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Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - Page 8

Day 22 - Saturday, 17 November 2018

Hiking with others

Today was a long day, a long day hiking near Tokyo on a Saturday, which meant there were other people. At times lots of other people, but at other times, surprisingly not so many other people. Allow me to explain how that eventuated.

I took the Chuo line rapid that split in half and became the Ome line holiday express, even though today is not a holiday. I stayed on this train all the way to the end up the amazing valley to Okutama, just past a place I went last year where I simply could not believe the scenery in the station area at Mitake.

Anyway, the train was packed to the rafters with hikers, and when the train arrived at the last station, they pushed towards the doors and SPRINTED out of the train past a scrum of police and security and strangely, firefighters, to the awaiting buses. Except there was already a line of people from the previous train who could not fit onto the previous buses. They will be waiting in line for at least an hour.

You see hiking in Japan is so popular on a Saturday that public transport cannot cope, they need to pay for crowd control and have every bus working to take people to the start of hiking trails.

I casually strolled out of the station and muscled my way through a scrum of tour operators waving signs and demanding I pay them to take me to one of the trails.
The thing is, I had never intended to take a bus, a taxi, a minivan or a ride on the back of a motorbike (that was genuinely on offer), I intended to walk. The trail starts 4km from the station! Its a 20km trail. 4 extra kilometres along a road should not cause this level of chaos, especially when the view along that road is superb.

Anyway, todays hike was SIMPLY STUNNING, I cant think of a more annoying adjective, oh I can, todays hike was AMAZEBALLS! Kill me now...
The trail to the top was long, steep, technical but safe, with great scenery, impossible to get lost.

Because I had walked the 4km to the start of the trail I was far enough behind everyone else to have it to myself until I got to the summit. The summit itself has a pretty ordinary view, today was all about the journey! I tried not to take a thousand photos of the rivers and leaves, but it was really BREATHTAKING. There were a lot of times I had to cross the river on wooden trestles, all quite sturdy, all worthy of a photo.

The journey back down was an easier longer winding path to a different station (Hatonosu). I did have to pass a lot of people, they were all making a lot of noise, laughing and even singing on the way down, presumably old hymns designed to scare the bears away.

Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - Here is Okutama station. I survived the stamped off the train. The 5 or so stations prior to this one all have stupidly ridiculously amazingly good lo

Here is Okutama station. I survived the stamped off the train. The 5 or so stations prior to this one all have stupidly ridiculously amazingly good looking scenery. The map shows a lot of canyons running through the villages, and on the way back I saw kayaking and people with tents set up along the edge of the rivers.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - Here is part of the bus line. It extends over the road. Cars were being held up by people in line on the actual road as police blew their whistles. It

Here is part of the bus line. It extends over the road. Cars were being held up by people in line on the actual road as police blew their whistles. It was a very easy decision for me to avoid this situation and just walk the 4km.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - Before heading up the road to the trail I checked out the little town of Okutama. They had numerous hiking stores.

Before heading up the road to the trail I checked out the little town of Okutama. They had numerous hiking stores.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - It really looks like this, this is not a computer generated render.

It really looks like this, this is not a computer generated render.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - The road followed this river with the blue water running over rocks.

The road followed this river with the blue water running over rocks.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - I think that mining train line with the little carts has not been used forever. They leave it like that to make for good photos, so I took one.

I think that mining train line with the little carts has not been used forever. They leave it like that to make for good photos, so I took one.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - It was just that colorful. And bright. Check out the bright sun reflecting off the water.

It was just that colorful. And bright. Check out the bright sun reflecting off the water.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - There were also sheer cliff faces as shown here, and a number of waterfalls.

There were also sheer cliff faces as shown here, and a number of waterfalls.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - By this time I was on the trail, and going fast in the lower flatter sections, the scenery was still spectacular though! I resisted the temptation to

By this time I was on the trail, and going fast in the lower flatter sections, the scenery was still spectacular though! I resisted the temptation to take hundreds of photos.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - The path to todays summit, which I should have mentioned earlier is called Mount Kawanori, loops around the back of what was about to become a very st

The path to todays summit, which I should have mentioned earlier is called Mount Kawanori, loops around the back of what was about to become a very steep mountain. I believe that bit sticking up in this photo is very near the summit. Lots of vertical photos today, I like to wear out your mouse scrolling wheel.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - More color, more water, more view.

More color, more water, more view.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - It started to get a bit mossy in the bits that get no sun, still looks great to me. Maybe I am easily impressed by leaves and rocks and streams and tr

It started to get a bit mossy in the bits that get no sun, still looks great to me. Maybe I am easily impressed by leaves and rocks and streams and trees and sun.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - Last one before having to put my camera away properly to ascend the very steep path to the top. At times ropes were needed but I didnt really think it

Last one before having to put my camera away properly to ascend the very steep path to the top. At times ropes were needed but I didnt really think it was dangerous going up. I was however very glad to not have to descend that way, which would be treacherous. My heart rate stayed over 150 for a 90 minute stretch going up today, peaking at 172. I tried to push hard! Over 2000 calories burned in the 6 hours it took to complete the hike apparently.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - The very last part to the summit is less strenuous, I bounded up to the hordes of fellow hikers, who all yelled KONINCHIWA at me for no good reason.

