Trains trains and more trains

This morning we got up at about 8.30am and caught a train to Kamata where we changed lines to Tokyo station. Guess what, we changed lines again, to Akihabara, which is the ‘technology’ district.

Akihabara district:
sany0111.jpg

For the sake of not boring anyone I’ll start skipping the exact trains we catch. But there are a fair few each time we go anywhere. But they are fairly frequent and clean and safe and cheapish. We pay about 120 yen ($1.30AUS) for each train we ride.

Japan Trains

In Akihabara we had breakfast at McDonalds. Jodie wouldn’t be adventurous and order the McGriddle which was a burger made out of pancakes with an egg, sausage, cheese and syrup. Couldn’t blame her though. Then we went shopping! I was very restrained and only managed to buy a couple of power cords so I could use my notebook back at the Ryoken. Jodie bought a video camera and a still camera as planned, saving herself several hundred dollars (compared to Australia) in the process. I told everyone before I left Australia I was going to see the movie star Jackie Chan while I was in Japan. And I did! We ran into him in one of the technology stores. He’s a quite guy and didn’t have much to say and seemed a bit flat, but let us take a photo with him. So he’s a really great guy.

Its Jackie Chan

We had lunch in a cafe called Seattle Burger. Our two burgers and drinks cost us about $22AUS total which was a good price for food, and similar prices in other places when we’ve eaten. After lunch we went to Asakusa to see the temple. Jodie was very excited to find the temple from memory when she had last been there about 5 years ago. The front of the temple is lined with a long row of stalls where you can buy lots of Japanese souvenirs.

Temple
Jodie

It was getting quite cold and we could even see our breath, always something fun for people from North Queensland. It got dark early too with all the lights coming on at 4pm which made it seem much later than it was. When we had finished walking about the temple we went for a rickshaw ride with our driver, Tomo. He took us for a 10 minute ride around the district.

Tomo the rickshaw driver

We came back to our accomodation for a little while before heading out again to find some dinner. We went to the Kamata area and had dinner in an Italian like restaurant. After dinner we went for a stroll around the Kamata area and then caught the train back home. So endith our first full day in Japan.

Tokyo, Japan

Jo dropped us off at the Cairns international airport at 8.30am and we checked into our Jetstar flight. We quickly got through customs and security and then waited in the airport lounge. There isn’t much in the way of shopping at the Cairns airport but we didn’t have to wait too long.

Our plane boarding time was running to schedule and we only left a little later than expected. The seating on the plane was 2 seats, 4 seats, 2 seats. We had two outside seats which was good as we didn’t disturb anyone when we wanted to get up. Both Jodie and I had prepurchased the in-flight entertainment unit. They were a bit slow in handing the units out and when the did arrive the content was a bit disappointing. For example they had old movies like Mission Impossible 3 and The Aviator. As well as the movies they also had TV shows such as Scrubs (yay!… but only one eppisode) music, and music videos. Even with the limited selection it helped to pass the time.

Entertainment Unit

I had prepurchased food as well but Jodie had not. So I got a choice when they brought out the meal, but those who hadn’t prepaid had to wait until evryone else had been served and could only buy food if there was stuff left over. Jodie and I made friends with two of the airline staff and scored free food; including chocolate!!!

Free Food

We arrived in Orsaka at about 5.10pm after about a 7 hour flight.

Photo of Jodie and I as we first arrived in Japan.
Just arrived in Japan

We then had to get off the plane and wait in ‘transit’ for our 6.30pm flight to Nagoya. That was only a short one hour flight.

When we arrived in Nagoyoa we were in a bit of a rush because we thought we would be late for the train. But we passed through customs and immigration really quickly. At the airport we were actually able to catch and earlier train then we expected. Eight stations later we got off at Nagoya terminal and got tickets for the fast bullet train, Shinkansen, to Tokyo. That was a two hour trip and unfortunately smoking was allowed on the train (yuck).

We got off the bullet train at Tokyo station and changed to the subway line to Kamata station which took another half hour on the train. Then… we got off at Kamata station and changed to another subway line and about 6 minutes later got off at our final train station of Chidoricho. We then walked the final 50m to our accommodation, staying at the Kangetsu Ryokan. At Ryokan is between a bed and breakfast and a normal hotel. So has some hotel facilities but is still very traditional. One little note. Our room has the smallest toilet room that I have even been in. When you close the door and ‘sit down’ your knees press against the door.

We were exhausted but hungry so walked to the nearby AM/PM store (a 24 hour convenience store) and got cheap $3 microwav pasta meals. Jodie says they were only worth the $3. Then it was time for bed, before we start our first day in Tokyo tomorrow.

Cairns

I left work, on my last day, at about 2.50pm. I picked up Jodie from her place and we started our drive to Cairns. A quick stop at the Deeragun service station for fuel and food before we continued on our trek north. We got into Cairns about 7.20pm and went into the city near the Night Markets. The Travelex store at the Night Markets was closed so we walked around the block to another money exchange store so Jodie could get some Japanese yen. All cashed up, we drove to Brett and Jo’s where we would spend the night.