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Showing posts from June, 2012

Outlets and outta Japan

The horizon is glowing with the first signs of the new day and we are heading home. I welcome the light and perhaps even the destination, but I am sad that the trip is ending. On our final day in Japan we sleep in and do not have our bags packed until check out time arrives. We leave these weighty objects with the concierge and set out for those last few things we need to buy before we return home; bags of quality Japanese shampoo, conditioner and body wash that is so cheap here, so expensive at home. Lunch is yakiniku and fried chicken with rice at an underground eatery. Then we have promised Alex some dessert and all share a plate of deliciously milky ice cream, custard and fruits. The fruits are devoured fastest of all, for we have missed them so much during our trip. I sacrifice a trip to Den-Den town, so close to us, to buy model railway goods. For I have promised B a visit to an outlet centre. There is one at Rinku Town, but 5 minutes away from the airport. We ca

Overloaded to Osaka

Just for once I'd like an overseas trip where I've got nothing but a small pack on my back. Right now I feel like a pack horse. There's a huge and heavy suitcase pack on my back, a full daypack on my front, one hand is dragging a big roller bag and the other is carrying plastic bags. They were previously much lighter but now they have bags of shampoo, Alex's toy trains, snacks, clothes purchases, gadgets, spare umbrellas and more. I do so love the things they sell in Japan, but I increasingly hate shopping while travelling. I find standing around waiting in shops far more tiring than long walks exploring. Fortunately the commuter trains we catch in Tokyo and Osaka today are not packed as I am taking up the space of more than two passengers. We say a sad goodbye to the trusty Prince hotel in Shinjuku and ride the Chuo Line to Tokyo station for the Shinkansen to Osaka. B gets lost in Tokyo station while hunting for some food. This is why we usually can't go

A shopping day in Shinjuku

As midnight falls the last few trains servicing Shinjuku rattle outside our window, far below us. I am sad, always sad when the time comes to leave this place. It is so alien, so unlike Sydney. A simple room, small, whites, greys and dark wood contrasts with the neon extravaganza outside, the riot of crazy locals and their establishments. Guys with mad hair, girls dressed in anything ranging from gothic to cutesy, teetering on high heels. Tokyo Skytree in the distance on the left B has an appointment at the hairdressers this morning, but then they change it to midday due to a lack of English speakers. So we go in search of breakfast at a cafe. Most places are still closed, but we find a small underground cafe called Aaliyah's that advertised itself as having the best french toast in Tokyo. I have no reason to doubt them. It is the best french toast I've ever had, soft, sweet, milky, served with cream. Alex fell asleep as B had her haircut. I wander around the local area

High rolling at FujiQ

Last night I was watching a Japanese documentary about a future volcanic eruption of Mount Fuji. Now we are going to the scene of the action, in more ways than one. As B ascends what was once the world's tallest roller coaster, Fujiyama (literally Fuji Mountain) Alex and I gaze upwards. It's nice having a little excuse to stay down the bottom. Not that I need one. There is no f#!$ing way I'm going up there. Behind us there is a blast of compressed air as cars shoot out and up of Dodonpa, another roller coaster, the world's fourth fastest and still the highest acceleration. We are at the FujiQ amusement part. If the weather was nice we would have a magnificent view of Mount Fuji. Instead there are grey clouds above. But we didn't come here for sightseeing, or even roller coaster rides. Not really. Instead, the main attraction is Thomasland, a Thomas the Tank Engine themed section of the park designed for young kids. We had caught the Holida

From Sapporo to Shinjuku

Nine and a half hours of travel and we have returned to what feels like our second home, the Prince Hotel in Shinjuku. The weather was wet all the way down, the first time we have actually needed the umbrella. We left Sapporo at 7am on the Super Hokuto. Unfortunately, we were seated on the right, away from the ocean views. Not enough space for our luggage either. Three hours later and it was straight across the platform at Hakodate to the Super Hakucho. A bit more scenic on that train, with views of the lonely grey sea and the quiet villages beside it. I should love to have stopped and dine at some restaurant overlooking it. But then it was beneath the Seikan tunnel and back to Honshu and Shin-Aomori, a trip that took two hours. From Shin-Aomori up the escalators and on to the Hayate Shinkansen to Omiya in Tokyo, three and a quarter hours later. I spent the time writing my blog, amusing Alex and sleeping, as did B. Finally a local train to Shinjuku station, wher