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Japan May 2010
London2 February 2010
London September 2009
SE Asia December 2005

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

Day 25 - Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Now they are rubbish

My last full day in Japan.
Trump won, the internet, pollsters and forecasting supercomputers are wrong everytime now, brexit, UK election, trump.
My boots are now rubbish. I dont need them anymore, they are worn through the bottom, its a sad day for my boots.

It may be a sad day for my boots, but they got one last hurrah doing a full lap on the trails around Kamakura.
I have actually been to Kamakura before, the time when I decided to go to Tokyo for a weekend because I am a crazy lunatic, but on that occasion I spent my time on the nearby island looking at cats rather than on the trails looking at the view and temples.
Getting there actually confused me, I got a train from Tokyo station, and the internet said platform 1. So I watched trains come but they werent mine. Turns out there are two platforms numbered 1 at Tokyo station, and the train to Kamakura actually leaves from where the N'EX service to the airport goes, underground, where as all the other trains leave from platforms above the bullet trains.
No wonder I was confused, why number two platforms the same number?

It is a very easy hike as there is no real elevation to be had, and where there is, there are stairs. It starts out boring, and I was wondering what the big deal was, I started near the big buddha as thats the closest point to the main station.
However, from the second part of the trail onwards it gets a lot better, and you get some great views, even of mount fuji.
The light was tricky all day, everything really looked silverish / silvery, but in some ways that made for more interesting photos.

If you plan to do the full hike, you go from Kamakura station to the beach, along the beach, up the road to the big buddha thing at Daibutsu. Then up the stairs to the trail.
From there its the boring bit and very busy bit of the trail with teams of school kids excited to be on some kind of expedition. Head to Tokeki and the Kita-Kamakura station to find the bathroom, no public urination possible on this part of the trail due to too many school kids.

From Kita-kamakura station, head along the train tracks to Kenchoji. Pay 300 yen to get in through gritted teeth, but this is the best temple of the day, and you need to pay to get up the good bit of the path...and use their bathroom.
Then the best part of the trail starts, walk all the way around the back ridge on the Tenen hiking trail to Zuisenji. Public urination here, no problem.
Finally its back along the road to the temple / shrine at the end of the main street called Tsurugaoka or similar which I went to last time.
By now I was starving, hooray for family mart and calorie mate.
The main street itself takes you back to the station, and its a fantastic street.
The train back to Tokyo station is massive, seriously the biggest train I ever saw for passengers.

So its a great full day, start at 8AM and you will be back at the hotel by 5PM if you dont stop anywhere and jog the flat bits! Overall, just on 30,000 steps.

Too many photos today, so did not waste time and space uploading train and station photos, here I am already at the beach at Kamakura, working out which way I would run when the siren goes off.

The beach, with surfers, windsurfers, and shacks full of dope smoking hippies.

More beach, bit more developed over there.

The whole area is full of these shops for tourists, fancy cafes, jazz bars. They are trying to be a little bit alternative but aiming it at people too old to actually grow a taliban beard and play the kazoo for attention.
Instead the tourist crowd is your old folks with the day pass temple tour ticket who want an ice cream and a sit down.

The stairs to the right are the start of the trail, past the big buddha. I did not pay the fine to go see the statue as there was an absolutely enormous line of people bussed in.

Very busy, but mostly flat trail.

The first section has almost no views, but there are a couple of interesting bits to run up.

A couple of view shots now from the mostly viewless section of the trail.

Bit more view.

I think this is Jochiji shrine, again you have to pay to go in, so no.

Kita-Kamakura station. The bathrooms are past the guard and the barriers, so just walk up the tracks and hop up onto the platform! Make sure no train is coming...

Another temple I went past, lets see, referring to map, its called Engakuji.

Now we get to the best temple which also has a bathroom, but only once you pay the praying fee. This one is called Kenchoji, and its where you rejoin the best part of the temple trail.

Others were taking photos inside, so I did.

There are a number of big buildings in this one, keep going up behind it for the real fun.

Some kind of gold spray painted decorative gate near a money collecting wishing well.

This garden leads to the bit with the view.

Climb up the stairs past the gargoyles.
Also, photo number 800! A new record.

Do some flag appreciation, and start to wonder why the clouds are so silver.

Something is on fire! Or perhaps they just elected the new Japanese pope and let off the white smoke?

Now we can appreciate the view, this one is a finalist for photo of the day, but not the winner!

That is Mount Fuji, partially obscured by cloud of course. Very hard to get it to appear in photos, looked nice with naked eye.

Stare past the camera, look angry.

Once over the top, you can see Yokohama. I recognise that big building as the one on top of the station, also the train went through Yokohama, also I checked on google maps, so I have a high level of confidence that the results saying Trump will win means this is Yokohama.

Around the back, you get some views of nothing much, and there are basically no people. I passed one group of old Japanese folks, they were super excited as I passed each of them in turn.