The very last part to the summit is less strenuous, I bounded up to the hordes of fellow hikers, who all yelled KONINCHIWA at me for no good reason.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - As I warned, the view from the top is actually nothing to write home about, and theres trees on 3 sides. It was all about the journey. Actually for me

As I warned, the view from the top is actually nothing to write home about, and theres trees on 3 sides. It was all about the journey. Actually for me its always all about the journey, that just doesnt translate well to photos and meaningless ramblings too well.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - Here I am, looking into the mid distance, pondering which way to go down (there were 3 choices).

Here I am, looking into the mid distance, pondering which way to go down (there were 3 choices).


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - One last one of the summit area, now lets go down fast. Also great weather again, shorts and t-shirt weather again!

One last one of the summit area, now lets go down fast. Also great weather again, shorts and t-shirt weather again!


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - The path down started smooth and full of dead leaves and naked trees.

The path down started smooth and full of dead leaves and naked trees.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - Before too long it became pine plantations, which are a bit boring, especially compared to the trail on the way up. I enjoyed some of the moss covered

Before too long it became pine plantations, which are a bit boring, especially compared to the trail on the way up. I enjoyed some of the moss covered fallen trees.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - Looking back, I think that was the peak, the middle one. But I cant be sure. It doesnt matter. Its on the map, google it.

Looking back, I think that was the peak, the middle one. But I cant be sure. It doesnt matter. Its on the map, google it.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - 2/3 of the way down you come to a logging road, a tiny shrine, and a heap of people having their UMPTEENTH tea break for the day. I got mass Konichiwa

2/3 of the way down you come to a logging road, a tiny shrine, and a heap of people having their UMPTEENTH tea break for the day. I got mass Konichiwaaaad again. A lot of groups seemed to be on paid tours, matching hats, name tags etc. You really do not need to do that to climb this mountain.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - The forest logging track and the peaks from earlier in the background. Compare that to the picture a few before this one and you can see its a long wa

The forest logging track and the peaks from earlier in the background. Compare that to the picture a few before this one and you can see its a long way through the forest to get to here, and still more to go!


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - Another 45 minutes or so and I finally arrived back at the town of Hatonosu. Also highly picturesque.

Another 45 minutes or so and I finally arrived back at the town of Hatonosu. Also highly picturesque.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - The station was full of hikers who had compelted the same course as me today. The train runs often, I only had a ten minute wait, but the return journ

The station was full of hikers who had compelted the same course as me today. The train runs often, I only had a ten minute wait, but the return journey took longer as the first half stopped at all stations unlike this mornings holiday super express hiker special.
Hmm, probably the best hike of this holiday so far, probably in the top 5 best ever.


Brief trip to Ginza for curry

I am a bit broken. Or more accurately, fatigued. No strength in legs. Not much mental capacity for make good sentences.
Conveniently then, my hotel is situated near Tokyo, Ginza and other places where there is lots of food.

After being in my hotel just long enough to make my pictures pretty from earlier and scrawl some words about them, I headed out again straight away. Sweaty, covered in sunscreen, hair looking like a pine cone mated with a hedgehog. So what better place to go to than Ginza?
I first pulled on my oldest, greyest black pants that look like something a Chinese coal miner might wear if he was sent to the dirtiest, scariest mines in Mongolia. These pants are very very comfortable, but so old the pockets have rotted through against my leg.
Time to go look at some Gucci in super fancy department stores then!

Ginza was surprisingly under construction. This was very surprising, I am used to it being the shining beacon of urban cleanliness. There were not even any plants planted. I think normally at this time of year they have ornamental colorful cabbages. Instead there was plastic screens erected on the footpath and flashing construction lights.

Now that I am back in my hotel room already I am ready for bed, or I was, but theres a teams ping pong tournament on the tv that features battling to music in fancy dress while playing ping pong! Possibly one of the stranger concepts I have ever seen. While some sort of screeching pop starlet song is playing, the disney characters are playing the power rangers. This is not animated, its a genuine televised cosplay ping pong tournament.

Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - Just a regular old street light in Tokyo.

Just a regular old street light in Tokyo.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - Here is Takashimaya. It is actually not in Ginza, the area just before there is also very nice big stores. The Mitsukoshi store there went for many bl

Here is Takashimaya. It is actually not in Ginza, the area just before there is also very nice big stores. The Mitsukoshi store there went for many blocks. I believe there is another one in Ginza itself just up the street and around the corner.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - After my long day hiking and eating only a chocolate chip cookie and a cake, I was starving, so needed dinner immediately. Luckily the local 10 level

After my long day hiking and eating only a chocolate chip cookie and a cake, I was starving, so needed dinner immediately. Luckily the local 10 level bookstore, Maruzen, has a cafe that is famous for its curry sauce, according to the window display. So thats what I had, in the form of curry demiglaze mushroom omurice. It was very good!


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - My new tactic, make friends with the bears!

My new tactic, make friends with the bears!


