We arrived on Sunday and currently taking it easy staying at Keith’s in Tokyo, finding our feet in what is a radically different place to Australia (unsurprisingly!).
The journey here was pretty smooth and featured our first airport sleeping experience at Hong Kong that was actually pretty pleasant thanks to advice from http://www.sleepinginairports.net/ (thanks John K!).
Japan is a very confusing place. I’m not sure if Japanese people are just used to the level of complication that abounds or whether it is just served up so they can have a good laugh at gaijin wandering about looking confused.
Here’s a list of things that have confused us so far:
- The rail network is ridiculously efficient and blazingly quick, but trying to find out what sort of ticket you need to get is ridiculously confusing such are the number of different fares and train operators.
- Taps. I needed instructions on how to use a tap (really!)
- The kettle. Likewise, I spent 20 minutes trying to figure out how to use a kettle that had four buttons on it. There is no need for such complication in a kettle, all you need is one button for on, surely! Ironically you’d think that a kettle would boil water but the wizzo-kettle doesn’t even do that, it merely heats the water to a steamy, if not boiling, 98 degrees.
- The shower. Granted, showers back home have had me flummoxed for a while before, but I’ve always managed to figure it out in the end. Keith had to show me how to use his, never would have figured it out for myself.
Aside from being confused a lot we’ve really enjoyed our first few days here. We’ve been out and about a bit sightseeing in Tokyo. Watching the sun set from Tokyo’s answer to the Eiffel tower was cool. Looking out over the city in any direction all you can see is grey buildings until mountains or the river get in the way of the architects, Tokyo is vast. For the most part it’s also nothing much to look at, but is punctuated with the odd respite from the endless shops and offices in the form of temples. The buddhist temple Senso-ji and the surrounding low-rise district was pretty cool. The electronics shop districts are a gaudy sight too – endless rows of them with neon signs vying for your attention to step inside and look at all the cool gadgets and cameras advertised by brightly painted signs and posters. Viv bought a fancy new camera for a bargain price in one of the shops to replace the recently deceased one that had a terminal meeting with the coral sea back in Australia.
Relative to Australia it is bloody cold here, about 12 degrees outside and as most of our clothes more summer orientated we’ve been pretty chilly, even when we do have about half of our limited wardrobes on to go outside! It should be warming up soon anyway with spring only just around the corner.
We’ll be hopefully heading on from Tokyo on Monday, assuming that all is well with our Chinese visas, to Hiroshima. In the meantime we’re enjoying the luxury of Keith’s hospitality at his dinky little flat.