More Trips

Japan7 October 17

Taiwan4 March 17

Japan6 October 16

Europe May 16

Japan5 November 15

Korea2 March 15

Even More Trips

HongJapWan March 2014
Sichuan March 2013
Tokyo3 October 2012
China2 August 2012
Japwan March 2012
China November 2011
Korea September 2011
Taiwan March 2011
London3 June 2010
Japan May 2010
London2 February 2010
London September 2009
SE Asia December 2005

Visiting 9 cities in Japan - Oct and Nov 2016 - Page 8

Day 7 - Sunday, 6 November 2016

Lets try that again

As suggested yesterday, today I returned to the mountain I did not complete yesterday because I went the wrong way and instead removed skin from my knees on a slippery cliff / rock waterslide I invented.
The weather was still good, blue sky, but cloud developing. I sound like a weather man, what that meant was, its blue sky in Sendai, but probably cloudy on the mountain.
Still I bravely went without my jacket, deciding speed was key, and rain would not occur, however it was below freezing on the top, so I could not stay up there long.

I did not get lost, I did not even half get lost, I did not slip down anything, injure any part of me or question my own sanity, in fact it was only a 4.5 hour round trip from the trail head, if anything too short!

When I went to start the trail, there was a tiny grandma standing there looking at the sign, she asked in almost perfect English if I knew the way, well I know which way is NOT the way.
She said she would just follow me then, this is a problem, I pre drank 2 litres of various fluids including tea and coffee.... So I told her, OK but I intend to go fast!
Once I had made the 10 steps up the path from the road and REMEMBERED to turn right, it was a great view for a few hundred metres, so good I made a youtube on the way back, and then it got really steep, but safe. But thats where I waved goodbye to grandma, I said I might see her on the way down, never did, guess she turned back, or plummeted down a ravine, I will never know.

Anyway the top was in cloud, so no great photos from the top, a shame, the view might have caused me to faint. So many colors. Just to annoy me I noticed on the way down the summit was now in bright sunshine. Oh well. And also my view was obscured by all the damn colorful leaves!

This could be the last mountain of this holiday, its back to Tokyo tomorrow, and I have nothing planned, but you never know, there maybe another day trip.
Oh and also, my knees that I fell on repeatedly yesterday that hurt last night are fine, so fine I wish I had more days in Sendai to climb more of the mountains, there are at least 3 more trails in the area I have been the last 2 days.

We start with a view of the weather outside my hotel, I was right that it would get cloudy.

The Rail Children got on the train and watched the driver, I believe it is the junior trainspotting club. The picture doesnt show it but they all wear little train driver uniforms, and have the white gloves.

And now here I am, back where I was yesterday, back where I did views and ravines and mountain failure, today would be mountain success.

A path, a path! Note that it looks like a path, and it is, so pathy in its pathness. Not like an ice cliff face at all.

Good colors. The station area below, similar photo later.

The redder selection of colors for the day, oh and a path.

Redundant colors photo for today.

Every so often the path took me through pine / cedar trees, still with the colorful maples or whatever they are.

So orange. I was actually trying to snap the peak behind it, which is where I am going.

This looks fake, but really, thats the colors of these trees, they are whiter, and their leaves are kind of dead. It was great.

The path was actually quite challenging in many places. I had to put my gloves on and keep my camera in my backpack so I could use my hands to haul myself up, and then later lower myself down.

Views of other peaks.

My peak, which is just slightly taller than the others around here, if it were not, I would have been going to one of the others.

The trees became bamboo, and a muddy trail.

Very near the summit now, just getting into the cloud, and the freezing, there were a few patches of ice around which surprised me as I am wearing a long sleeve t-shirt.

The last bit of the ascent, the very low trees have a strange color to them, or lack of color perhaps. Color is word of the day.

Occasionally the sun would almost appear, often just as I got my camera out, more cloud enveloped my face.

So here is the summit marker, with cloud all around.

I hung around as long as I could freezing hoping for a view, this is the best I could do. Had the place to myself, saw 5 other people coming down on my ascent, and no one at all on my descent.

