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HongJapWan March 2014
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Japan May 2010
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Japan and Hong Kong May 2010 - Page 4

Day 10 - Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Edo Museum, Shopping in Ikebukuro, Cats

Today is my last day in Tokyo, and its raining.
What I really need to do is buy presents for various people, I am really bad at that, you would think this would be easy in Tokyo.

Before I go hunting for gifts I went to the Edo Museum in Ryoguku. This is a museum about the history of Tokyo and it is easily the best Museum I went to.
Inside as you can see below, are many models and full size recreations of different eras of Tokyo. The models especially were great.
There are also a heap of people dressed up who volunteer to give you a guided tour who speak great English (and I saw some speaking French and German as well). I didnt ask for one of these as there were plenty of groups using them and I was on my own. I listened in a bit in a few locations, they were very enthusiastic about whatever the subject.

After the museum, I went back to Ikebukuro, hoping to find some things to buy. I found a lunch as you can see below and generally wandered around as I do.
On the top floor of a Tokyu Hands store was a cat cuddling cafe. These are unique to Japan I think, I have seen a few of them. See below for pictures of cats.

Now I am planning what to do on my last night in Japan, remembering that its still a bit rainy. I am off to Hong Kong in the morning.

The outside of the absolutely enormous Edo Tokyo Museum.

That house thing is full sized and you can go in it, just like a regular house! Only this one is inside a concrete monolith of a building.

One of the models I mentioned. From what I can work out Tokyo has been destroyed compeltely 23 times in its history, by fire, flood, atomic bomb, godzilla, fire again, pokemon, fire, earthquake and im not sure what else.

The detail in the models is not captured particularly well in photos, its also very dark in here so I had to find things to place my camera on and set the timer, because flash photography causes eye cancer.

This is the best model. Its a recreation of the helicopter ride of the valkyries scene in Apocolypse Now, the movie where Marlon Brandon took over Japan and they sent the guy from 2 and a half men to kill him.

Just when you thought there were no more models, they put some under glass below you.

Japan has its own leaning tower of pisa. If you have been paying attention you will notice I have worn the same outfit for 10 days straight now.

Heres my lunch, from Choco-something. A ham and cheese crossaint thing, a chocolate crossaint thing, and a hot chocolate. It was not great.

I mentioned pod-world mech fps rts in games arcades before. Here is a picture of it which I failed to take last time.

Inside the games arcades are some of the more unusual vending machines, cause once you get close to a high score in hello-kitty-bash you cannot leave for days. I note they have custard filled pastry fish in a vending machine, if they had those in Australia I might be dead by now.

Studio Sega are booths where you shut yourself in and do im not sure what, but you get a disc at the end, or some photos, or something. However you must have a girl with you to go in, thats homophobic and sexist all at once.

Then I was at the cat cuddling cafe. This cats ears are too small for its fat face.

Theres about 20 or so cats 'available' at any time, but a lot of them are sleeping (until provoked). I got a sheet of paper warning me that cats are dangerous and will attack you if provoked, read on....

This is by far the coolest cat in the place. Unprovoked it attacked a small child. The cat handlers then tried to remove this cat from the public area (they keep the cats inside a little train whilst they have alone time), but this cat refused to go easy and put up a fight!

There are cats above your head in here as well, none of them jumped onto my head though.

Theres also holes in the walls for the cats to take shortcuts or sneak up on unsuspecting children. Children are the enemy of the cat, the cats seem to know this and act accordingly.

This gives you an idea of the general scene, theres 3 such rooms and its very clean and does not smell at all.

Last night in Japan

As mentioned, I am leaving tomorrow, its also still raining so I didnt do much this evening except wander around the local area. I played some video games with salary men, and got thrashed badly at some sort of robot deathmatch thing where you get a thrustmaster joystick for each hand.

So heres some observations on Japan.

1. I really only saw Tokyo and Yokohama, so lots of people will say I never saw the real Japan.
2. Tokyo is very Japanese, despite Mcdonalds and Starbucks being everywhere (this is a good thing).
3. Japanese people do not like me, yes thats a generalisation but a lot of things happened to suggest I made people uncomfortable.
4. The trains are excellent, I didnt feel uncomfortable at peak hour.
5. Food is universally good, and very reasonably priced.
6. There is way too much interesting junk food.
7. Tokyo is walker friendly, with lots of maps, public toilets, things to see along the way.
8. May is a great time to visit weather wise.
9. Vending machines are fantastic.
10. Despite everyone watching violent cartoons, playing violent games, watching bizzarre porn (rape fantasies involving school girls being the most popular) from age 5 onwards, and generally consuming every type of media western (whitey) countries try to ban, there is no crime or violence at all.

Lets leave it rounded out to an even 10.

Heres my dinner. Looks pretty healthy doesnt it? Its a bento box from Keio plaza department store. Lots of different things in it.

The above dinner was so healthy, I followed it up with 2 custard filled fried sandwhich things. I really do wish I could find somewhere to weigh myself!