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - Here is the main street through Ginza, Chuo Dori, under construction!

Here is the main street through Ginza, Chuo Dori, under construction!


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - Despite the construction I took a photo anyway. This is a heavy crop, these kinds of photos need a lens longer than 28mm.

Despite the construction I took a photo anyway. This is a heavy crop, these kinds of photos need a lens longer than 28mm.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - All of the xmas displays in the windows are impressive. The polar bear is enormous and it moves.

All of the xmas displays in the windows are impressive. The polar bear is enormous and it moves.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - Just another random street area somewhere quite near Ginza.

Just another random street area somewhere quite near Ginza.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - I have been here before, its the Tokyo forum. My new camera does a great job here at night. I was able to stop it down to f4 to get lots of the awesom

I have been here before, its the Tokyo forum. My new camera does a great job here at night. I was able to stop it down to f4 to get lots of the awesome roof trusses in focus. Yes, I am talking about my ability to focus on roof trusses.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - Shot of the evening. Standing here is quite an unusual sensation.

Shot of the evening. Standing here is quite an unusual sensation.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - Yeah, its a bus terminal. I had never actually seen the bus terminal before. I think its new? Or the building is. It is attached to the Tokyo train st

Yeah, its a bus terminal. I had never actually seen the bus terminal before. I think its new? Or the building is. It is attached to the Tokyo train station and very large, especially the roof area.


There are currently 3 comments - click to add

David on 2018-11-17 said:

I still have put on weight during this trip. Refer to my previous rants.


Mother on 2018-11-17 said:

If you are going to burn 2000 calories hiking of course your legs are going to feel weAK. You need to eat at least the same amount or you'll end up anorexic and your teeth will fall out.


Jenny on 2018-11-17 said:

Must be peak momiji season. Nice shots.



Day 23 - Sunday, 18 November 2018

Greasers

I keep hearing about how on a Sunday afternoon, Yoyogi park is the place to go to see every kind of weird freak in the world trying to start a new trend in Tokyo. I have heard this for ten years now. I think eleven years ago that may have been a true story. Each time I have been to Yoyogi park, the same 6 greasers have been out the front half-assing dancing to an Elvis song. And thats all there is to see unless you think the next weird trend is kids riding bikes, kicking a soccer ball or flying a kite?

My journey to Yoyogi park was of course completely made on foot. And now Tokyo has become small to me. It is not even 10,000 steps from Kanda to Shinjuku if you go the most direct route! Thats not far enough at all. So I then paced around Shinjuku for a while looking in stores at things I dont actually want before heading to the park via the enormous shrine complex, where I again managed to crash another Japanese wedding. There were guards trying to prevent the 10,000 tourists from taking a photo of the bride... yeah right. If you dont want a photo taken then why get married on a Sunday afternoon in the busiest tourist location anywhere in Tokyo?

Anyway, I forgot to talk about the weather. Today was forecast to maybe have rain, maybe be grey, it was a bit grey, but no rain. Thats why I didnt head into the mountains to peer at stuff. I probably should have.
Tomorrow is actually forecast to have real rain, but after that, should be back to sunshine.
Why am I mentioning all this? To set my own expectations for what to do with my 3 remaining full days in or near Tokyo. I fly home on Thursday. I will probably get the 3 day all Tokyo wide train pass again for the next 3 days, which means a lot of time sitting on trains to make sure I get my moneys worth. This takes some elaborate weather based planning to maximise my time spent ascending a cliff. So there you go.
Todays photos are not a patch on yesterdays.

Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - I took this same photo last year. This years is better. Last years was fully grey sky. I talk about the sky a lot.

I took this same photo last year. This years is better. Last years was fully grey sky. I talk about the sky a lot.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - Here is another one of the moat around the castle. Notice the terrible lense flare at the left? I dont care. Maybe attaching my lense hood would fix t

Here is another one of the moat around the castle. Notice the terrible lense flare at the left? I dont care. Maybe attaching my lense hood would fix that, but I doubt it. Maybe I should stop taking photos pointing my camera at the sun.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - Over the road from the imperial palace area is another shrine area. This one has a new ancient torii gate under construction, a red one! I peered thro

Over the road from the imperial palace area is another shrine area. This one has a new ancient torii gate under construction, a red one! I peered through the scaffolding to see the metal wrapped concrete core.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - I dont know the name of this shrine, but you can see its getting re-built.

I dont know the name of this shrine, but you can see its getting re-built.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - Out the back you can feed the fish for a while. There were no cats near by being mesmerised by the fish. Tokyo has a lot less cats than the rest of Ja

Out the back you can feed the fish for a while. There were no cats near by being mesmerised by the fish. Tokyo has a lot less cats than the rest of Japan.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - The little garden here is kind of bland, but its free!

The little garden here is kind of bland, but its free!


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - OK, here is something no website has ever shown before. It is Shinjuku neon sign street, in the daylight, sans neon glow!

OK, here is something no website has ever shown before. It is Shinjuku neon sign street, in the daylight, sans neon glow!


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - Who is sand dog and does he like umbrellas? Also why is this sticker all over Shinjuku?

