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Nick's Japan Journal

by Nick

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Welcome to the blog of my trip to Japan back in August.

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Sayonara Tokyo. Konichiwa Hiroshima!

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Well, yesterday was a quiet day on the blogging front. I spent the entire day trawling round the department stores in and around Shinjuku, trying to get presents and souvenirs. I didn't do so well with my efforts but managed to exhaust myself nonetheless!

I didn't see anything noteworthy to photograph and blog.

Anyhow, I left Tokyo this morning. I was quite sad in a way, but was looking forward to seeing Hiroshima. I've just arrived after a six hour journey by train.

This is the view from the hotel room. The Hotel is absoloutely plush in comparison to the previos two I stayed at. The room is more than twice the size and most definitely a cut above :-) A bit more expensive, but worth it to have a bit of extra comfort for my last three nights in Japan.
22nd Aug 2006, 08:19   | tags:comments (4)

An evening out in Roppongi

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For a change, I had breakfast in the hotel this morning and I'm so glad I did, because I met this lovely couple: Justine and Mike. We arranged to meet this evening and had some drinks and chat in a Mexican bar in Roppongi.

We had looked for a bar they had found the previous night which served sake but sadly it was closed. So I had to make do with Jack Daniels I'm afraid :-D

They are at the start of a seven month trip around Asia and Australia including China, India, Cambodia, Thailand, Singapore and the list goes on.

They have left jobs and their lives behind in L.A. for the trip of a lifetime. I wish them both every success.

It turns out they are keeping a blog too, so I'll be able to keep up with their continuing adventure.

Good luck guys :-)
20th Aug 2006, 17:35   | tags:,,comments (0)

Harajuku

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I came to Harajuku not only to see the shrine but also because I heard about the kids that hang out on the bridge over the railway just by Meiji Jingu.

At weekends they are especially creative in the way they dress and look.

They call themselves the "cosu-play-zoku" (costume play tribe) apparently.
20th Aug 2006, 11:12   | tags:,comments (11)

Meiji Jingu Shrine

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The shrine (top) and a couple of pics from the surrounding "Inner Garden".

I think the things in the lower picture are sake drums but I could find no explanation in English.
20th Aug 2006, 11:06   | tags:,,comments (3)

Who needs traffic cones . . .

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. . . when you've got a handy waving traffic robot?

Couldn't believe this at first, thought it had to be a man doing the most boring job on earth!
20th Aug 2006, 10:54   | tags:,,comments (2)

Vending Machines!

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I took this pic because nothing says "vending machine" better than a whole load of vending machines! LOL!

These seem to be everywhere in Japan. I really don't know how they can all be making money, but they are great. I never have to carry a drink with me as I know that the minute I get thirsty one of these will be just around the corner, or at the next block, or by a shop or under a tree!

I was initially concerned about swigging my drinks whilst walking along because I read that it is supposed to pretty bad manners in Japan. However, I have seen quite a few Japanese people drinking away on the street and on train platforms, so I haven't been worrying too much since. Just as well, 'cause I'll surely die of thirst in this heat otherwise!
19th Aug 2006, 15:48   | tags:,comments (6)

Akihabara

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More neon from Tokyo!

Worth a mention though as it is the famous "Electric Town" in Akihabara. It is quite amazing the first time round because there are just block after block of stores selling electrical goods of every size shape and colour you care to imagine.

It's quite dazzling (and noisy) and well worth a visit. Just once though. I don't think the prices are generally any better than you would get at home, and the place gives you a bit of a head after a while. Makes your nerves jangle a bit.

I only returned because I wanted something specific and didn't stay for long.

A few views of Odaiba.

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Odaiba is an island in Tokyo Bay. Very modern and futuristic.

Last year when I came here, it was night and although the Ferris wheel was lit up spectacularly and the big amusement place was rocking, the rest of the island was dead.

So I decided to return during the day this time. The place was heaving with people. The island is obviously popular with the local poulace as a day out. The shopping centres were packed, as were the parks and the amusements/rides etc.

The very strange futuristic building pictured here is the Fuji TV Building and yes that is the Statue of Liberty, but that is Tokyo's Rainbow bridge in the background, so I haven't just jetted my way to New York to get the photo :-)