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Day 11 - Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Flying to Hong Kong with Cathay Pacific

Its still raining, so time to leave Tokyo.
It was only a short walk to the limousine bus, which is then about an 80 minute drive to Narita airport. We should be grateful in Australia, especially Sydney, that airports are so close to the city.
The entire bus fogged up and you couldnt see out the windows, I dont think the driver could either but hes driven that way so many times he didnt need to see.
By the way this 80 minute drive is at 100kmph without stopping, theres not really any traffic on Tokyo Highways.

Once at the airport, check in was instant, using the first class line of Cathay, And I then went on a tour of 3 different airline lounges.
The airport is a bit tired looking, I guess it doesnt have to be so fancy as its a destination airport rather than a transit airport.

My flight left on time, plane was a bit old on the inside but it didnt fall out of the sky. The food was crappy though, see below. I did however watch Shutter Island on the in flight entertainment and enjoyed it greatly.

The limousine bus that takes you to the airport. Wherever you are in the city you will see these. They seem to go absolutely everywhere.

Check in hall at Narita. Not particularly busy.

Japan saved the best sign for last!

You get to ride on a little unmanned train to the satellite terminal. Most airports have these and I dont really get it, this one is only 100 metres long, why not just put a travelator?

Heres my first lounge meal in the Cathay Pacific lounge. Difficult to find, the only access is via a lift. The granola bar thing was delicious, so much so that I just bought some in Hong Kong.

The inside of the Cathay lounge, not a lot of people about.

My second lounge meal in the Sakura JAL lounge. Pocari Sweat for breakfast.

The lounges all have a good view of aircraft operations.

Inside the Sakura lounge, with obnoxious british guy getting drunk for breakfast.

They have these free massage chairs. Im sure youve seen them before, they hurt!

Last lounge, the qantas lounge, I can hardly eat any more by now.

Inside the qantas lounge, this one was the busiest, and there was a roped off area with some serious business men holding a meeting in it, a bunch of old Australian guys speaking fluent Japanese which was pretty impressive. By old I mean 60+ year old CEO types.

Heres my plane, Airbus A330. You might recall that one of these from the same airline, going to the same airport had 1 engine fail and the other stick on at 75% thrust forcing it to land in Hong Kong at 400kmph and bust 6 of its tyres a few weeks ago!

The meal was really dissapointing, but then this is an economy seat. A bulkhead with no one next to me but that doesnt improve the food.

Welcome to Hong Kong

Arriving in Hong Kong and again you get to ride on a little unmanned train for a few metres.
Finally I strike trouble in an airport and have to line up at immigration. The reason becomes apparent, just before I arrived the previous plane was Turkish airlines, and theres all kinds of heated visa arguments going on between turks/iraqis/kurds and whoever else connected via Turkey and the Hong Kong visa people.
Then something really funny happened, a lady came through the line and looked at passports, and moved people she thought wouldnt be any trouble (me included) to newly opened desks, leaving all the terrorists in the existing crew to argue that their photocopied passport with no photo is a valid document.

Initial impressions on my second visit to Hong Kong are that I like it a lot. I really like the mix of many cultures, which is in contrast to Japans JAPAN ONLY culture.
Hong Kong people seem a lot happier as well.
I had a delicious dinner, with vegetables! I havent had any for a long time as they dont seem to eat them in Tokyo, or if they do they are pickled or submerged in broth or something.

The chatoic scene at the immigration area of Hong Kong airport, the German couple dressed in red were hilarious, she was screaming at her husband and he was terrified.

Typical Hong Kong street.

On my walk I came across this huge open space for sports, and most people were playing football on concrete. Sounds dangerous to me.

This is where I had my dinner at a Thai restaurant.

I ordered 2 main courses as they were very cheap, the first being vegetables.

I promptly ate all the vegetables which were delicious.

Then came pad thai which was also delicious, not in the least bit oily.

I was very excited to find a full size 'Wellcome mart' supermarket nearby. I never found a full size supermarket in Japan or my last visit to Hong Kong. I spent a long time in here buying groceries (fruit, museli bars, yoghurt etc.)

The main difference is the live food section, you can pick what you would like to be killed for your dinner. The live cow area out the back had a no photos sign.

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Day 12 - Thursday, 11 May 2010

Sha Tin and Mong Kok

Weather in Hong Kong is perfect today. I was worried it would be too hot and humid but its only about 25 and I am not really noticing the humidity.
On the recommendation of someone on the internet, Sha Tin is a good place to go. After finding it on the train map I realised it was further north and on a different train line to any I have been on before, so it is a good place to go.
Once you get there you arrive in a massive complex of malls (like most of Hong Kong), but its literally on the edge of the urban area. Strangely, the main feature of the mall is snoopy world, pictorial evidence below.