Half way down, patches of blue sky appear.

The other ridge is a different path down to a ski field, no time for that today, I had to meet the train or wait another 3 hours.

Link to Hi Resolution 3000x2000 version
In site of the station again now, I think this one wins the coveted PHOTO OF THE DAY award! Fanfare.

Same photo, but now me. Shopped myself in.

I had 30 minutes to spare before my train, so I went to the bonus bit of ravine that goes the other way from the station that I did not see yesterday, I think this is partially man made.


Feel the serenity.

Time for one of these. Omoshiroyama gets my highest rating for tourism awards as awarded by the solo lunatic traveller.
A woman was very concerned about my behaviour whilst I was taking this photo, it took 3 attempts to get the stance perfect, not sure if she was concerned with my lack of smiling or that I might walk backwards and fall in front of the train that was due.

Last photo from here, the tunnel! You cant walk down it, I went to find out of course.

The view out the train on the way back is fantastic. I had to stand the whole way again, which means I could take this bonus photo featuring a red bridge.

Damp pants

Despite being late back to my hotel again due to mountains and trains, I had to do my washing before anything else. I have been wearing the same pants for 5 days now and sliding down things in them.
Luckily, Japanese hotels have cheap washing machines, and some of them have those big drum dryers that work really effectively. Not this one. This hotel has some kind of different dryer technology, featuring units so small you need to put 1 washing machine load into 3 dryers, then after 90 minutes your clothes will be just as wet as when they went in.
I noticed someone else was frustrated that his clothes were not drying, and there are no settings on the machines, so its not like I was doing it wrong.
So eventually I decided to dry them in my room, and clothes are currently strategically placed all over everything. That still left me with the dilemma of what to wear this evening.

I had put all my clothes into the wash except a pair of shorts and a t-shirt, I did not even have any underwear or socks.
This is what hair dryers are for. I put the chair on my bed upside down, the 4 legs made a mini clothes line, then I used the pants press half open as a teepee over that, draped some towels over the whole arangement, then inserted the hair dryer into the whole setup using my shoes as support to keep the dryer pointed upwards.
This worked beautifully, and before I knew it, I was wearing semi dry pants and out the door looking for my dinner I had pre selected the night prior.

All my socks were in the wash, so I used the slippers provided in my room. My feet were filthy, the whiteness of these slippers will never return.
Also they were way too small, and I had to go down to reception for change, then up the top floor to the laundry, then back to my room, then back to the top floor twice more... All the time tripping over my useless formerly white slippers.

Here are the washing machines and dryers. My top tip, do not buy a sanyo dryer.

You might recall last night I spotted a place with a chart to choose your level of numbing and spicy. Thats what I wanted and thats what I had, and it was great.
My lips stayed numb for an hour afterwards.

I needed to buy toothpaste, no problem, theres over 9000 chemists in the covered shopping street. Japan has a whole selection of toothpaste flavours, including honey! Now I cant wait for it to be late enough to go to bed so I can clean my teeth with honey.

This is an imported foods shop. It is actually quite large and impressive, lots of cool things you would not be able to find in Japan otherwise, including Menz products from Adelaide. They also give you free coffee to try, but if I had coffee now I would not sleep. Plus I wouldnt want to spoil my honey tooth paste.

Japanese santa. Someone has replaced a fat white man with a fat Japanese man. Cultural misappropriation.

Not many buskers in Sendai, the only ones are these idiot beat boxers making drum noises with their mouths, my most detested form of busking apart from juggling.
There is a guy in Town Hall station Sydney who has been doing the same 4 bars non stop for 11 years now. Bar 4 of his beat has both a hand clap and a scream.

Inside the train station there is this information kiosk, except its awesome. You stand on the mat and it rumbles and pulsates to the sound. You then Minority Report style wave your arms about to control the screen.

