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China4 April 18

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

Japan 2015 - Tokyo - Nagoya - Hiroshima - Shimonoseki - Fukuoka - Page 1

Day 1 - Monday, 2 November 2015

Mile high typing club

Unfortunately this journey starts with me suffering from a cold. Suffering is a term I use all too often, where others might use minor sniffles, or feeling slightly off color.
It all started Thursday, the regular evening for one of my patented epic jogs around Sydney, I had to cut it short due to unexplained exhaustion.
By the time I got back to my hotel room, I could barely move, full body stiffness that could not be unexplained.

This was a new cold symptom for me, I have had sore joints on the onset of the terrible man flu before, but never anything like this, I could barely move, but even worse I could barely lie still.
Thankfully on mid Friday morning, that seemed to pass, leaving just a feeling of light headedness, I dont seem to suffer fever or headaches. I do suffer from the unexplained need to drink gallons of anything, especially things containing aspartame, for super strength, and an accompanying need to urinate. Now we start to head into too much information territory.
I remained hopeful of recovery, because over the course of the weekend, I was... 'ok'. But come this morning, the blocked nose had started.
Actually I am still hopeful my symptoms will go away, I am running on about 2 hours sleep 4/5 of the way through a 10 hour flight after a 2.5 hour flight for which I had to get up to take at 4:30 in the morning.
Perhaps tomorrow I will be magically cured. Or perhaps I will be paitent zero in the forthcoming HxNx pandemic.

With nothing much to do on the flight, and no time to type anything in airports, I decided to type now, whilst sitting on the plane. This surely is the underlying factor in why what is typed here could be politely termed as long winded, or perhaps harshly labelled as pointless drivel.
My first flight was Adelaide to Brisbane, on Qantas. I had flown the same leg only 2 weeks prior, with Virgin, but that was delayed all day, much to my joy as a day trapped in the airport is like a paid holiday!
Todays flight to Brisbane was not delayed, and a good thing to, as the connection time is tight.

I dont remember doing much of anything on the flight, ate some muesli, read the newspaper, and noted how empty the plane was and how moronic the 'news' is.
Once on the ground in Brisbane, it was a race to get off to urinate, followed by the almost traditional bus service we have constructed into the airport experience in Australia to take you from one terminal to the other.
At least the bus, which runs to no apparent schedule, came straight away! This left me plenty of time... to wait in the customs line.
Our brave front line defence force against brown people, now called OPERATION BORDER FORCE (not even joking) had 2 particularly skilled land whales checking passports for a line of over 9000 people.
This took 45 minutes, and left me very little time to have any food or drink or urinate before boarding.

I need not have worried though, as once boarded, 15 minutes early for an on time departure, an anoouncement was made that some people were stuck in a lift and we would have to wait for them.
I was sat near wear our inappropriately conversing trolley dollys (stewardesses) were standing around talking about hand bags and airport suicide - someone recently fell to their death from the escalator hence they are closed and you have to use the lift.
They got on the phone and found out the real story, some old dears had got on the lift and gone up not down, ended up some place else, gone through an emergency exit and out into the street and were lost.
Of course this means going through security again, but I think someone located them and ushered them through, they had wine and people to fuss over them once they arrived, stressed.

In great news, my plane is nearly empty, at most 25% full. This is a new service, or a reinstated service, after 15 years, and in its first month of operation.
When I selected these flights they were available every single day of the week on frequent flyer points which is quite unusual.

The flight itself is now 90 minutes from landing, and so far I have not really watched anything, just read pdf files on how to assemble a Japanese submarine for profit and made frequent trips to the urination zone and drinking fountain. The guy sitting next to the bathroom door thinks I am up to no good.

There have not really been many people to observe, old people continue to be frustrated at touch screens, babies continue to enjoy disturbing others, and Asian peoople continue to sleep in twisted and contorted positions for a solid 10 hours.

I will now commence the bore onslaught with the usual array of airport photos, 100% interchangeable with those from previous trips.