Nearby is a temple of 10,000 Buddhas, I didnt plan to go here but saw signs and decided it might be off in the wilderness. It sort of was, its on the side of a big hill and up a lot of stairs. The very top was closed and also the avenue with 100's of Buddha statues seemed closed off as well, but it was still fun to walk up and look at all the people praying and burning incense.

Afterwards I went back to Mong Kok on the train and had to take some work calls, but I did have dumplings for lunch in a nice food court then wander around Mong Kok for a bit.

Shenzhen visa situation remains unclear! One of two border crossings is closed for everyone but China residents. If you get mistaken for an American applying for a visa they will detain you for hours!

This coffee is absolutely enormous. The mug is the size of a soup bowl. Came from Pacific Coffee which is the Hong Kong local chain which I quite like.

I like this picture a lot, I think it sums up Hong Kong. Big apartment buildings with stuff hanging out the windows, and a busy colorful market at street level.

The strange concept of Snoopy World at the shopping centre which joins onto Sha Tin station.

The buddha monestary has a turtle pond. Click to view bigger, its full of turtles!


Various female buddhas.

Monkeys! I didnt see any, I was on high monkey alert after seeing a monkey trap.

After seeing a turtle pond a fish pond dissapoints slightly, but the size and color variation is impressive.

Here is where I had lunch, note only chinese menu available.

Pork and chicken mince dumplings in beef broth with noodles. So basically every kind of meat in one bowl. The glass contains warm soy milk which I do not like. Soy milk is now officially bad for you and in Australia theres numerous cases of it attacking peoples bones! Go look it up, happened to some famous football players.

Inflatable world, theres a store for everything in Hong Kong.

The terrifying Durian (on the left), which smells like everything disgusting at the same time.

Big Buildings, Star Ferry

This evening I went for a big walk all the way along Hong Kong island to the star ferry terminal.
The ride across the bay is great and costs 40 cents, excellent views, I took many boring typical tourist photos to prove it, most of them culled before uploading.
On the otherside you arrive in Tsim Sha Tsui where I wandered around until I found my dinner.
Then took the train back to Causeway bay, to the supermarket where I have purchased hazelnut flavoured frothy milk tea mix. Which is very delicious.
I dont really have any funny story to tell at this point! Sorry!

Hong Kong has so many big impressive buildings that at times you dont know which way to look, except up, which means you nearly get runover by a bus, tram, train, cart, rickshaw, bike, car, truck, trolley, pram.

This is the biggest building, good lighting for my photo.

The view of Kowloon from the Star Ferry terminal.

Im on the ferry and theres another ferry.

Picture proof that I didnt just stand on the shore and say I went on a ferry.

Looking back at Hong Kong island.

OK last one, theres a junk in the photo. Iso 800 photos hand held on a bumpy ferry in the dark, so expect some noise in the shots.

Heres my dinner, from the vietnamese place in the food court. Its called Cambodian style noodles with shredded beef. At a guess id say Cambodian style means the adding of whole small peppercorn things. Quite nice and made fresh for $5

General view of the food court, this one is a little more English speaker friendly than the lunch time one. I guess the closer you are to central Hong Kong the more English friendly it is.

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There is a page 5 now! Use the contents or click the link below.


Day 1 - Sunday, 2 May 2010
  Adelaide to Tokyo
  Sydney Airport
  Sydney to Tokyo on an A330
Day 2 - Monday, 3 May 2010
  Welcome to Tokyo
  Afternoon and Evening
Day 3 - Tuesday, 4 May 2010
  Akihabara and Ueno
Day 4 - Wednesday, 5 May 2010
  Ginza, Ikebukuro
  Tokyo Metropolitan Building, Roppongi
Day 5 - Thursday, 6 May 2010
  Ueno Park, Musems and Zoo.
  Food in Kabukicho
Day 6 - Friday, 7 May 2010
  Asakusa, boat ride.
  Its Raining
Day 7 - Saturday, 8 May 2010
  Akihabara and Ginza by night
Day 8 - Sunday, 9 May 2010
  Imperial Palace, Guitar Street, Harajuku
  Dinner in Shinjuku
Day 9 - Monday, 10 May 2010
  Odaiba, Shopping in Shibuya
Day 10 - Tuesday, 11 May 2010
  Edo Museum, Shopping in Ikebukuro, Cats
  Last night in Japan
Day 11 - Wednesday, 12 May 2010
  Flying to Hong Kong with Cathay Pacific
  Welcome to Hong Kong
Day 12 - Thursday, 11 May 2010
  Sha Tin and Mong Kok
  Big Buildings, Star Ferry
Day 13 - Friday, 12 May 2010
  Dinner in Causeway Bay
Day 14 - Saturday, 13 May 2010
  Walked up the Peak
  Shopping in Mong Kok
Day 15 - Sunday, 14 May 2010
  Last night in Hong Kong
Day 16 - Monday, 15 May 2010
  Last day in Hong Kong
  Hong Kong to Sydney
Day 17 - Tuesday, 16 May 2010
  Holiday over