My dinner did not really have enough vegetables, so I thought I should have some dessert vegetables. Family mart has provided me a pumpkin flavoured something, no doubt leftover from halloween.
Those are actually real pieces of pumpkin on the top, and the bottom layer I am quite certain was unsweetened pureed pumpkin. It would be baby food apart from a middle layer of fake cream and whatever the flavourless icing is on top.

There are currently 2 comments - click to add
adriana on 2016-11-06 said:
I'll have to remember the hair dryer tip for our trip.

mother on 2016-11-06 said:
Glad you didn't fall off the mountain. Nice leaves again. The grey tree trunks belong to birches.

Day 23 - Monday, 7 November 2016

Last stop

Now I am back in Tokyo, hark the heralds. I will be here for 3 nights. Then I will be on a plane overnight, then I will be home on Friday.
More precisely, I am in Ueno, which is very near the Tokyo station, but more of a city than the Tokyo station area itself, but less so than Shibuya and Shinjuku, its probably equal #3 for neoness with Ikebekurrooroerioro.
Thats the geography lesson, now the weather.
Perfect clear blue skies the whole way, no cloud sightings at all.
Thats the weather down, now the journey.

The train situation was actually very confusing! I suspect they did what they do in Australia when airlines dont have enough passengers and combined 2 trains.
This did not only confuse me, I saw people, Japanese people, running about asking the staff.
A train was supposed to come at 12:26, Hayabusa for Tokyo, which was slower and stopped at more stations, not my train.
Then at 12:30, same platform, another train, Yambiko, which stops at less stations was supposed to come, my train.
The info boards showed both, and then the 12:26 train disappeared from the board. Now suggesting the Yambiko was soon. Did my train overtake the other one? Everyone is looking at their tickets. A train is arriving, I squint to read the digital LED windows flying past, Hayabusa, not my train, people shuffle in the queue some more.
Except then the blue green colored train has a pink red colored train attached to it as the second half, that says Yambiko. People were audibly confused now.
I decided to get on it anyway and go to my assigned seat, train was absolutely full, and the overhead shelf thing would not fit my bag, even though every other train has done so easily.
So I wedged my bag at the back of the carriage, took my seat, had no idea what train I was on, but no one else claimed my seat and it went to Ueno so I guess they combined 2 trains and confused all of Japan.

Maybe the Hayabusa broke down and the Yambiko pushed it along?

The train was a bit later today, so I had time for a morning jog / then sprint because I ran out of time suffering from leaf hysteria, to go to the castle ruins of Sendai.
First I crossed a bridge, note the blue sky.

This is the castle moat. No fishing allowed.

Todays color. Such color, so wonderment.

The castle ruins have some impressively high walls, Not Kanazawa high, but still quite high. High enough that if you had to climb them in samurai gear you would find them high, and then people higher than you would shoot flaming arrows at you from a higher height and you would plummet to your death in the moat far below the high walls of the Sendai castle.
Todays word of the day, high. Also this castle was the main one of the Date clan.

The ruins. Surely they plan to rebuild it out of reinforced concrete?

Good view from the top, thats Sendai. At this point I questioned how much time I had left to get back to my hotel, pack my bags, and go to the station for my train.

Nice Buddha statue, had not noticed that before coming up here. Also that mountain just left of centre, thats where I was yesterday. View from there would have been good on a clear day.

Wander around the grounds a bit and make yourself late and you can find this view. I declare it, PHOTO OF THE DAY.

The Date clan had a thing for eagles, perhaps because they were aligned to the nazis.

Todays random photo from a moving train. Today I had a view, and the guy next to me slept and did not care about the blind being up. Refreshing behaviour.

Fukushima. I pressed my scrotum against the window to irradiate it so I remain sterile forever to protect the environment by not having any children. Wheres my tax rebate?

Now I am in Ueno. I like Ueno. It has alleyways like this, lots of them. Refer to my last visit, first page.

Ueno skyline, well, the station bit, the main bit is behind me from here.

Very strange choice of car for Lego to feature a set on. Very rare Caterham. Its a bit like Lego globally releasing a lego set featuring A Holden Kingswood.