The worst one of these 4:30AM photos I have ever taken. A car went past and lit me up like an out of focus deer just as the shutter fired, enough to show my wet t-shirt and awesome hiking boots which are making a return from their succesful tour of duty in Korea in March.

My plane to Brisbane on the ground in Adelaide, still quite dark, but on time.

The bus service to go between terminals. At least these days its free. Building the terminals next to each other and connecting via pedestrian walkway is the stuff of future cities only, like Melbourne and Adelaide, but not Brisbane, Sydney or Perth.

All I had time to eat before boarding the flight to Narita airport, which is a great distance from Tokyo proper.

The international airport in Brisbane is actually very nice and modern. Lots of flights to Papua New Guinea, The Solomon Islands, and numerous other locations famous for unusual beheadings.

My plane on the ground in Brisbane, in the sunshine. An Airbus A330, people used to be frightened of these, but now its the Boeing 777 that keeps being sucked into an alien vortex.

I had this whole block of seats to myself, so I removed my pants and stretched out. And was promptly told to put my pants back on.

This is a new interior for Qantas, with new seats, and much bigger and better in seat entertainment. Its so modern old people cannot cope and spend 10 hours yelling at it.

My first of 3 meals, and the only one I accepted. Even this was a bit weird, a chicken and qinoa salad, but huge pieces of chicken with the skin left on. Theres also chocolate mousse.
Later they provided a weiss bar, then sliders and a hot dog they called a dog roll or something. I declined.

And finally for now, here I am typing this, in the dark, semi lucid, with the sniffles.

Mobile mucus dispersion unit

Once the plane landed, I started a continuous sneezing fit for the next few hours as I made my way to my hotel after navigating the airport to find an ATM and collect my WiFi Puck thing.
Ignoring all Japanese etiquette, I made sure to aim my sneezes into the air in multiple directions. With my short, pig like nose, the distance and volume of pathogen I can produce is truly amazing.

I then got my ticket for the Kesei Skyliner and found a vending machine for a drink. I have 3 different Japanese transport passes, they now all work everywhere, and to my surprise they all have at least $5 value on them, so I used one to buy a drink.
The train ride into town was fast and goes straight to the station where my hotel is, Ueno. But it seemed to take forever despite being 36 minutes.
Once off the train, I walked the wrong way for a while and became delusional, more so, I really just needed to get to my hotel and fall over.

The aforementioned WiFi puck, my constant companion for the next few weeks.

The outside of the Kesei Skyliner, used only by foreigners I think, expensive but is the fastest option so I took it along with a few Australians and Americans.

This is my room, all of it. Probably equal smallest room I have ever had. I think my rooms get better from here for the rest of the trip.
Once I have carefully arranged everything its perfectly comfortable for one person to sit at the desk, with one suitcase.
The girl at the desk made doubly sure I was staying in this room on my own, as I think its illegal to sell to more than one person.

More of the room. Internet works great, tv seems to have no English channels, not even NHK world.

Bathroom is nearly as big as the main room, one bonus is that the shower isnt over the toilet. Thats not uncommon in some places.

There are currently 4 comments - click to add

mother on 2015-11-02 said:

1st 5 photos still of mountain climbing in Korea. Are you feeling any better yet? get Japanese version of Codral as instructed with language in previous message if not. Very potent.

David on 2015-11-02 said:

The pictures are now finally fixed. Not sure what happened there.

mother on 2015-11-02 said:

YOur 1st 5 photos are still of korea. Go to the chemist and ask for some Kaze no kusuri and say which bits you need it for. eg runny nose = hana no mizu (literally nose water) Nodo ga itai = sore throat or seki = cough.
You will feel better in 24 hours guaranteed.

mother on 2015-11-02 said:

Brisbane has been taken over by the Koreans!

Day 2 - Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Still alive

Rumors of my death due to man flu have been slightly exaggerated, instead I remain alive, but near death, at least for the time being.
Today is also a national holiday, for culture day, which apparently is a more recent invention of celebrating the emperors birthday by having art competitions and giving people the day off.
I suspect the timing of it being culture day and not emperors birthday is to do with world war 2, however the emperor still hands out an award to whoever has advanced culture the most in the last year. This could be by artwork, science, research or apparently, moon landing.

