07 January, 2015

Domo Arigato Mr Roboto


I’m so glad to finally get around to writing this one because Japan was just so wonderful and it’s high time I shared it with you all. It was looking like we might forgo another trip to the US in order to go back and stay for longer in Japan but we have unfinished business with the US, so Japan will have to wait a little bit longer. But I must say I can’t wait to go back! 6 days just wasn’t long enough and I really fell in love with everything about it. The people, the buildings, the food, the weather – I really just loved it all!
 
After an all-day flight, a train from the airport to Yokohama and a rather late dinner, we fell into bed around midnight on the first night, eager to get out and about the next day. Unfortunately we awoke to some sad news on the home front so opted to switch our plans for the first day around for a later day in our itinerary and enjoy a more relaxed pace. We wandered around marvelling at the beautiful streets and the Yokohama waterfront. We went up to the top of Queens Tower and I just couldn’t believe the view – city as far as the eye could see! All presided over by the very majestic looking Mt Fuji.
 
In the afternoon we went to Stroker Tattoo to get tattooed (don’t worry, I’ll be sharing that with you soon in its own post). That night we headed to Shibuya to see the ‘Biggest Intersection in the World’. It was incredible! All the people and the lights! We had dinner at a tiny little gyoza set restaurant in the basement of one of the big buildings and wandered around checking out all the shops and lights and sights.

 
The next day we were a little more centred and started the day with a trip to Sensoji Temple which I must say is one of the definite highlights of the trip. We had to catch several trains to make our way out there, and after getting on yet another train we thought we may have been lost. But a lovely man overheard us talking and offered to help. He told us he was going to the temple and we could just follow him. After buying us a train ticket and refusing to accept payment, he lead us on yet another train and a short walk to the temple. Before bidding us sayonara…and heading back to the train station! The fibber! He wasn’t going there at all, but he got off his train and went all that way just to make sure we got there. See what I mean about the people? They are just so lovely!

 
Sensoji is incredible and there is just so much to see! There is a 200m stretch of road leading up to the temple that is just covered with little shops and markets. As we made our way through we picked up little knick knacks and souvenirs to bring back home. We decided to stop at a little restaurant for a drink – what was to be our first blissful experience of sake. Offered both hot and cold, I opted for cold and was glad I did after sampling a sip of someone else’s hot. Brought out in tiny ceramic jugs with their own little cup, you’d be amazed by just how much fits in one little bottle. Oh sake! We sipped away getting progressively happier until we all had a bit of the giggles going and what shall now be known as ‘sake face’ – which also looks a lot like sloth face haha Sake makes you feel lovely!
 
 
That night we headed to Harajuku to take in all the funky fashion before finishing up in Tokyo. We went to the top of Tokyo Tower and marvelled at the incredible view. We were even lucky enough to witness an amazing fireworks display (which we think was from Tokyo Disneyland) while we were at the top. Once back down the bottom, we found a little hole-in-the-wall ramen restaurant where we proceeded to have the most incredible meal – complete with confusion regarding how the ‘ticket machine’ worked. Yep, you even had to use a ticket vending machine to order your meal! We had a big day ahead of us the next day so we called it a night at a reasonable hour.

We wanted to be on our game for the next day which was the Mooneyes Hot Rod Show! Oh my goodness what an experience! I think the show and after party (the next day) needs a post of its own, so for now I’ll just let you enjoy some automotive eye candy and cover off on everything Mooneyes-related in another post. Seriously, I could go on for days!

 
The next day it was back to sightseeing and we made our way out to Kamakura to see the Big Buddha. It was such a lovely day and a really amazing experience to stand in front of the statue and gaze up into its giant proportions. A gentle giant for sure, it really did have a remarkable sense of peace surrounding it and the detail was incredible. I stood there and stared up into its eyes and it truly gave me goosebumps. The town of Kamakura itself was quite cute and the main street had this quaint air about it that was really worth exploring a little. We couldn’t stay too long though, as we had to make our way to Sankeien Gardens while we still had some daylight.

 
 
Although we got to the gardens closer to dusk, we still managed to see the gardens in all their glory. On fire with autumn colours, the grounds were breathtaking and I can only imagine what they must look like in spring during cherry blossom season. This was my first time experiencing true autumn foliage and the vibrant reds and oranges and golds was as much a novelty to me as it was spectacular. A little further down the road was Mooneyes Area 1, where the after party was to be held. As night fell we made our way there, but not before stopping for a little more sake to warm us up!

 
On our last day we jumped on the bullet train to the seaside town of Odawara. We travelled in style, getting picked up from the station by Nash in the Pussy Wagon before being taken to Pumpkin Sally’s where we met the owner, Shorty and some crazy guys from Switzerland.  We hung at the shop for a while, checking out the cars. Then we headed to’ White Castle’ to check out the gorgeous architecture and equally gorgeous view from the top. That’s a lot of stairs! Unfortunately for us it was time to head back to Tokyo Station, grab our bags and head to airport for our flight home.

 

 
Like I said, 6 nights definitely wasn’t long enough and although we crammed a whole heap in during the time that we were there, there’s just so much to see and do!

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