Then after quite a while, but easy flat hiking, you spot the end point, a small part of Kamakura in a valley. Theres a vending machine where the trail rejoins the road, I was very thirsty!

Now I am back at the main city temple Tsurugaoka, plus an even longer second word. Girls like to play dress up, so I photograph them when they arent looking.

Very popular with tourists here as you can see, the path to the temple has stands selling pop corn, ice cream, t-shirts, glow sticks, plush toys.

Photo of the day! Looking over the tops of the temple buildings and down the main street in the silvery glare of the day.

The temple has the Chrysanthemum festival going on like they all do. Still not as good as Nagoya last year.

Good light from this angle, not so silvery. Silver / Silverish / Silvery is word of the day.

Also a runner up for photo of the day, the gate and the main street, the light makes it more interesting than it would otherwise be.

The great thing about the main street of Kamakura is there is a pedestrian street up the middle, so you can run down it fast without having to look in any shops.

Looking back up this middle shop avoidance street the other way, I am sure the shop keepers love this concept.

There is also a proper pedestrian street running parallel back to the station, thats where you can buy things made of plastic, fans, chopsticks, your standard temple shit.

And now, removed from my feet for the last time, RIP my boots. A minutes silence please, last post. Cue the bugle.

Button security

If you have been to Japan you will know they have security guards, or at least small old men in uniform, for everything.
You can find some amusing youtubes of fat old men in vans and the show they put on to fill an Automatic Teller Machine if you wish, now for my security guard story.
Tonight I was given instructions to go and buy some buttons from a specific clothing store in Shinjuku. No problem, if it had of been some tiny place far away I might have refused.
Turns out the store is 2 buildings next door to each other, each of 7 levels, selling material for dressmakers, buttons, sewing machines etc.
Of course I climbed the stairs to the top level of the wrong building, then used the disabled bathroom as there was no mens, then walked down, then to the top level of the other building, so I was probably already attracting the interest of the little security men.
Once in the button section, I had to take photos of various buttons and send them for verification using my phone. This took quite some time, and as the only male in the entire store complex who was not the security man, I raised the suspicion of the girls whos job it was to exchange buttons for money.

Next thing I know, a little man in blue suit and hat is standing nearby glaring at me, I didnt immediately even realise he was the security guy.
Then he is talking to me, I assumed its the greeting, and started nodding like you do when you dont understand.
Finally he gets closer to me and speaks more forcefully, I just turned around and ignored him and went to the counter with my buttons and paid. He followed me all the way down 6 levels of stairs from a safe distance out of the store.

This may seem amusing, but on a previous trip to Japan in a 'no photo!' tirade, a small old security guard actually fell over once whilst yelling and running at me at the Square Enix (computer game maker) building. If he had a heart attack at that point I would still be in jail. Just ask Australian Motorbike racing legend Wayne Gardner who was just in jail for a month for being involved in a minor car crash.

The store with the buttons and high level button security, with the name shown, cause I know my mother will ask.

Between annexes of the button store, I spotted a store thats making shoes out of actual cat fur.

Buttons. Pre security arrival.

Being in Shinjuku, better take some neon photos.


My dinner is sichuan style blackened something Ramen, it had cubes of blood jelly in it I think!

Now time to wonder why so much effort goes into xmas lights.

Also, for when you simply must have bread at all times, regardless of access to bakeries, freezers, civilization, there is emergency bread in a can.

One of the strangest buildings I know of, still standing out on its own, out of place, kind of in the middle of nowhere.

And the last photo for tonight, avenue of pink lights for no apparent reason.

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mother on 2016-11-09 said:
and the highlight of this trip was?

Day 26 - Thursday, 10 November 2016

For the sake of completeness

Not sake the drink, sake as in for the purpose of, I have never completed or even started sake, for the sake of the sake.

I have a few minutes before my flight, Narita terminal 1 is not particularly exciting, I have actually been here before when I transferred in Japan on an Asiana flight on the way back from Korea.
I did remember to post my wifi puck thing before going through customs. Apparently many people dont.
This morning I wandered around to make sure I will achieve my minimum quota of steps today despite spending 14 hours on 2 x Singapore Airlines planes, I decided to go home a longer way, its 2 x 7 hours, 4 meals.
The 4 meals are an issue, I already tried to eat my remaining yen.
I dont have long before boarding, so better do the photos or something.... probably no more updates, unless delayed in Singapore.

A random Ueno street on my morning pace around Tokyo.

Decided to do a lap around the park, and look at dying lillies.

A work jogging activity went past, most of them were clearly not joggers and not pleased they need to do this to keep their jobs because the boss likes jogging.

More lillies

They like all kinds of boobs here if you read the fine print.

View from the roof.

They shunt 2 x N'EX trains together at the station, I found that surprising.

The boring Narita airport. Oh shit my plane is boarding!

Roof garden.

The view from the roof.

Running out of time, boring airport.

Its my plane, they forgot to paint the Singapore air logo on it and just put a silly star logo instead, got to run now.

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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