This is the outside of my hotel, complete with noisy highway overpass out the front, and a mass of various elevated train lines out the back.
Somehow my room is silent.
Todays sky, shockingly blue. The temperature is too warm for pants, I had to change into shorts. I felt conspicuous as no Japanese person will ever wear shorts even on a 40 degree day.
I saw some other tourists in shorts though. Theres a lot of tourists here around Ueno.

My breakfast was a cinnabon/bun whatever you want to call it. The most calorifically dense product known to mankind.

Small boss man insisted on a public shoulder rub to start the morning off. This shows passers by you are a man who deserves respect, despite your near midget size.

At this time of day, it is very quiet. Despite having been here on previous trips, I have never really explored past the main station street. There are lots of closed off pedestrian style streets.

The only real signs of life were the lines outside of every pachinko parlour waiting for the 10AM open. You cant even win money on these things, yet still they insist on losing all their money watching metal balls fall into holes. If you are lucky you might get a free shoulder massage whilst you urinate (yes, thats a real thing that happens in these places).

Theres actually no smog today, I can see mountains on the horizon. However I suspect this sign is one store upset with the smoke next door produces as it appears to be an Izakaya barbecue place.

Random shot of impressively sized Pachinko Parlour. They are everywhere around the Ueno station

The Ueno park is large, and features many museums, a zoo famous for having only dead pandas, and this lake that has been over taken by noxious lillies.
Some people are setting up tripods to take photos of the lillies wilting.

There was also the rare sighting of a pigeon to photograph.

And also delicious carp. They seem to enjoy resting just out of the water.

Another dead panda in Ueno.

Still before lunch and the place is now completely packed out. I came back a bit later to find lunch but everywhere had long lines.
A familiar story for me on my various overseas adventures.

To keep hunger at bay, I settled for pineapple on a stick, which was actually great. The jar it came out of was enormous.

And then some time later, I settled on a ham salad roll for lunch, with a small piece of cake. Its actually real ham too, not just 'ham taste'.
Also, at the time of writing, ham definitely gives you cancer, the world health organisation confirmed.
NASA also confirmed that the Antarctic ice shelf is growing, and they have no idea why.
Despite all this, the roll was delicious, so crispy the bread cut the inside of my mouth. Now I am tasting blood.
So its actually bread that will kill us all, not ham or global warming.

Quietly confident

I think I am starting to feel better.
This must be due to the amazing healing power of pineapple on a stick consumed out the front of a temple next door to a relaxation massage parlour across the alleyway from a pachinko slot machine hall.
Theres no other legitimate explanation.
What I know for certain is that I have not had a single sneezing fit all evening and have not felt the urge to fall over, scratch out my own eyes or punch myself in my previously sore joints for hours.
I also drank 2 litres of iced green tea and I think its still inside of me hours later. I can really hold my tea.

This evening I went to Ginza and surrounds and wondered where everyone was. Lots of places were shut. I kind of assumed that being a holiday people would be out and about in the evening.
Ginza was mainly tourists, the big shops were open but many of the basement eating places were closed.
Whilst wandering around I noticed painted on the ground warnings about walking whilst using a phone, and others banning walking whilst smoking. This would be prophetic.
Soon after I was walking into a quiet underground spot looking for food when a well dressed man in front of me, transfixed by candy crush or similar, took a terrifying tumble down 3 stairs. It looked like it hurt and he laid there in pain.
I raced over and extended a hand and enquired if he was ok, in English. This forced him to open his eyes, see me, and leap to his feet, brush himself off and stride away as if he were fine without giving me another look. I guess I have mystical healing powers.

Ginza is much more than just the main street, if watches and alligator shoes are not your thing, then head west towards the bullet train station at Tokyo, where you can find a lot more shops more suited to a poor Australian tourist.

