Figured that it’s time to finish my post regarding Japan. On Monday I was suppose to take a bus tour but I arrived 2 minutes late and the next one wasn’t leaving until 2 hours later. I was also starving because I hadn’t had breakfast or lunch so I tried to get some money: no go. 6 different ATMs declined my ICA-card before I had to give up. Luckily another card worked. I decided to spend the day in Akihabara which is known as Akihabara Electric Town where they sell tons of 2nd hand electronics and most importantly: retro games. I finally got my hand on an old Nintendo 64 with box and some other games. In addition to this I also managed to come across a store that sold pre-owned camera lenses which were less than half the price of new ones (which is still a lot). Later on I met up with mom for dinner. We were suppose to eat at the restaurant where we ate the first night and won a 50% discount but apparently they were closed on Mondays which we figured out when we were standing in front of it. After looking around for a while we managed to find a cozy traditional restaurant where we could do some BBQ.
On Tuesday I got up extra early just to catch the tour bus. It was so worth it because it drive all around Tokyo and the tour took 2 hours. After that I went back to Akihabara and after running back and forth between different camera stores I decided to buy the lens I looked at the day before. After that we were out of time and started our journey home.
Final impression of Tokyo: AWESOME.
Saturday was the day in which it never stopped raining. I haven’t seen so much rain in a very long time. So we decided to stay inside. Firstly we started with the Snoopy museum which wasn’t very interesting but had some fun stuff. They also had a Snoopy themed restaurant where you could get dessert pizzas and so on. After that we visited the samurai museum which was one of my “top things to do”. It did not disappoint and they had armour and swords (katanas) showcased. After that we just walked around a bit and looked at the streets as Tokyo has ALOT of lit up signs and neon signs outside.
Sunday came with some better weather and we had decided to spent our time at the Imperial Palace. You can’t see the palace itself as the imperial family lives there but you get to see the east garden and some gates and so on. It was pretty nice. After that we went to Sensoji temple. One of my main goals with this trip was to buy a katana. Apparently there’s 3 countries in the world that doesn’t allow you to import imitation swords and of course China is one of them. Maybe next time. After that we continued to Shibuya crossing which I had been very excited to see (if you’ve seen Tokyo Drift you know it). The best view was at Starbucks and we waited a while to get seats so we could just sit and watch the traffic while we had some coffee and hot chocolate. It is suppose to be the busiest crossing in the world. Close to that I managed to find a “Book Off” which is a second hand store that sells mainly books but a lot of other things, for example retro games. I picked up two old nintendo games which I can’t even play because I don’t have a console that supports them but hopefully I’ll be able to fix that tomorrow.
My thoughts on Tokyo right now:
Awesome, everyone is so much nicer than in China (they bow to you everywhere?!?!) and it’s very clean but the downside is that it’s very expensive. The biggest downside is that our hotel room has a heated toilet seat – it feels soooooo weird.
At last we have arrived in Tokyo. Been looking forward to this for quite a while now. Getting here was a breeze, 3 hours flight, skytrain to the closest subway and then taxi to our hotel. I did however have to do the most thorough security check I’ve ever seen (they even felt on the inside of my underwear and scanned my feet without shoes with a metal detector). We arrived at the hotel at about 8 local time and decided to go out for dinner. Every single restaurant we could find was full! We decided to wait and eventually got a seat at a cozy restaurant. The people working there didn’t know a single word of english but we managed to order some food. When we were cooking it we were suppose to guess a number between 0-9 and if something happened we’d win something. Apparently we guessed on one of the numbers in the weight of the meat and we won so we got 50% off of our next roast beef there if we ever return to that restaurant. We also tried the local highball which is whisky and soda mixed.
On our way home something funny happened. We were walking and walking and suddenly my mom says “there’s the hotel!!”. We walk inside and realise that it’s the right brand but not the right location. Luckily enough they could give us a map. On our way home we get to see Tokyo tower which is basically a small eiffel tower. Tomorrow we’re going out for sightseeing and I am so ready.
An update will hopefully follow tomorrow. It feels so good being outside the great firewall of China for the first time in 3 months and being able to browse facebook and instagram without having to use workarounds. It’s the small things in life…
It’s been quite a while since I last. I’ve planned to do it several times but something else always popped up so I’m going to try to summarize what’s happened since my last post. I’ve finally gotten my passport back with my new Visa so I can go to Tokyo next weekend which I’m very excited about. I also had another visitor that arrived just after Frida left which meant I had to redo all the sightseeing again. While we had a lot of fun it’s nice to finally be able to go back to normal after 3 weeks of sightseeing. The big exception however is that we visited the Great wall at Jinshanling (see pictures above). It took 4 hours due to massive queues during labour holiday but it was so worth it. There were almost no tourists and it wasn’t restored either so it was very cool to see. Since it also zigg-zagged a lot it resulted in quite a view. The weather was absolutely sublime at a steady 33 degrees. Then it took us another 4 hours back. Still worth it though.
Then it was time for Valborg. For those that do not know Valborg is a festival celebrated at the end of April and usually results in people sitting in a park drinking alcohol. Beijing was not an exception. Young Professionals organized a get together or whatever you want to call it in Chaoyang park where we played Kubb and had a good time together. On the way to our massage Sophia and I came across a very interesting situation. At an intersection cars were waiting to turn left and the light was red. The 2nd car honked and honked and honked and then he just got out of his car and started banging on the other guys windshield. I guess he had someplace to be.
Today I had lunch in the school cantine for the first time. All the food was displayed in big trays and you had to point at whatever you wanted, no english description. It was rather interesting and I managed to get edible food which is definitely not something you can expect here in China. On my way home I managed to find a truck belonging to my employer. The work morale in China seems to be a bit lower than in Sweden and the driver had decided to take a nap. We’re also in the middle of a sandstorm so the weather is kind of bad right now with the AQI way of the charts (500 is max for the scale, it’s currently on 900…). I also had a Skype call with Fiona the other day and we browsed extremely expensive homes that we’d probably never afford but it was a lot of fun. The quality on Skype wasn’t the best though but sometimes you have to make due with what you’ve got. That’s all for me this time.