And here is my Ueno hotel room. I stayed here before, liked it, so booked it again. Last time I was near death from swine flu.

Tourists outnumber locals

Tonight I went to Shibuya, because the subway line from Ueno goes straight there and the random tunnel I went down was for that line. Thats how I decide where to go.
Good choice, lots of bright lights, lots of food, and lots of tourists. I think they outnumbered locals. And thats only counting the non asian tourists, because I wasnt paying enough attention to recognise Koreans and Chinese.
Not sure I have ever noticed so many tourists before, on a Monday night too, although maybe that contributes to my observation, locals are at home after being out all weekend. Actually it wasnt that busy so perhaps thats it, but now I am just talking crap.

The subway to get there was very busy, because it was peak hour, but I got a seat and it was then too difficult to offer it to anyone else, plus everyone else seemed to be younger than me, depressing.
Anyway, the guy sitting next to me was an older guy, but I was fascinated by the game he was playing on his phone. He was somehow controlling an animated cat that was attempting to get fish out of a fish bowl, only he was not touching the screen. He was tilting the phone a little bit, perhaps triggering accelerometers, but he was more moving his head around as if the game was traking his eyes.
I had never seen that before, did not know it existed.

Later in the evening, I was back at the main crossing, and watching a group of old folks from Germany try and pose for a photo in the middle of the road. The photo taker of course never had the camera ready before they ran (stumbled and staggered) into the middle of the road, so they would stand there giving peace signs thinking they were clever old Germans, when the one old German that needed to be clever was failing terribly.
The first attempt, he did not even manage to take a photo, the second attempt I think he at least took a photo but I have no idea of what because the woman who I presume was his wife just about belted him for being useless. After the third attempt they seemed to give up, and there was a lot of anger towards the poor old guy who cant work a camera.

My final story of the evening involves terrible buskers, from somewhere in South America. They had a cardboard box for drums, an old acoustic guitar out of tune and a big scary looking girl shaking something with rice in it screaming in portugese / mexican / similar at the top of her lungs.
They were so popular with Japanese people I could not get close enough to take a proper photo. However they took a break and everyone left, so I checked the hat they were collecting money in, despite having hundreds of people watching, they only had about $2 in the hat.
Perhaps this is why buskers are rare in Japan.

Finally, stay tuned for Super Mario Kart...

Shibuya random street with all the bright lights.

And more, not too busy.

Another great store, this one is not big boss, it was G something or rather. Theres also the original Ishibashi store in Shibuya somewhere.

Some of the guitars in this photo, which are second hand, are over $10,000.

Maybe I would have tacos for dinner. I came here on my first ever Japan visit, its still there. It was terrible 10 years ago.

The worlds busiest pedestrian crossing.

Couldnt force myself to have Taco Bell, but I actually tried to go to another place I have been, there used to be a pepper lunch store under the tracks, which was the first time I ever went to pepper lunch.
In its location is now curry, so curry I had, could be the last time I have curry this trip.

I had read about this. I cannot believe they allow people to do this. Tourists dress up in onesies and drive around the busiest streets in Tokyo in go karts.
Actually I zoomed in and the faces of all the drivers appear Japanese, but I read about Australians doing this too, no license required! The go karts dont even have number plates. Drivers dont have helmets.

There are currently 3 comments - click to add
jenny on 2016-11-07 said:
I think Brian has been to all the Shibuya guitar shops and no doubt will be going again soon.

mother on 2016-11-07 said:
that would have to be the smallest bedside table I've ever seen.

mother on 2016-11-07 said:
and the name of the hotel is?

Day 24 - Tuesday, 8 November 2016


Today the weather is very glay, you may think thats me being racist, however from the wikipedia article on the awesome Japanese band Glay -

'Officially, the name Glay is a deliberate misspelling of the word gray and represents the style of music they wanted to play: a mixture between rock (black) and pop (white). Friday magazine ran an article quoting a former classmate of a band member as saying the glay spelling was a simple spelling mistake rather than a deliberate decision.'

