Maranouchi Madness

Originally published on 19th March 2015 on Blogger

A well deserved sleep in and then down to Shinjuku station to get our Japan Rail Pass, and book our first Shinkansen (bullet train) for tomorrow. Yippee….

We have become very accustomed to eating sushi for breakfast.

Off to Tokyo station. Wow. This area is called Maranouchi. It’s huge, and very confusing. We went to see Character Street….. A whole strip of shops such as Kitty, Miffy, Pokemon etc. AND a collectible car shop. Woo hoo. I have a vintage Tokyo taxi for my car cabinet.

Back on the train, to Asakusa, to see Senso-Ji. The oldest temple in Japan. More than a thousand years old, this temple was very beautiful. I wish I could shrink these temples so Mum could put them in her cabinet. They are soooo big, very impressive.

A soba and tempura prawn restaurant for lunch. Most restaurants specialise in a couple of things. This place was very traditional. The food was amazing, and I was very grateful for Yoshimi’s lesson in Japanese table manners. We all knew how to hold our bowls, the correct way to slurp our soba noodles and where to rest our hashi (chopsticks).

Our next stop was a completely frivolous spending of money, but Mya was so keen, and it seemed a very Tokyo thing to do. A neko kissa- the ubiquitous cat cafe! ¥600 (about $7), per person, to sit and play with cats for half an hour. Beautiful, pedigree cats….. Mya was in heaven and Finn also loved it. He was having a bit of a culture shock meltdown and a quiet half an hour with eight lovely kitties was just the thing to put everything back in perspective.

Finn had reached terminal velocity at this stage, so we came home. He bunkered down on the couch with the wifi, and Mya and I headed back out to Shibuya crossing. We saw the Hachiko statue, and drank an iced matcha latte at Starbucks, overlooking the busiest pedestrian crossing in the world. Awesome.

Yoshimi told Mya and I that she lived in Vancouver for a year as an exchange student. I asked her if it was beautiful? She smiled and replied that it was ok, but she lives in Japan, as if the very thought of anything else coming close to her home was totally absurd. I haven’t been to Vancouver but it is wonderful here.

A beautiful woman approached me at Senso-Ji today, asking if we were ok. She lived in Ballarat, on exchange, for two months, years ago. She was so helpful and friendly. Many people just stop to check you are not lost, and even to apologise for the weather??? (It was raining today). No graffiti, no crime, respect for elders, the most amazing train system, it’s a different world.

If you would like to see how crazy the crossing at Shibuya is follow a link to a short video here.

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