Ginza main street. Has lots of new buildings compared to my last visit, and a few under construction. Cranes in Tokyo are a rare site, perhaps Shinzo Abe is an economic genius after all?

This is uniqlo. Their stores in Sydney and Melbourne seem huge but are tiny compared to this one. They are famous for having plain boring cheap clothes in lots of bland colors.
They already struggle to fill their Australian stores, so whats going to fill all these floors of Uniqlo? Theres literally one floor devoted to a basic plain tshirt, in 200 colors. Another floor is just chinos.

I think I ate here on my last visit, its all restaurants, that are all closed. Near here is where I cured a Japanese mans broken leg.

Apparently this dog is very interesting. I did not see a single female of any nationality pass without taking a photo. So I took one too.

Another new building, interesting glass. By interesting I mean I find it interesting.

This sign speaks for itself. Go in there and ask them if this is the food mart?

I have been here before, I think its called the Tokyo forum, some kind of exhibition centre. Generally they feature calligraphy, silk, or calligraphy on silk.

And finally, back in Ueno, the dinner I wanted. Curry beef, with lots of Ginger which is 'good for the healthy'.

There are currently 6 comments - click to add

Phil on 2015-11-08 said:

You have a wide and diverse following.

aunty Yvonne on 2015-11-03 said:

Also your aunty reads this.

mother on 2015-11-03 said:

construction for Tokyo olympics in 2020

David on 2015-11-03 said:

Hi Krystle, I am thrilled someone besides my mother reads this...

mother on 2015-11-03 said:

glad to hear you are feeling a bit better. The excessive urinating was probably from the pill I gave you. Headache stuff does that the next day. What is the name of your hotel?

Krystle on 2015-11-03 said:

Your blog is entertaining. More photos when you feel better pls.

Day 3 - Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Electric cubes and gap toothed models

Today I went to the Tokyo International motor show.
I did not book my holiday to coincide with this, these days I am the proud owner of a bus pass and a bicycle, however I thought it might be quite the spectacle and feature robots playing soccer or similar.
Climbing a mountain would have been my number one preference, however I am not quite back to mountain scaling fitness yet, despite drinking 2 litres of Pepsi STRONG ZERO COLA per day.

The motor show was largely Japanese brands, with a few European thrown in, but the vast majority of the display focused on electric or hydrogen cars, cube shaped, with blue lights to show you that they run on electricity.
All of which were presented by models who for whatever reason are uglier than the average girl in the street, or perhaps I dont understand what Japanese business men are looking for in a perving opportunity.
I can assure you that whenever there were girls to be seen, no matter how ugly, the business men would run in panic to get the best photo spot.
Cars with no girls, no people.
Girls doing a half assed dancing routine and miming lyrics about hopes and dreams equated to a dangerous crush of excited salary men.

I took a lot of photos too, so prepare to be horrifically bored.

The show is held at the Tokyo Big Eye. Which is an exhibition centre of 3 halves.
I had read that you can buy tickets at the door.

Wheres the door then? Is this the line for people with tickets or without? Is this a line at all?
I retreated to a convenience store where the girl serving people held up a ticket guessing thats what I wanted.
I went to rejoin the massive line, but it was gone, 5 minutes later, very efficient.

Unlike Adelaide, Tokyo has not banned food trucks for being too popular with the tax paying public.

Girls were dancing here, to herald the arrival of the Mazda RX9, the song featured the words zoom zoom prominently.

Once the dancing stopped I was able to get to the front. This is only a concept, the real thing wont look like this.

The real thing probably wont ever be released due to fuel consumption issues. The rotary engine is designed to consume so much fuel it needs to burn oil at the same time to keep it spinning.

Its the world premiere of the cube shaped electric car! All the car makers must be accusing each other of copying them as every single maker has a cube shaped electric car on offer.

Alternatively you can get an electric SUV.

Nissan decided to not even bother making a concept car and presented this cardboard model instead.

I think its a school project.

Even Porsche has girls standing awkwardly.

No girl on the actual Porsche worth seeing, so no people.

