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Nothing much ado today. Not even a cat to be ignored by as most of today was taken up by travel or activities associated with moving from one hotel to another. Out of our temporary Yokohama home to move to our new temporary Kyoto home. Travel this time was courtesy of the Bullet Train or the Shinkansen as they call it here. In fact if you use the term Bullet Train then you just get blank looks. To be honest the train is OK and anything you would expect from a fast train service in any country, but at 40,000Yen which is 260GBP for an hour and a halfís journey, I think I would like a little bit more, but perhaps I am being picky. However if we had chosen to use our rail pass (that wasnít cheap either, not sure if that was a wise purchase) it would have take about 5 hours. Needless to say that the Shinkansen has us over a barrel. One trip to Hiroshima from here will be impossible without it, and who wants to take 5 hours to get back to Tokyo when you know then next thing youíll do is sit on a plane for 11 hours plus. Anyway, canít complain to be honest, itís what travelling is all about. Learning how not to do it, but having fun trying... to get it right.
Ah I nearly forgot in all of that complaining, this is the view from the hotel in Kusatsu, well this is what the view is like in silhouette.
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Itís been a busy old day and really not much to talk about as far as pictures are concerned. So glad this is a photoblog. To start the weather was against us, and then the lack of photo ops didnít help, hence I have a billion pictures of cats. More about that later.
It all started at the busiest junction in Tokyo. Shibuya crossing is apparently legendary, but perhaps thatís when itís not lashing it down. However itís our last day in Tokyo so we need to do everything we can to see the default Tokyo things and despite all I have been told about how mental Tokyo is, I have yet to see it. Yes itís busy but it isnít anything too bad. So after a bit of messing about, we were off to Harajuka and Takeshita Street which seems to be 100% orientated to Japanese teenage girls. Needless to say I had nothing to offer here other than my ability to pay.
So off to Nakano Broadway, a 4 story shopping centre dedicated to all sorts, thereís a bit of Manga, some clothes and a bit of tech. Weirdly enough there was a formula 1 store which I could have sat in for hours, though I suspect they would have chucked me out after and hour or two. If only I could have afforded the Ayrton Senna 1994 race suit.
In the bottom floor of Nakano Broadway was a very impressive arcade and to be honest I should had a go. They had capsules to play games that were then streamed on YouTube. Instead of doing that we spent too long trying to get a bog standard towel from a grabber machine. We won, but at what cost. I want that time back, you can keep the money.
So we then headed across town to a cat cafe. Now, there was a huge gap between what these places are vs what I thought they would be to such an extent that when we walked in I thought the cat thing was a front. Anyway itís a bit of a weird place, and perhaps the place we went to was not a typical Japanese cat cafe, but it was down a back street and not very many Japanese were in the cafe, in fact I would say that as soon as we turned up the three European looking blokes who were there made a hasty exit as soon as we arrived. Not much coffee (none) was drunk of at 1000 Yen an hour it seems to be more catisfaction from cats that really arenít bothered whether youíre there or not. In fact they would rather you were not there.
Anyway, this is a pic of the junction on the walk from the station to the cat cafe. Nothing great to report, but it seemed quite impressive as the light started to fade.
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Despite not really planning to go and see Mt Fuji at the start of the holiday, it became a thing to do after a couple of days when my daughter expressed an interest, so today was nice weather so why not. So after a bit of disagreement on how to get there and a bit of huffing, we asked a kind person at the railway and he gave us explicit instructions to how to get there whilst apologising about hoe bad his instructions were.
One thing I haver noticed about the Japanese is that they really will kill you with kindness, we noticed this when we got our bags taken up to our rooms as we were made sure we were made aware of all of the features of the room. To confirm this, we were walking into Yokohama on the first day and it was raining a bit. Not greatly as far as a Mancunian is concerned, but enough to get you a little wet. But my wife and daughter had hoods and I didnít but my daughter wasnít using hers. Anyway after a while out of the blue one man offered my wife his umbrella and wouldnít take no for an answer, finally she accepted and he ran off to stop himself from getting wet. Strange but true and exceptionally nice of him.
Anyway, back to the pic. This is of Mt Fuji, which took us about 3+ hours to get there and 3+ hours to get back. Whist we didnít get to the top (a 5 hour walk) we did get to station 5 (by bus) which was probably the wrong thing to do as it added an hour to the travelling for what appeared to be no benefit at all other than to say that we got there, which in itself is reason enough some times, however with all that travelling and current lack of sleep, Iím sitting here with the distinct feeling that I am moving. Itís worth going to and itís very impressive, but donít expect that getting really close will make a great difference, just get a bigger zoom. The nearer you get the more of a problem trees become and sort of start getting in the way.
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Today was quite a bit of trek. Starting off at the fish market in Tokyo, then heading off to the Hamarikyu Gardens, a boat to Asakusa and a walk to the temple at Senso-Ji and then the Sky Tree. In fact the day really started when we tried to get into the Imperial Palace and failed because you have to book in advance which caused us to change plan and head for the fish market... of course. If the Imperial Palace is closed to us them the second option will inevitably be a fish market.
The market give me a few chances for candid shots that I have been trying out, but the weather wasnít helping being so overcast. Still there were a few chances at the Temple which appeared to be less like a Temple and more like an overgrown tourist attraction. Still, Iím sure some people still take it seriously. This snap was from the Temple where you did stumble across women in kimonos, these two were getting a selfie taken in one of the really popular blossom trees.
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Itís cherry blossom time in Japan at the moment and so thereís plenty of chance to see loads of trees full of blossom. This is a pic of the blossom in Yokohama with the tallest building in the background which is the Yokohama Landmark Tower which happens to be a hotel. Apparently you can see Mt Fuji from some of the rooms, but then again it is 296m high.
Today was more about getting our train passes than sigh seeing after only getting a few hours sleep yesterday. What with jetlag I was awake at 4am local time which is a little odd owing to what that time would be at home. Still we had a look around the harbour and pier and so by now my feet are aching after quite a treck on foot.
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