Monday, September 5, 2011

2011 - NZ To SF - Day 115

Day 115: (5 September 2011):
- Fully awake as enter Tokyo & off highway.
- Listen carefully to announcements. (Music for near stations).
- Surprised i can understand some. “sugi wa shinjuku eki higashi (ko?).”
- Happy to see my bag unloaded.
- Arrive early morning. Not many people around yet. Familiar blds.
- Grab stuff & enter station. Find JR to Yokohama.
- Train not crowded but full. Pretty fast.
- Get off station, after exiting once by accident & looking around, found some lockers I can use by subway entrance.
- Walk towards Landmark Tower. Nissan HQ. Walkways.
- Try to cool off at mall at base of tower, but not really cool.
- Tower not open until 10.
- Sit around a bit, look around tower grounds. Leg not fully feeling too terrible so decide break plan & keep going.
- Walk by amusement park: game sheds & roller coasters & ferris wheel w / giant clock.
- Circular road-crossing bridges. Large stores, etc.
- Wask to the old brick storehouses, but closed! look around outside & continue. Now all stores & trendy restaurants. New yet-to-open cup (?) ramen museum.
- Continue walking towards Chinatown.
- Rain. Quite nice by harbourside walkway & cruise terminal.
- Raised walkway between buildings.
- City streets pretty. Trees.
- Enter Chinatown. Many gates. Lanterns, narrow alleys, but colourful & neat.
- Lots of similar food as in Kobe, but less street food & more restaurants. Some plastic food (buns) look tasty.
- Found the multistory complex mentioned in LP. Pretty cool atrium with lanterns. Walked around a bit, ended up in some yet-to-be opened places due to back stairs.
- Didn’t visit a nearby tower I saw.
- Follow signs back.
- Walk around old storehouses, go in one. Trendy stores, nice lobby area.
- Nice Japanese city centre w / blds & stuff.
- Walked back to tower via the causeway. Nice park. Rest a bit. Fish in water. Old tram railway?
- Should’ve taken a long escalator / moving sidewalk from beginning.
- Tower open, so go up, even though weather is questionable.
- Bowing. Very fast elevators, mostly accelerating & decelerating.
- Great view at top. Harbour. Tokyo in distance (Shinjuku, new tower). On clear day, can see Fuji, but not today.
- Box-like blds below, in typical Jap. style. Rain patches.
- Ice cream cone tower.
- Sit & enjoy Yokohama beer & watch view for a while.
- Walk back to station, ask about Yokohama ramen & train to Narita.
- One place (which ben rec’ed) is closed on Monday, try other recommendation. Have ~1.5 hrs before I need catch train.
- Glad there is a cheap local train, not just express. Not that much slower, either. Didn’t have to take bus.
- Got to Yokohama, but there was no obvious ramen posted outside that was Yokohama style. Nice walk. Also intimidated by lack of Jap.
- In the end, ate at Ippudo across the street.
- Nice walk back, busy stores, lights, person holding sign with siren light on head, etc.
- Glad to get inside the department store connecting to station, as they have A/C.
- A bit sad but also exciting, since is last time outside on this trip.
- Get bag & ticket. Ask person at platform: “sumimasin” “hai.” Ask in English, he look not sure either, but sign says Narita.
- Long ride through Tokyo. Watch as approach & depart from close to new tower. Train quite fast, as usual.
- long passage through the countryside, where I had my first glimpse of Japan a couple of years ago.
- Uniformed school kids.
- Some English speakers got off @ Narita, not ariport, was considering making sure with them, but decided not to.
- Things pretty smooth at airport. Use phone card to call parents.
- Use leftover amount to call Ben. Out of money, insert more coins. A meter showing how much time left. When down to Y10 coins, rate of insert barely kept up with time!
- Turns out is A380 Singapore Air.
- Took Japanese meal option. Soba.
- Too lazy / tired to explore upper floor, especially with leg pain. Sit not in aisle or window.
- Looked up a few doctors, tried to make appt, but decided to delay due to $150 reg fee.