First 6 days of vacation
Last Friday we, I and my 2 travelling companions, got a ride to the airport from a wonderful friend. On Saturday (local, which is 13 hours later than it is at home) we arrived, found the booth at the airport to get us a train reservation, and a "suica" card, which we can charge up with money, and which we can use on the local rail and subway. They were as prepared for this trip as I was unprepared! We got onto the rail, which took us to the first section of Tokyo (Shinjuku?) we stayed in. Then began our first adventure -- getting out of the rail station.
We were looking for the West exit -- but could only find South. (We learned later we'd have needed to ignore the "exit" signs and go down at least one level in order to find the west exit.) We looked at the map on the street, and guessed -- close but wrong -- as to which street to take. It was just a matter of coming back one block though, and there we were at the hotel.
That night we went to a festival a shortish distance away. And I coined a new collective word. You know -- A murder of crows, a parliament of owls, a *crush* of people getting off the rail at our exit...
Back late, slept well. On Sunday we went a good ways further out and attended another festival. This one (I believe) marking the end of the Fuji climbing season. We had a mini-adventure with the young man (6 yo?) who knew only a little English (yes, ok, Tom & Jerry), but who kept asking us questions and climbing all over the train seats.
Monday we went to a fish market, apparently quite a famous one, with some other friends who were in town. 6am is not when I want to get up, be it on vacation or during the normal work-week.
Tuesday we changed hotels. Finding the new hotel (which was closer to the train station than the old one was) took over an hour. To add insult to injury, my pedometer was in "evil" mode and gave me credit for only a few thousand steps. One of my travelling companions had a walking tour guide though Old Tokyo, and we followed it. Wonderful. Walked off for Tonkatsu for dinner, and got rained on thoroughly on the way back to the hotel. We'd left our umbrellas to dry off in the room. Oops.
Wednesday we wandered around the area near a famous ... Shrine I think. There were a lot of vendors, and I bought a cheap Chinese pocket watch. Now I have a watch to keep on local time. My home watch is telling me that it's 7:24 am. Then we took a ferry past many a lovely bridge, down to a park, and took tea. Very peaceful. Quiet but for the loud cries of many an insect.
I was quite disappointed to miss taking a picture of the happy (and very large) crows who were all hopping in the one field, but who flew off when we got close enough to think about pictures.)
Then we took the rail to the Electric City, shopping to find items before they're released to the rest of the world. Bought one item there. Then on to a Soba shop for dinner -- very challenging -- We didn't know enough of what to do, and they didn't have enough English to tell us. And I'm afraid I broke their spice dispenser. I didn't know to pull the peg out of the bottom and shake it. It had looked like she was pantomiming us to push it in. When dinner was done, we were all pretty tired, and I have two full-fledged blisters (one on each foot) and while my heat rash (?) from the day before is not worse, it's not better, so we came back to the hotel.
This is our last night here. Tomorrow we head off for Yokohama, and the World Science Fiction Convention for 2007. My travelling companions & I are staying in different hotels, at different train exits, so I don't look forward to finding my way to my hotel -- in which I'm not registered as myself -- staying with the spouse who had less vacation than I -- or to hooking up with them after the con -- but things will work out. It will all be good.
The buttons are labeled in Japanese, and I don't remember which is spell check and which is post, so forgive me if I post this unchecked. that is I hope I can post it...