Friday, April 12, 2013

It's Over!

Well I'm back, took a few days to write this as I was winding down and going back to work. (Fun with a capital F and U) Overall I had a great time despite the weather; apparently Crowded House were correct about that.
I am very proud of the amount of ground I covered in 7 days, Large hunk of Tokyo seen with visits to Fuji, Matsumoto and Kyoto. Even better I have a short checklist of things to do if and when I return.
*See more of Kyoto
*Book ahead for Studio Ghibli
*Go to Kofu; I passed it on the train and the period Buildings there look amazing. Not only Japanese style but Western style buildings as well. (Not sure of the providence) They are apparently mostly reconstructed but a castle and a temple to see!

List will grow with time I am sure.
Oh yeah I did hit *another* cat cafe while killing time to catch a plane...

I think I have a problem...

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Day 5 &6 mountains and amazing views

Well I've been slow writing as I have been doing a lot of train travel over the past three days. I have taken in Kyoto, Fujikyu and Matsumoto. That's a lot of train riding but it has made my Japan Rail pass pay for itself. (If you ever visit Japan and want to to take in more than just Tokyo, it is a worthy investment.)
Alpine Japan is a very pretty place even it's pouring rain, Nagano prefecture in particular has some amazing vistas. I have bookmarked to see more of Kyoto (I only had a few hours which was taken up looking at the Imperial Palace) and a visit to Kofu next time I have chance to visit.
I inevidiably try local fast food when away, In particular I try Pizza and McDonalds at some stage. Why you ask? Well McDonalds is almost always going to be similar, the variations tell you about the local culture; for example in Montreal I ordered just fries and was instantly assumed to be ordering a Poutine. In Japan you can get seaweed shake for your Fries and they do a Burger based in the popular Hamberg steaks they eat here. Pizza is the opposite, everyone does it different. Japan does odd things to European food, and Pizza seems to be no exception. Chain pizza stores serve up Pizza very much like North American Pizza chains, but I have seen pizza advertised with raw egg, shabu shabu style steak and heavily sauce covered mince.
But finally I leave you with this, two giant gold cats from Fujikyu highlands amusement park.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Too tired day4

A short one today as I did the Tokyo to Kyoto trip to see the old Imperial palace. The Shinkesen train is really incredible; fast and efficient. (With super polite staff who bow when entering and leaving a carriage)
The geek in me squeed a little when I was able to reserve a seat on a train that was already in motion. But more on Kyoto tomorrow, I leave you some cherry blossoms till then.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Day 3 Kitteh Cafe!

So it took two days for me to go to the famous Cat Cafe.
It's an amazing idea, you pay 1000yen to go into a room and entertain a mob of cats for an hour. Not only that, but the price includes wifi, drinks and snacks. I honestly think that this is he closest I have been to using a prostitute in my life, I have basically paid to get my cat fix far away from home. (I also walked past and resisted my pangs of curiosity and did not visit the Maid cafe. Same idea but with Japanese girls dressed like Maids rather than Cats)
But seriously, it's a gorgeous idea and run by two people who adore their feline masters. There is light music, a big screen that features kitten pics of many of the cats, and the staff even will upload your pics to the Internet for you. These people are at the coal face of getting more cute cats on he Internet, and for that I salute them!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Day 2 Wet and not so wild

I missed doing a part two to my journey as I was so tired getting in last night. Flight was ok, full of kids and therefore no sleep or rest for the eight hour duration.
But I'm here, and the weather turned to crap the minute I left the hotel. Misty and wet, I set out anyways. Managed to dip my toe into the train system, visit Chiba, the Imperial Palace in Tokyo and Shibuya. The train system while a little dense to outsiders, really is as good as it is made out to be. Fast efficient and tries very hard to be accessible to non Japanese speakers.
Things I have learnt:

1. Hello Kitty does Toyota ads
2. The walls of a Japanese castle are thick, really thick. Like three meters of stone thick.
3. Rare Beef here is ridiculously better than rare cooked beef in Australia. The very rare roast I ate at lunch was amazing and it was in a buffet!
4. They have pre made meal section in supermarkets, and it's as big if not bigger than the produce section.
5. Even if you can't speak much Japanese, TV here is stupidly entertaining. It's like TV made in Australia or the US 20 years ago, but with all the HD polish of today's television.

Till next time... (Still working on the picture formatting, sorry again may have to fix when I'm home again)

Monday, April 1, 2013

The journey North (part the first)

So my journey began very early on a Monday Morning at a surprisingly busy Tullamarine airport. Security check done and plane boarded I have ended up in the small but very pleasant Coolangata airport awaiting my flight to Narita. Downsides so far; airline serves Pepsi not Coke, security lines are very long and I am leaving Morri and the Kitteh hoard behind for a week.
Good points so far is that it seems that airport security has chilled out over the past two years :) plus I got a free exit row on the big flight so that is grande as well (oh and free and decent wifi here at the airport)

Update to come on arrival at my destination.

Ps: it seems that blog formatting goes to shit when you use the blogger iPad app. Please bare with me..