So given today glayness, I stayed in Tokyo and walked around the city streets a lot, eating $2 vending machine sandwiches to see if I can get awesome food poisoning.
My path from Ueno was largely a familiar one, going through Akihabara to look at dolls of naked pre teen girls, followed by the Tokyo area to look at people in bad suits looking sad, followed by the imperial palace garden, to see if I could find Crown Princess Masako, long suffering from 'adjustment disorders' and apparently trying to escape the Imperial Palace by levitating above the walls using magical powers.
Actually there are lots of stories about female members of Japanese royalty that make for alarming reading.

Then I went past Budokan, where tonight the Up-Up girls are playing. This group has 7 members, each assigned a color based on their personality and whos main song is genuinely called 'YOLO'.
There was a lot of people waiting in line at 11AM for tonights show.

Then I made my way back across town in the forever glaying glayness back to my glay hotel to plan what I might do tonight and tomorrow.

There were fire engines and people in helmets charging around everywhere in Ueno when I left the hotel this morning, but it seems it was a drill, as here they all are with official press photographers getting awards and clapping for themselves.

Last night I saw super mario kart in the street, amazingly this morning I was wandering down a back alley, peered in a window as I do, and here is where they keep the karts and onesies when not in use. Pure coincidence that I went past.

Akihabaraabrabrasadaabra. Always mildly concerning whats for sale here.

The biggest Yodabashi. Good food court. Lately I seem to have less and less interest in the things contained within. Must be too old, prefer running up mountains.

An Australian guitar shop in Japan, only selling Gibson and Fender. But its not a guitar shop, its a corner of one floor of Yodabashi. So the equivalent in Japan of shitty Australian guitar store is a store that you would assume does not even sell guitars.

Main glay street of Akihabara with very glay sky. Dont need to mention what todays word of the day is.

Places now have entire floors dedicated to star wars. So in a 7 floor store we have plush toys, models of naked pre teens with guns, star wars, trading cards, animated porn, real porn, real porn with CGI enhancements and puppets, golf driving range.

I found the shrine where you take your toys to be cremated by a real shinto priest. I read about it, here it is. You get an urn with the ashes of your old toys.

Now heading into Kanda and Tokyo, big buildings, not many shops, but lots of cafes with smoking areas for salary men to sit and not work.

Todays moat. There will be more moat photos. Moat is todays secondary word of the day runner up prize. Note the Moat is framed with glayness.

You can get a free lunch in the Imperial Palace gardens.

Terrace of hedges, and plastic.

Tokyo central.

The gardens are quite bare, and look a bit plain with the glay sky of today.

Photo of the day....runner up! Palace walls, moat, glay sky.

Live at Budokan. I did this before.

Photo of the day! Just like the runner up only better angles and some color to offset the terrible glay. Nice dead lillies.

Back in Ueno, always a cool place. This is shoe store street.

And this is fresh food street, where people will hold a slice of rock melon (cantelope) and scoop the flesh out with chopsticks, then try and get wet fruit flesh into their mouths without dropping it. Why not just hold it and chomp into it?

So shiny

Before I go on, there appears to be a show on tv where they place a random cat inside a shed full of chickens and hidden cameras and then film what happens.
Cat number one paced around very slowly looking concerned.
Cat number two panicked and ran in every direction at full speed.
Cat number three sat in the middle of the shed very very still and waited....and when a chicken came close by, he smacked that chicken good.
I found it mildly interesting that the chickens did not seem to mind the cat being in the shed with them, perhaps proving that chickens are stupider than cats.
Animals were harmed in the making of this show.

Now onto the shiny, Ginza. Ginza is super shiny, and clean, and polished, and everything glows and has a shine to it.
Maybe its the fanciest shopping street in the world? To call it a street is to do it a great disservice, cause as I found last time, theres a few areas that make up Ginza.
The area around Yurakucho station has a lot of big shops, underground food streets, and an outdoor market.
It is also the place in Tokyo you to to look at other people, such as Russians, buying 10 handbags each. But there are also good shops for regular people, I went to one such shop tonight and bought lots of things, none of them for me of course, all I need is camo pants, a long sleeve t-shirt and an angry face.

