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Tokyo Tour

Making new friends

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I did the tourist thing on the second of April. Made reservations through the counter clerk. Got a map. Here is something for travelers to remember! Japanese maps don't have north at the top. They have a system I'm sure but north isn't always at the top of the page. So my compass didn't help. Also if something is important it is printed big and not important, small. So much for scale. I bought an all day ticket for the subway. Used my camera to record my turns and stops. The ticket was 1000yen but after two mistakes it paid for itself, not to mention the aggravation of trying to buy a ticket for a specific in the kanji characters. The twenty minute ride took more than an hour. The bus terminal is attached to the Trade centre though on the map it shows as a seperate building on another block.
The tour guide called himself, Sugar an older man with a big smile, mean eyes and no information other than his spiel. There were nine people on board the bus, in typical Japanese fashion Sugar wanted us all crammed together in the first three rows off the bus. There I met Kenjimiy Akawajp. I called him Ken. Thirty seven years old, Ken had lived in Buffalo for three years going to school. His English was pretty good. His new job needed him to sharpen his language skills and find places to take European clients. He works and lives in Tokyo. So did another lady who was showing her mother around. Ken and I hit it off along with Fiona, a leggy blonde from New York who was sightseeing while her husband worked. We went to the Tokyo Tower, looks like the Eiffel tower only newer. went up the elevator packed closer than cornflakes in a box. Looked down on rooftops, took some picture, packed ourselves back in another elevator, ho hum. Next was th Imperial Palace grounds, more pictures. Mostly we walked around this big moat where the guide explained about the early construction and the Shoguns taking power, then giving it back to the Emperor's family who are apparently of Mongolian descent!. No inside the palace, no Emperor, ho hum. Next to my surprise, we drive right past my hotel to the big Temple around the corner . The Kannon Temple was cool. A tourist trap but interesting. Sugar explained about the animist native religion 'Shinto' used for daily living and Buddism used for getting into heaven later on, very practical people the Japanese. Next was the Ginza strip. The most expensive real estate on earth $300,000.00 per square meter! It looked like a cleaner New York with more people. We went into the many shops and department stores, ho hum. Fiona left at 7:00pm Ken suggested dinner. I suggested cheap. We went to the underbelly of the strip and there had a fine meal of sashimi, shiska bobs, boiled flounder in vinegar and beer. At about eleven my new friend showed me how to get back on the subway. I used my all day ticket!. Thank you Ken for a wonderful experience and the morning headache. Tomorrow I'll visit the temple again and work out how to get to the Narita Airport as I can't afford the 200,000yen for a taxi. P

Posted by patgoodeve 02.04.2009 18:53 Archived in Japan Tagged tips_and_tricks

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