 6am......and so the adventure begins......
The flight from Auckland to Tokyo was good. Long, but good. For me (Matt), it involved three movies, a TV series and a frustrating six rounds of virtual mini-golf. Sam was slightly smarter in her approach, mixing movies and TV shows with sleep.
Once we arrived in Tokyo (although at this point, I should specify that the airport is actually in a place called Narita – an hour out of Tokyo city), we were met by Sam’s Uncle, Aunty, Cousin and Cousin’s girlfriend – Toshi, Koneko, Takafumi and Yuki. They drove us to Tokyo Central Youth Hostel, where we would spend the night. We then went out to a local joint for dinner, before heading back to the hostel for sleep. Or at least that was what we thought. As it turns out, the Japanese put a big emphasis on bath time before you sleep at night. And while I was aware that swimwear was not a necessity in Japan, I wasn’t aware that it was in fact prohibited.
So, a naked spa with my Uncle-in-law, Cousin-in-law and a few others then off to bed. Finally.
The next day was our chance to experience Tokyo. Our hosts had very kindly organised our entire day for us. We began by taking a trip up Tokyo Tower. It gave us a chance to see just how damn big this city is. It’s massive.
After this we took a boat cruise from Tokyo Harbour to Akakusa, before visiting Sensoji Temple. Thousands of people come here every day to pray and find good fortune. Fortunately for us, our hosts weren’t too consumed by it all, so we continued on to Ueno Park and Zoo. There were a couple of street performers outside the Zoo, including one guy who completely changed my opinion on what is possible with a Diabolo. We will try upload a video if possible.
Next up was a trip to Akihabara's 'Electric City' – a huge electrical store with a gazillion floors and lights flashing everywhere, where we spent about 30 minutes trying to explain to a young guy who worked there what we meant by a New Zealand/Japanese plug adaptor.
We then went to meet Sam’s other cousin Hiro for a Japanese style Italian dinner in Shinjuku (seaweed on a teriyaki chicken pizza for example…), before heading back to the hostel. After an entire day of walking, spa time was thoroughly enjoyed. As was bedtime.
Today (23rd April) Taka and Yuki took us to Disneyland. And despite the rain, it was awesome. If it’s adrenaline rushes and extreme roller coasters you’re after, Tokyo Disneyland probably isn’t for you. But what it does boast is fantastic attention to detail on every attraction, plus a couple of sweet little interactive rides where we have to shoot things as we go round, for example. Oh, and awesome churros. Chur.
After we’d said our goodbyes to Mickey and friends, Taka drove us two and a half hours to Fuji (where Sam's family lives), where a hotel had kindly been organised for us.
Next update in a few days :-)
Points of interest:
Sam loves the Japanese style buffet breakfasts here, which consist of rice, miso, shredded cabbage, thick white toast, Japanese pickles, seaweed etc etc mmmmmmm yum!
Matt, not so much.
Mickey Mouse is a big deal in Japan. The longest wait we had at Disneyland was 55 minutes and that was to meet Mickey……
To reiterate, Tokyo is massive. And we mean really, really massive. 250 metres up Tokyo Tower and it’s still full on CBD as far as the eye can see in all directions. Sam always thought Auckland was a big city. Not any more.
Big Macs taste the same here as they do in NZ (much to Matt’s delight).