Again, this is the world premiere of the Carrera 4 with the small turbo engine. No girls, no people. Of course it looks exactly like every other Porsche ever made.

Here is the downfall of the European economy. A Volkswagen diesel motor. This software debacle is the reason Germany stopped accepting Syrian refugees, their economy can no longer afford it.

Red bull no longer have a Formula 1 team because the other teams that make their own engines refuse to give them an engine to allow Red Bull to beat them. So Red Bull can sponsor this Volkswagen in the drift world series b grade cup or similar instead.

Audi have decided to make their top of the line R8 look exactly like a base model A4. Because any kind of originality might confuse consumers.

Not sure if this is real or plywood.

Indiana Jane wanted to sell me a Jeep.

A consistent feature across the show was a new breed of golf buggy transporting fruit. Not even joking.
Along with the fruit transport, was wheelchair people transport options. Everyone had them. All the big makers also had wheelchair concepts on display.
I think some of these concepts were aimed at people too lazy to walk, even if they are able.

A huge amount of space was devoted to this with no explanation. Perhaps its the forthcoming Apple car.

Apparently this thing is designed to fire you out the front in case you cant get in or out the side of a car.

Beer time. Asahi. Except it has 0.000% alcohol. It tastes a lot like my socks do after I have worn them for 5 days straight.

The Japanese version of the RAA has decided to put glasses on their models and make them do the most ridiculous dance of all! I had to watch it twice, I felt bad for the models.

An Indian supplier of bolts or spark plugs or similar had a stand, so dressed their Japanese girls in Sari's. This confused the models and the photographers.

Homer Simpson is designing cars again.

There was a 4 hour wait to have a conversation with the micro robot in the foreground of this photo.

Another cube, this time a bus sized cube.

Another electric car, with blue electricity highlights.

Nice diffuser.

This is the BMW M4 CSL, on show for the first time, no crowds though.

Japanese outboard motor maker Yanmar had a few concept cars of their own. Some painted in Gulf colors to get some attention.

No idea why, but British track car maker Radical had a stand. Never seen one before.

Honda cars are now so disappointing, that they have a display featuring electric generators instead, in various fashion colors.

This is the Accura NSX, its been coming each year for the last 10.

It now looks too plain for a car thats still a couple of years away.

People were throwing things at this, the shame of all Japan (Honda)

The Mercedes AMG GT looks smaller than I thought it would. However the length of the bonnet makes it look like Pinnochio.

Not sure if real or fake. They should leave stone chips and bits of rubber all over them if they are real.

These guys are sampling the latest in bus seat technology.

I was hoping the claw on the truck might crush the girl.

Every bus had a girl in front of it.

The photographers really seemed to like these 2.

On the way out, you can marvel at the big saw in the ground.

For lunch I had red miso ramen, which was so hot I burnt my lips until they fused together. Nice though.

Need to step up my game

As the title says, I feel the quality of what you see here has slipped.
Steps are being taken to improve this situation.
Perhaps I need to hire an editor and proof reader.
Perhaps I need to do interesting things.
Perhaps I should just make shit up.

This evening I went around in an anti clockwise circle for a few minutes to Ikebekuro, one of the 3 big places to go in Tokyo.
The other 2 will likely follow on remaining nights here.
Ikebekuro is often underestimated compared to Shibuya and Shinjuku, but its still a busy place to be. It also has Tokyo's Chinatown in its back streets.
Actually theres Chinatown everywhere now, with more and more places selling mapo tofu and noodles with sweet black sauce which is Chinese food for Koreans.
When I first came to Tokyo, you had to go to Yokohama to find Chinese people, now your average Chinese tourist is spending more than any other kind, so the market is starting to adapt. Adaption is slow though, cause this is Japan, and external influence is to be ridiculed, unless they come with bags of money.

I cleverly disguise my appearance to that of homeless person who has overstayed visa. This means I get plenty of room on the train because no one will sit next to me even if the train is full.
It also makes people uncomfortable when I sit near them at the restaurant counter, I love the fear in their eyes, I buy my meal ticket from the machine, then have to choose a seat, people stop eating and start praying to the spirit of Hirohito that I dont pick the seat next to them. I single out whoever looks the weakest and ruin their day.

