Bicycles, black suits, bonsai, white masks on faces, sushi, seaweed and shrines – sounds familiar? Bill and I landed in Tokyo and what a big change to Australia. We have navigated the Japanese Rail stations on the green line, survived the hordes on the early morning trips to work, bought our reserve seats for Kyoto, Takayama and Kanazawa, and tasted brilliant flavours in the local cafes.
Staying in a small hotel room in Uneno ( a bit confusing to find from the station) our window view has hundreds of electric cable wires strung up like twisted ropes. Everywhere we look there are well dressed men and women in suits, funky platform boots, nodding with kind blank faces. Everyone here is connected and on their phones.
Uneno Park is about 15 minute walk from the hotel and it’s good to see green spaces. Uneno zoo is famous for its pandas – adorable, chomping on bamboo. A market of wares and tasty food awaits us unexpectedly. Ceramics, bonsai, fabrics, jewellery, souvenirs etc are ready for the eager shoppers. We spot a Starbucks cafe and avoid it. Our stroll through the gardens is pleasant with mild temperatures – I must be the only one wearing a T shirt as the Japanese folk and tourists all wear jackets, coats and warmer clothes.
The Autumn Dahlia festival is on and flowers breath taking. Bamboo fences, water fountains and lots of pretty umbrellas. Even a butterfly has his place on the flower.
Meals are relatively cheap. We have tried a beer and drank green tea. Chopsticks I can use but awkwardly. Camembert cheese fried in seaweed sheets, rolled eggs with white bait and seaweed. Tuna with green onions. Black geoduck with sesame salt. I notice a mani crab miso. Bill and I are impressed with the service, helpfulness and attention to detail.
In the park we see Karamon ( Chinese style) temple built in the 1600’s. Gold dragons adorn the front. Lanterns are popular, steps are everywhere to climb and the elderly even ride their bikes confidently.
Today we are visiting Shinjuku and fascinated by the intense colour in the shops, the merchandise of Miffy, Pokemon, Miss Kitty – Godzilla stares at us as we walk down the busy streets – a sea of black backpacks and me standing out in a red striped T shirt. Bill is hungry again so I’ll stop now. More pics and stories to come. I will leave you with these words – Ikebukuro, Narita, Yamanote line, APPLE STORE and a screaming toddler.