Who is sand dog and does he like umbrellas? Also why is this sticker all over Shinjuku?


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - I found this interesting. In a camera shop they have these little photo books showing about 10 photos for every lense they have for sale. I am not sur

I found this interesting. In a camera shop they have these little photo books showing about 10 photos for every lense they have for sale. I am not sure it would help anyone decide what lense they need, but you get to stand in a store and look at someones photo albums, thats always fun.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - This is my old Neighbourhood of Yoyogi. The first 2 times I came to Tokyo I stayed right about here. It has not changed. There is a level railway cros

This is my old Neighbourhood of Yoyogi. The first 2 times I came to Tokyo I stayed right about here. It has not changed. There is a level railway crossing here that always takes ages to cross, you often have to wait for 5 trains to pass.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - After spending an hour or so in Shinjuku and Yoyogi not finding my lunch, I decided to stay hungry and head to Meiji Jingu. The main path is wide and

After spending an hour or so in Shinjuku and Yoyogi not finding my lunch, I decided to stay hungry and head to Meiji Jingu. The main path is wide and completely covered by an awesome tree canopy. Every tourist in the world was here today.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - Unfortunately this photo did not turn out as well as I hoped. There is a big building behind the gate in the distance, you can barely see it.

Unfortunately this photo did not turn out as well as I hoped. There is a big building behind the gate in the distance, you can barely see it.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - 'No photo!' guy was no match for my elbows. I was easily able to get to the front to gawk at these people playing fancy dress. Apparently the bride we

'No photo!' guy was no match for my elbows. I was easily able to get to the front to gawk at these people playing fancy dress. Apparently the bride wears that hat to disguise her devils horns? No really, heres what the Internet says, "the headdress is big and bulky and is said to hide the brides 'horns' as a symbol of submission".


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - People everywhere. I am taller than most of them.

People everywhere. I am taller than most of them.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - It is very common to dress up your kids and make them walk great distances in wooden clogs. Some people ask to take their photo, I just wait for someo

It is very common to dress up your kids and make them walk great distances in wooden clogs. Some people ask to take their photo, I just wait for someone to do that and also take a photo.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - Its the greasers. I will have to do a comparison to an old photo but I think its the exact same people.

Its the greasers. I will have to do a comparison to an old photo but I think its the exact same people.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - Inside the park there are a number of fountains, and dead looking trees.

Inside the park there are a number of fountains, and dead looking trees.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - Here is a bit more fountain and tree death.

Here is a bit more fountain and tree death.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - Where are all the freaks? It is mostly western tourists having a picnic. Where did the freaks all go to instead?

Where are all the freaks? It is mostly western tourists having a picnic. Where did the freaks all go to instead?


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - I walked 3 laps of the park until I found some actual leaf color (momji) so here it is, enjoy!

I walked 3 laps of the park until I found some actual leaf color (momji) so here it is, enjoy!


Quiet night in Shimbashi

On my walk past the Tokyo tower the other night, I went past a bright area I could see in the distance which my map informed me was Shimbashi. I googled it, turns out lots of people like to take cyberpunk fake blue colored BLADERUNNERESQUE photos there, and I had never been there before. How could I resist to make the same photos as countless others?
So this evening I decided to head to Shimbashi, it basically adjoins Ginza and Tokyo stations, the whole area is one big food, drink and shopping district, it just depends on if you want shiny (Ginza), Large (Tokyo) or grimey (Shimbashi), tonight I elected for grimey.
The only problem was, much of it is shut on Sundays. I checked the signs on a few shops, open every night of the week except Sunday. Did they start enforcing penalty overtime rates in Tokyo?
Anyway, I still found it interesting, and the walk to and from the area from my hotel in Kanda along the tracks provided lots of things to look at and every few seconds a train would go over head.

Once I got to Shimbashi I was joined by a wrinkly old lady, who wanted to walk very close to me, I knew what was coming next. Massage? Sexy time? Special massage? Girls? I said no thanks 5 times and she still kept asking and giving me the nationalities of the girls she could provide. So I told her I was too tired, please go away and she stopped following me. This happens a lot but....
Then I had my dinner, and half an hour later I am walking back up another street, and here she is again! Similar offers. I told her, I already told you to get lost. She says, in decent English, 'yes, but now you have eaten, perhaps you have more strength and are ready for action!'.

Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - First, by special request, here are some pictures around where I am staying in Kanda. Much like Shimbashi, many of the places here choose to shut on S

First, by special request, here are some pictures around where I am staying in Kanda. Much like Shimbashi, many of the places here choose to shut on Sundays.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - Another one of Kanda.

Another one of Kanda.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - Last one, train going over head.

Last one, train going over head.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - On my journey tonight I had to go into Tokyo station to buy my 3 day train pass that I will start using tomorrow. There was no one in the line but bot

On my journey tonight I had to go into Tokyo station to buy my 3 day train pass that I will start using tomorrow. There was no one in the line but both open counters had someone being served. Both of those people were absolutely useless. One of them needed to get to Ueno station from Tokyo station, and was trying to buy a ticket and book a seat on the Yamanote line for Wednesday (3 days from now). The Yamanote line is the main metro line, there are definitely no reserved seats, and the train runs roughly every 28 seconds. Anyway, this photo came out pretty well for handheld.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - The next station along is Yurakucho. The train line provides hundreds of holes for small restaurants under the tracks.