Finally, its raining now, which meant I had to engage umbrella eye defence, hard when carrying shopping in the rain. I hope it stops by the morning, I have plans.

OMG so shiny, so vertical.

Part of the other Ginza area, which is probably technically Yurakucho.

I found my dinner in the basement, it said vegetable hot pot. It was, I like all the mushrooms. Seemed very healthy, broth was not oily.

This vertical store in the middle is Itoya, and is a stationery store. Actually its part of it, theres another building behind this one.
If you like stationery, go here. There were many western girls in here struggling to hide their pure joy. Also I was there looking mad as hell.

An entire level is dedicated to textas.

And another dedicated to pencils. Not pictured is pen level, fountain pen level, paper level etc. Also it has 2 cafes so you can take a break from looking at stationery and try to calm the hell down.

Heres a nice corner of Ginza, the buildings are all shiny.

A shiny new Nissan concept car. Like all concept cars, the rear doors open backwards. This never lasts through to the production vehicle because that pillar between the front and back doors is important for the strength of the car.

Heres a slightly updated version of the now ancient Nissan GTR. They really need to release a new car more than once every 10 years.

Last photo of the very shiny Ginza.

There are currently 2 comments - click to add
jenny on 2016-11-08 said:
You are very good at finding nice things to eat. What is your top budget for a meal?

adriana on 2016-11-08 said:
Nice picture of the moat on a glay day. I see it is getting more wintry in Tokyo now according to the weather forecast. Did you see the news about the 'sink' hole in Fukuoka/ Hakata from trying to build a new subway?

Now there is an unprecedented page 9.


Day 1 - Sunday, 16 October 2016
  Magpie attack!
  Landing gets you half way there
Day 2 - Monday, 17 October 2016
  Splashing about in tunnels
  Green motorbike birth place
Day 3 - Tuesday, 18 October 2016
  I saw it!
  Used and organic
Day 4 - Wednesday, 19 October 2016
  Public conveniencce
Day 5 - Thursday, 20 October 2016
  Not too early for color
  Still just a station
Day 6 - Friday, 21 October 2016
  It happened again
  City in decline
Day 7 - Saturday, 22 October 2016
  Huge hotel room
  Places to eat
Day 8 - Sunday, 23 October 2016
  Volcanic gas panic
  Famous food and plenty of parking
Day 9 - Monday, 24 October 2016
  Castles gardens and tourists
  Its a real city
Day 10 - Tuesday, 25 October 2016
  Racing the rain that never was
  NO PHOTO Bigot
Day 11 - Wednesday, 26 October 2016
  Slow train to big city
  They actually finished one
Day 12 - Thursday, 27 October 2016
  Canyon mountain
  Repeat visits
Day 13 - Friday, 28 October 2016
  New airport day
  Wheely good time
Day 14 - Saturday, 29 October 2016
  No smog yes people
  So happy to give information please sit
Day 15 - Sunday, 30 October 2016
  Terrible sign failure
  Pre halloween
Day 16 - Monday, 31 October 2016
  Baseball star
Day 17 - Tuesday, 1 November 2016
  Dam it
  Flipping my own food
Day 18 - Wednesday, 2 November 2016
  Fight for your right for a view
  Running with the buses
Day 19 - Thursday, 3 November 2016
  Dull hysteria
  The final freeze
Day 20 - Friday, 4 November 2016
  Under the sea
  Nights of the warming lights
Day 21 - Saturday, 5 November 2016
  White flag
Day 22 - Sunday, 6 November 2016
  Lets try that again
  Damp pants
Day 23 - Monday, 7 November 2016
  Last stop
  Tourists outnumber local
Day 24 - Tuesday, 8 November 2016
  So shiny
Day 25 - Wednesday, 9 November 2016
  Now they are rubbish
  Button security
Day 26 - Thursday, 10 November 2016
  For the sake of completeness