Sunday, November 04, 2007

Japan Days 9 &10: Osaka and Tokyo

On the Tuesday after Hiroshima Steph had a private lesson to teach. So I hung around Osaka and shopped. Next.

That Wednesday was the start of the only multi-day trip we went on. We stayed with my aunt's lovely friend Marie (home-cooked meals, yum) who lives just outside Tokyo. The ride on the Shinkansen from Osaka to Tokyo is three hours, and when we got there we put our stuff in a locker and went to look for a tourist information booth such as they had in all the other Japanese cities we'd been to. A tourist information booth that didn't exist. After searching anxiously for an hour (we didn't have a map or anything) Steph saw a giant bookstore and we went in there and bought a Lonely Planet guide to Tokyo.

The first touristy thing we did was go and take a river tour. It was listed as a highlight in the Lonely Planet guide and I love river tours so I was excited about it. Yeah . . . it turned out to be just about the most boring river tour I've ever been on. It wasn't particularly pretty and they only told us the name of each bridge we passed under . . . no further information. Although you do get a view of Tokyo.

Our other plan for the day was to see Shinjuku, which is supposed to be like the Times Square of Tokyo at night. So we took the subway into Shinjuku and wandered around for a bit. And you guys? Shinjuku is crazy. It's like Times Square if its size was multiplied exponentially.

We decided that we'd had a rough day--the whole not knowing where we were and not having an English map thing really stressed out--and we were going to an Irish pub for dinner. So over chicken fingers, wings, and fries we puzzled over the rules of the Rugby game they were showing. When we went outside it was mostly dark and the madness was fully evident.
A small part of Shinjuku.

Tokyo is so crazy and huge and overwhelming. I don't know how people deal with it on a day to day basis. Leaving Shinjuku we took the train out to Marie's town (really a city of about 500,000) where she picked us up at the airport. At her lovely and quiet house we drank tea and ate delicious food and had a chance to relax.

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