The next station along is Yurakucho. The train line provides hundreds of holes for small restaurants under the tracks.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - Here is a particularly low rent location with a low rent looking eatery.

Here is a particularly low rent location with a low rent looking eatery.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - Near Yurakucho is one of these multi level seafood places. I think I have seen this exact same building in other locations. So now I think these 3 lev

Near Yurakucho is one of these multi level seafood places. I think I have seen this exact same building in other locations. So now I think these 3 level restaurants are mass manufactured kit buildings made to look old and interesting.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - The back streets had some little places to take some atmospheric moody photos or whatever adjectives you want to use.

The back streets had some little places to take some atmospheric moody photos or whatever adjectives you want to use.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - Between Yurakucho and Shimbashi on this side of the tracks they are renovating the under track tunnels, so its my chance to take a shot of nothing lit

Between Yurakucho and Shimbashi on this side of the tracks they are renovating the under track tunnels, so its my chance to take a shot of nothing lit with sodium lights.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - Once I got to Shimbashi I was greeted by the new imperial army, who have parked their hand painted armored terrorist vans out the front of the station

Once I got to Shimbashi I was greeted by the new imperial army, who have parked their hand painted armored terrorist vans out the front of the station. I could not see any of the guys in their rising sun uniforms.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - Right next to where the racist idiots had parked is this train dressed up in Christmas lights driven by Santa. Perhaps the Japanese KKK had bought the

Right next to where the racist idiots had parked is this train dressed up in Christmas lights driven by Santa. Perhaps the Japanese KKK had bought their kids to see the Santa train?


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - Here is a Shimbashi back street, about half the places are open.

Here is a Shimbashi back street, about half the places are open.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - This is probably the main back street, theres also a main street but thats just filled with brand name shops and convenience stores.

This is probably the main back street, theres also a main street but thats just filled with brand name shops and convenience stores.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - Time for one last photo of the restaurants under the tracks. I like this one.

Time for one last photo of the restaurants under the tracks. I like this one.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - I was told I should have a traditional dinner, so I had Sichuan fusion Ramen, the least traditional thing I could find. It was delicious! It was insid

I was told I should have a traditional dinner, so I had Sichuan fusion Ramen, the least traditional thing I could find. It was delicious! It was inside a place where you can still smoke, I thought that had been banned? Generally the smoking places have better food! Probably because the smokers have killed all their taste buds with tongue cancer.


There are currently 3 comments - click to add

MoShengRen on 2018-11-19 said:

I'm still amused by the fact smokers are forced to congregate in the one room to smoke in hotels and train stations but are free to do so in restaurants.


adriana on 2018-11-18 said:

Nasty looking lot those right wing nationalists (Nazis). I think the idea in Japan is to keep them in plain sight so they know what they are up to. Kanda and Shinbashi both look like good places to stay. I shall check out the hotel possibilities.


jenny on 2018-11-18 said:

Not many photos today. Last time we were at Meiji Jingu we photographed a raccoon dog. You will have to try harder.



Day 24 - Monday, 19 November 2018

Kawagoe by train to see trains

Do you like trains? Do you like ancient Starbucks? Then todays update is right up your alley. Apparently I also went to the ancient sweets (candy) alley, but that alley did not have much on offer.

Armed with my trusty 3 day train pass, I planned a dual activity day, and set off later than normal, a relative luxury, my last of this trip, the next 2 days will be hectic. My first stop was Kawagoe, the place outside of Tokyo thats still very much within greater Tokyo that was a town that used to be a major trading post with ancient Tokyo when it was called Edo.
Here in Kawagoe they have a couple of streets of old looking buildings including the aforementioned Starbucks that are filled with souvenirs and ice creams. There is also a bell tower, and I am not making this up, it is one of the... wait for it... '100 best sound sceneries in Japan'.
I am making my own list, the 100 best lists in Japan.

I guess Kawagoe was nice enough. It is very busy and I dont really mean the tourists, although there are lots including the people that insist on being pushed around in a rickshaw. The annoying busy is actually that the main street is a MAIN STREET. Complete with real trucks and buses roaring past trying to kill you. This is the most dangerous thing I have done on this trip, walk up a tourist street.

After doing 3 laps of the place it was time to head to destination 2 of 2, the railway museum. I took a train to the railway museum.

This museum was very good, full of screaming children as you shall see, but there really are a lot of trains to look at and you are allowed on most of them. You can then ascend to the roof and look at real trains, and then you can take a series of trains back to your hotel including a bullet train, all covered by the 3 day pass. So there you go, trains, lots of trains.

Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - Wait a minute. I planned todays activities based on the forecast of rain. Why is there bright sunshine? This was very confusing. Also the streets from

Wait a minute. I planned todays activities based on the forecast of rain. Why is there bright sunshine? This was very confusing. Also the streets from Kawagoe station to the old area are very busy, colorful, developed etc. There are even big department stores.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - The shrines in this area seem newer than the buildings in the streets. There are a lot of them. I think they have been built here to cash in on it bei

The shrines in this area seem newer than the buildings in the streets. There are a lot of them. I think they have been built here to cash in on it being a tourist area.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - This quiet street is just outside the official tourist zone on the maps they put up, so there is no one here.

This quiet street is just outside the official tourist zone on the maps they put up, so there is no one here.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - Similarly, this building on its own is a couple of streets over, and looks to be genuinely the oldest of them all.

Similarly, this building on its own is a couple of streets over, and looks to be genuinely the oldest of them all.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - I have no doubt, this is the most photographed place in Kawagoe! I had to wait ages for a clear shot.

I have no doubt, this is the most photographed place in Kawagoe! I had to wait ages for a clear shot.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - Coming in a close second to Starbucks is the bell tower most listenable scenery number 93 of 100. They did not ring the bell while I was here.

Coming in a close second to Starbucks is the bell tower most listenable scenery number 93 of 100. They did not ring the bell while I was here.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - A bit more bell tower and blue sky. I was checking the weather radar, I want blue sky tomorrow not today!

A bit more bell tower and blue sky. I was checking the weather radar, I want blue sky tomorrow not today!


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - Here we have a section of the old buildings on the main street. Apparently they have something to do with pottery. Mainly they sell tourist souvenirs.

Here we have a section of the old buildings on the main street. Apparently they have something to do with pottery. Mainly they sell tourist souvenirs. Thats smart, because this is a place tourists go.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - I think these people are Chinese. Kawagoe is a great place to dress up and be followed around by professional photographers. This girl has an entourag

I think these people are Chinese. Kawagoe is a great place to dress up and be followed around by professional photographers. This girl has an entourage of 3 photographers and a make up artist.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - In this photo I am almost being killed by a bus.

In this photo I am almost being killed by a bus.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - Candy alley was strange. There are maybe 3 shops, generally selling kitkats and snickers bars. This is the only place I could see anyone selling anyth

Candy alley was strange. There are maybe 3 shops, generally selling kitkats and snickers bars. This is the only place I could see anyone selling anything unusual, which is a 3 foot long marshmallow thing that people eat as a stunt / dare.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - This is candy alley, there are now more shops selling craft beer.

This is candy alley, there are now more shops selling craft beer.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - Many of the old places have a strange large animal thing out the front, generally a panda (so Japanese!) I decided for my photo to take a picture of t

Many of the old places have a strange large animal thing out the front, generally a panda (so Japanese!) I decided for my photo to take a picture of this weird Pelican.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - Nearby Kawagoe are a couple of shrines and castle ruins, I need to get my steps so off I go. Hmmm. Blue plastic.

Nearby Kawagoe are a couple of shrines and castle ruins, I need to get my steps so off I go. Hmmm. Blue plastic.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - The next thing on the tourist path according the signs I was following is the sewage treatment plant. It was shut. How annoying.

The next thing on the tourist path according the signs I was following is the sewage treatment plant. It was shut. How annoying.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - I visited 5 shrines and this is the only part of one of them not under some sort of construction!

I visited 5 shrines and this is the only part of one of them not under some sort of construction!


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - Thats a nice backhoe.

Thats a nice backhoe.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - Even the bonsai flower fair was partially under construction. I like the bonsai flowers though.

Even the bonsai flower fair was partially under construction. I like the bonsai flowers though.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - OK, now I am at the train museum, here is a bullet train transformer. Its a little known fact that all bullet trains can transform at any point when r

OK, now I am at the train museum, here is a bullet train transformer. Its a little known fact that all bullet trains can transform at any point when required to defend Japan against attacking evil robots / Godzillas etc.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - I was asked to leave the build your own railway area. Racist. So all I could do was find a place above it to hurl abuse.

I was asked to leave the build your own railway area. Racist. So all I could do was find a place above it to hurl abuse.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - Hahaha, really? I got told off 3 times for taking photos, while people right next to me were taking photos! I even got told off for taking a photo of

Hahaha, really? I got told off 3 times for taking photos, while people right next to me were taking photos! I even got told off for taking a photo of this sign.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - The main hall is very impressive, packed with trains, this is not even all of them.

The main hall is very impressive, packed with trains, this is not even all of them.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - I like those older long nose ones with the elevated driving positions.

I like those older long nose ones with the elevated driving positions.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - This is the most expensive of at least 4 restaurants inside the Museum. A couple of them are housed inside what look like trains. I bought a $2 sandwi

This is the most expensive of at least 4 restaurants inside the Museum. A couple of them are housed inside what look like trains. I bought a $2 sandwich from Family Mart.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - It is a bit strange that you can sit on a train that looks just like a current still in service train.

It is a bit strange that you can sit on a train that looks just like a current still in service train.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - You can also get under a couple of the trains and look up their skirts.

You can also get under a couple of the trains and look up their skirts.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - No really, I am fairly sure this is the actual train I took to get here earlier. Now its a museum attraction.

