• 27 . 07 . 05
  • Arriving in Tokyo to meet Mum and Jan, I was happy to find they’d brought British food!

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Arrival In Megacity

Barring a minor hiccup involving a confusion over terminals and far more shuttle bus journeys than I should’ve needed, meeting Mum and Jan at Narita Airport went ok. A salient tip for the would-be Japan tourguide – don’t assume that non Japanese speakers will be able to get into Central Tokyo on their own, because it’s not as easy as you’d think. Also, make sure you know what flight number you’re supposed to be meeting! We stayed in a decent hotel in Ueno, the New Izu Hotel, which had reasonable rates and comfortable, if functional rooms. Mum decided that futons, which would have given her the authentic Japanese experience, were not the answer to a long-haul flight and instead opted for ‘real’ beds. After 12 hours in the air, I don’t blame her!

As well as lots of British food, including such luxuries as Cadbury’s chocolate and proper cheese, she unfortunately also brought the weather with her, which meant we spent the first day in the midst of a Japanese typhoon. The thunderclouds had a silver (well, neon) lining though, as we turned the missed opportunity of sightseeing into a visit to Akihabara, the sprawling discount electronics district, to pick up some new toys. I treated myself to a PlayStation Portable, just because I can buy one without being sued.

What surprised me most about Tokyo was the difference in atmosphere between the different areas. Ginza was packed with expensive shops and incredibly hectic, while the Imperial Palace had a sort of majestic calm about it and vast open spaces. Asakusa was as touristy as you can get, Ueno was packed to the rafters with pachinko parlours (which we tried and lost at) and Akihabara obviously with games arcades and electronics stores. It’s a pity we only had such a short time, as this is one of the most exciting cities in the world. When I first came to Japan, I wasn’t particularly bothered about coming to Tokyo, but now that I’ve been there for a couple of days, I’ll definitely be coming back and seeing what the other districts have to offer.

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