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We are Japanese if you please....
Rating: ( 4.5 ) ( 4 votes )

Tokyo, Japan
Oct 16, 2004 04:24

Pros: great fun and very entertaining
Cons: none

Tokyo is fast and furious. Our first taste of getting around was actually not as hard as we imagined and the Japanese are really helpful. That evening we explored our area, the temples and our experience our first Japanese toilet system! here goes......

*sit on seat- which activates control panel and has been warmed especially to right temperature,
* cue music or sounds of running water to disguise any embarrassing sounds,
*once completed action water jets strategically position to aim at the bum with warm water and adjust pressure with control unit.
* Finally sensor flush, move out of way quickly!

Met our tour group this morning for tour briefing at the temple- only 7 of us and seem like a good bunch! The 7am meeting meant the temple was empty of tourists and only a few locals praying and taking a Sunday morning walk. Onto Yosemite park and the most famous temple. The bridge area where teenagers hang out- dressed up as Goths, Barbie dolls and cartoon characters- very weird. our guide explained they are rebelling against the shy Japanese culture of the "group" and want to be more individual and extroverted

That afternoon we had great city views from the top of the government buildings and toured the area of Shinjitsu- where Tokyo comes to life with crazy shops, big crowds, weird street acts, red light district, huge neon lights and great gadget shops. Pat was in gadget heaven with the latest, newest electronic goods and as our camera had packed in it was a great place for a new one- at a third of UK prices.

Dinner that evening was on cushions on the floor (1st of many) and our first taste of heaven! The food out here is amazing! The big thing out here is to cook your own food, so the raw ingredients are brought to the table with a little pottery cooking pot with parrafin candles underneath- very effective!

The next day we caught our first bullet train to Takayman, a sleepy country town in the middle of the mountains with a pretty stream running through it, and a slow pace of life. women sweeping the cobbled streets with old brooms and characteristic little wooden huts selling Sake- the national drink. A nice contrast to Tokyo.

The bullet trains are superb. highly efficient and fast- up to 260 ks p/h and they run on time down to the last second- very impressive. we are staying in Ryokans- a traditional Japanese guest house. Remember the film Shogun? exactly like this......

* Greeted at the door by the owner- bend head to get through the small door
* pretty characteristic wooden building, dark wood.
* shoes swapped for a pair of slippers, clothes swap for Japaese robe
* escorted to your room for green tea, on floor cu shins and mini table
* empty room with Tatami mats for sleeping area- futon type ma tress laid out on floor
* white screens of paper act as sliding doors
* shower time in another area, and then into a big hot bath for relaxation time
* early breakfast in room served.... dried fish with sticky rice and green tea (not good that early!)

Japan really is different, the customs the way of life. I think i am going to like it here...........