No really, I am fairly sure this is the actual train I took to get here earlier. Now its a museum attraction.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - Probably an irrelevant shot since I kind of took it from another angle earlier.

Probably an irrelevant shot since I kind of took it from another angle earlier.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - There are also older trains to look at, but the focus is on the post steam era.

There are also older trains to look at, but the focus is on the post steam era.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - Ahhh, now I found some older trains to go and stand on. They could sell these to my old home town of Adelaide who are in need of an upgrade.

Ahhh, now I found some older trains to go and stand on. They could sell these to my old home town of Adelaide who are in need of an upgrade.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - This is probably the oldest one you are allowed on. The even older ones are inside plastic bubbles, including one that was used to transport the Emper

This is probably the oldest one you are allowed on. The even older ones are inside plastic bubbles, including one that was used to transport the Emperor with all the furniture covered by white sheets.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - The horror! The horror!!!

The horror! The horror!!!


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - This steam train has been cut apart and retrofitted with lasers which help it go into space.

This steam train has been cut apart and retrofitted with lasers which help it go into space.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - Have I ever seen or been on a double decker bullet train? I dont think so. It looks higher than normal ones?

Have I ever seen or been on a double decker bullet train? I dont think so. It looks higher than normal ones?


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - The bullet trains are in an annex building. I nearly missed it. There are also simulators in this building but the lines were long and they had signs

The bullet trains are in an annex building. I nearly missed it. There are also simulators in this building but the lines were long and they had signs saying no more spots available today. Not as bad as Disneyland, in the news today, one of the ride lines there had an 11 hour wait on the weekend.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - From the roof of the train museum you can look at real working train lines! Oh yeah, its also very grey now, but not raining, yet.

From the roof of the train museum you can look at real working train lines! Oh yeah, its also very grey now, but not raining, yet.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - I liked the model railway stadium, but again I was told off for taking photos despite 50 other (Japanese) people taking photos. Were they concerned I

I liked the model railway stadium, but again I was told off for taking photos despite 50 other (Japanese) people taking photos. Were they concerned I was stealing the secrets of how model trains work? This is a crap photo but its the only one I got before the no photo guard started yelling.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - After leaving the train museum I headed back to Omiya and boarded a real bullet train, presumably one that had just finished its shift standing still

After leaving the train museum I headed back to Omiya and boarded a real bullet train, presumably one that had just finished its shift standing still at the museum!


Roller coasters in the rain

Rain is an overstatement. Light drizzle. Not enough to get wet. Enough to cause people to have their annoying eye piercing height umbrellas up, but I have done that rant too many times.
Tonight I went to Ochahnomizu, home of the famed guitar street and then continued on to Suidobashi, where I had not been before, where I looked at people parachuting tethered to a tower and riding a roller coasters in the rain. I really want to spell rollercoaster as one word.

Anyway guitar street depresses me, because Australia has no good guitar stores at all and one street in Tokyo has 20. Really I am not exaggerating any of that last statement. I guess it also is a good thing because I already have way too many guitars and play basically none of them. They are expensive furniture, dusty dusty furniture. Once a year I dust them and change the strings. Thats enough about that.

Suidobashi is the site of the Tokyo dome, which is primarily for baseball but also for Babymetal and also a series of malls and a themeless theme park.
The good news is theres no entry fee to the themeless park full of rides, so you can wander around in the rain and look at them and ride on none of them. I am way too scared to ride on them, they seem to kill people regularly in ways described by ambulance officers on live tv as 'injuries not compatible with life'.

Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - My journey took me back through Akihabara, which I have photographed too many times so had no intention of taking a photo. But then a train stopped on

My journey took me back through Akihabara, which I have photographed too many times so had no intention of taking a photo. But then a train stopped on the bridge as I went past, so I could not resist another photo.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - It always amuses me that the real estate in the most visible position with the most foot traffic anywhere in Tokyo is filled with shops selling extens

It always amuses me that the real estate in the most visible position with the most foot traffic anywhere in Tokyo is filled with shops selling extension cords, capacitors and funnels.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - Ochanomizu station has been under construction for 10 years now. I am certain the same cranes and equipment were parked in the same spots at this time

Ochanomizu station has been under construction for 10 years now. I am certain the same cranes and equipment were parked in the same spots at this time last year.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - Whats that I see, could it be Tokyo soup stock? IT IS! Early dinner I shall have then, and instead of the two soup combo, I mixed it up with soup and

Whats that I see, could it be Tokyo soup stock? IT IS! Early dinner I shall have then, and instead of the two soup combo, I mixed it up with soup and salad. The salad has chicken and pecan with a basil dressing. I still dont know what the soup is. I am going to try and eat healthy until I leave so I have less 'bill shock' when I return, bill shock being the price you pay for excess weight charges. Its just like phone data only not at all.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - Here is a guitar shop. It is huge. It has 6 levels. It is called guitar planet which is apt.