Despite the overt racism, which I believe is getting worse, this evening I was served in a convenience store by a black African man.
He spoke Japanese well, although I noted a couple of girls he served kept their heads pointed at the floor whilst they exchanged cash and change so as not to catch his evil gaze.
He then served me and tried I believe English, French and German greetings, and when I answered in English, he proved himself to be just as fluent as I am, which is merely passable.
Of course, the fact I seem surprised that a black man can speak Japanese and English and works in a convenience store probably points to my own acceptance of a stereotype, but at least I could look at the guy whilst he was serving me.

I just wanted to get to the other side of the tracks! It took me about 30 minutes of trying, and at one point I almost reentered the train platform area just to get to the other side.
Finally I realised I needed to go further down, not up.

Neoness. I did warn that I need to step up my game.

This is the fairly new majesty guitar. Not sure how I feel about it. Looks Japanese despite being American.

Everyone needs a libidoll. Your risky internet use of the day is to enter the web address they have provided,

I found a suitably dark and mysterious back alley to locate my dinner.

And I found a great dinner! Vegetarian vegetable curry with works vegetables, all vegetable include!

There are currently 3 comments - click to add

David on 2015-11-04 said:

It is called, wait for it, Ueno Hotel.
It does not appear to be part of any chain or brand alliance.

mother on 2015-11-04 said:

You still haven't told me the name of your hotel in Ueno!

mother on 2015-11-04 said:

Anyone of the red sports cars will do me.

Will page 2 be as bland as page 1? Click below to find out.


Day 1 - Monday, 2 November 2015
  Mile high typing club
  Mobile mucus dispersion unit
Day 2 - Tuesday, 3 November 2015
  Still alive
  Quietly confident
Day 3 - Wednesday, 4 November 2015
  Electric cubes and gap toothed models
  Need to step up my game
Day 4 - Thursday, 5 November 2015
  Sleepy train ride
  The dark temple
Day 5 - Friday, 6 November 2015
  Suburban Tokyo
  Not much has changed
Day 6 - Saturday, 7 November 2015
  Mosquito mountain camera failure
  Beneath the tracks
Day 7 - Sunday, 8 November 2015
  Much rain
  Soup in a can
Day 8 - Monday, 9 November 2015
  Not been here before
  And still it rains
Day 9 - Tuesday, 10 November 2015
  Long day at altitude
  Bare minimum
Day 10 - Wednesday, 11 November 2015
  Osaka castle - Nagoya branch
  Also theres Oso
Day 11 - Thursday, 12 November 2015
  Monkeys castles and fighter jets
  For one no sorry
Day 12 - Friday, 13 November 2015
  Grey day on a bald mountain
  Aeon ozone dome walk
Day 13 - Saturday, 14 November 2015
  Looming rain
  Throw everything on a plate
Day 14 - Sunday, 15 November 2015
  My room is old
  Too many places to eat
Day 15 - Monday, 16 November 2015
  Not a bad view
  I found them
Day 16 - Tuesday, 17 November 2015
  Rainy bomb day
  Get wet to go somewhere dry
Day 17 - Wednesday, 18 March 2015
  Mystery fair and bad pho
Day 18 - Thursday, 19 November 2015
  Raining tourists
  I got to wander
Day 19 - Friday, 20 November 2015
  Giant phallus
  Closed at seven
Day 20 - Saturday, 21 November 2015
  Under the sea
  The busy side
Day 21 - Sunday, 22 November 2015
  Final destination
  More than Shinjuku
Day 22 - Monday, 23 November 2015
  Other people
  Sudden downpour
Day 23 - Tuesday, 24 November 2015
  Sand castle
  Red lights dimmed
Day 24 - Wednesday, 25 November 2015
  No mountain
  It got cold
Day 25 - Thursday, 26 November 2015
  The shed