Here is a guitar shop. It is huge. It has 6 levels. It is called guitar planet which is apt.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - Here is another guitar shop. The bargains they have are second hand guitars that were only ever sold to the Japanese market. I want about 20 guitars i

Here is another guitar shop. The bargains they have are second hand guitars that were only ever sold to the Japanese market. I want about 20 guitars in this store alone.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - The roller coaster is really quite high, and it is running despite the drizzle and the fact its a Monday night.

The roller coaster is really quite high, and it is running despite the drizzle and the fact its a Monday night.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - They have some nice lighting all the way around the dome, I walked 2 laps.

They have some nice lighting all the way around the dome, I walked 2 laps.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - Not a great photo, but the roller coaster does go on top of and through that shopping mall on the left.

Not a great photo, but the roller coaster does go on top of and through that shopping mall on the left.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - The merry-go-round is more my speed.

The merry-go-round is more my speed.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - Surprisingly, the food here looks great to me, healthy, and reasonably priced. This wasnt the only option, next door was a Korean place that also look

Surprisingly, the food here looks great to me, healthy, and reasonably priced. This wasnt the only option, next door was a Korean place that also looked great. I will have to remember for my next trip, I am unlikely to pay a repeat visit on my two remaining nights this time.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - I argued with this robot for a while. I lost.

I argued with this robot for a while. I lost.


Of course I am back in Japan yet again - Oct and Nov 2018 - Final photo tonight, the rainbow equality arch lighting. I am confused as to why I didnt line myself up correctly in the middle.

Final photo tonight, the rainbow equality arch lighting. I am confused as to why I didnt line myself up correctly in the middle.


There are currently 3 comments - click to add

Brian on 2018-11-20 said:

Yes Ochanomizu , guitar street my favorite too. I know what you say David, too many guitars to choose from not seen in Australia and at the right price. Anyway I don't need anymore.


adriana on 2018-11-19 said:

Top photos of the night - Akihabara with the train on the overpass and Ochanomizu station with the people and the cranes etc. We have been on the ferris wheel which has a great view, but not the rollercoaster - surprise surprise!The garden I like is behind Tokyo Dome, just don't try to go during New Year as it is the only time it's closed and you only find out after you have walked miles to find it.


mother on 2018-11-19 said:

The train museum has some new features since we were there. There definitely wasn't a fancy dining car to eat in or we would have.



Contents

Day 1 - Saturday, 27 October 2018
  Posting from the future
  Posting from the present from the airport
  Singapore airport has no butterflies
Day 2 - Sunday, 28 October 2018
  Narita airport DNA test
  Nakano not Nagano
  I should be more tired
Day 3 - Monday, 29 October 2018
  Far beyond Takao
  Asakusa without the shrine
Day 4 - Tuesday, 30 October 2018
  A tale of two fish markets
  The overrated Shinagawa
Day 5 - Wednesday, 31 October 2018
  My short hike became very long
  The great Shibuya Halloween crush
Day 6 - Thursday, 1 November 2018
  Rocks and clouds on Izu Peninsula
  The unknown metropolis of Kitasenju
Day 7 - Friday, 2 November 2018
  Forced into danger on Mount Myogi
  Omu-Mapo-Tofu in Shinjuku
Day 8 - Saturday, 3 November 2018
  No train day
  I left Japan and went to Roppongi
Day 9 - Sunday, 4 November 2018
  Japan Airlines domestic experience
  Taco rice everywhere
Day 10 - Monday, 5 November 2018
  I found a mountain in Nago
  Night of the many cats
Day 11 - Tuesday, 6 November 2018
  I joined the imperial navy
  Okinawa does not understand beaches
Day 12 - Wednesday, 7 November 2018
  Castles and shopping centres
  I have developed a taste for tarts now
Day 13 - Thursday, 8 November 2018
  Island hopper
  Christmas light hysteria in Hakata
Day 14 - Friday, 9 November 2018
  Repeat mountain and beyond
  Surprisingly quiet Tenjin
Day 15 - Saturday, 10 November 2018
  Pollution day in Karatsu
  Reflecting on sumos in ramen stadium
Day 16 - Sunday, 11 November 2018
  Oops I did it again
  The healthy option
Day 17 - Monday, 12 November 2018
  Greyasaki
  I can see in the dark
Day 18 - Monday, 13 November 2018
  The over sharing of the view
  Leaving port
Day 19 - Wednesday, 14 November 2018
  The never ending hills of Nagasaki
  Crappy photos in Urakami
Day 20 - Thursday, 15 November 2018
  All about the bridge
  Lard night
Day 21 - Friday, 16 November 2018
  Deja Vu
  From Kanda to Harajuku
Day 22 - Saturday, 17 November 2018
  Hiking with others
  Brief trip to Ginza for curry
Day 23 - Sunday, 18 November 2018
  Greasers
  Quiet night in Shimbashi
Day 24 - Monday, 19 November 2018
  Kawagoe by train to see trains
  Roller coasters in the rain
Day 25 - Tuesday, 20 November 2018
  Magnificent Lake Okutama
  The long way back
Day 26 - Wednesday, 21 November 2018
  Long train to large Buddha at Nokogiri
  I warned you all
Day 27 - Thursday, 22 November 2018
  The grey and the train
  The end