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Unread 19 Mar 17, 09:56 PM  
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Hannikins
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Bucket List or Bust! - Tokyo & Shanghai - November 2016 - Day 5

Bucket List or Bust! - Tokyo & Shanghai - November 2016 - Day 5

Today start early… like 4am early! When I had booked the early morning 9am flight to Tokyo I hadn’t considered that we’d need to get up at the crack of dawn to get there!

We finished our last minute packing, we were far too early for breakfast so we polished off a few of the sweets and a crushed rather sad looking packet of mini cheddars I had left from the hand luggage before heading down to reception.

A hotel at night is eerily quiet, early morning it’s even creepier.

I looked around to see if I could see a night porter but there was no one in sight, so I wandered over to the reception desk to see if there was a bell or something to get attention.

And then I saw him, sat on a chair, slumped against the wall, phone in hand, was the receptionist. Fast asleep, mouth wide open, snoring softly. He looked so peaceful it seemed a shame to wake him. Imagine something like this:



I tried the terribly British solution of a loud cough


…..



nope, still asleep.



….


I tried loudly opening my bag, moving my feet, clearing my treat again. By this point Adam got a fit of the giggles and had to walk away, I was briefly considering taking my phone out to grab a photo when Adam dropped our hand luggage loudly behind me.

I turned around to look and when I turned back around to see if it had had the desired effect there he was.



Stood up, wide awake, smiling. I’d missed it but Adam said he’d never seen anyone move so quick!

ARGH! I jumped back from the desk slightly

“How can I help you miss?”

was he kidding?!?!

the exchange continued as if nothing had happened. It was a kinda unspoken thing, we’d caught him sleeping on the job, he knew it, none of us were going to mention it

We checked out and we asked him to order a cab. Our plan had been to get the metro but as with Disney we just couldn’t be bothered and cabs were pretty cheap anyway.

The cab arrived in no time and out jumped a young man who I had serious doubts was even legally allowed to drive… but then now I’m over 30 I seem to think anyone younger than 24 shouldn’t be allowed out without parental supervision, they all look so darn young!

ANYWAY.

The cab was on the small side so I left Adam and the receptionist struggling to get the cases into the tiny boot and jumped in.

It was clearly an old cab, it had that musty smell about it.

Eventually Adam came over to get in but the cabbie ushered him around to the other side, gesturing to explain that the door didn’t open…

I shuffled over, Adam got in and we reached for the seat belts…. except there weren’t any… well there were belts, just nowhere to put them!

I looked at Adam, he looked at me and we were about to say something but at that exact moment our “probably not legal” driver sped off.

I held the seatbelt in place, like that would make a difference, and grabbed the armrest.

Adam just grabbed anything he could!

What followed was the scariest most nerve wrecking 17 minutes of my life. I’m been on some scary rides in my life but give me multi rides on sheikra anyday over this, we were clearly gonna die!

I’m not sure what the speed limit was, whatever it was we were clearly doing over it, weaving in and out of the lanes over the 6 lane suspended motorway and back again. Getting VERY close to barriers and cars alike. I just kept thinking what if we crashed? if we survived impact by some miracle, seatbelt free, without decorating the motorway with our innards, how would we get out…. only one of the sodding doors opened!

After 10 minutes I couldn’t take it anymore I looked at the floor. It was then that I noticed the license. The guy in the picture was clearly very much old enough to drive, if this wasn’t a giveaway that this wasn’t our driver, the moustache was, our driver hadn’t even sprouted bum fluff yet!. I shut my eyes and prayed.

Finally, after what left like an eternity, our ordeal was over and we screeched to a halt at the terminal. Adam paid up (£17… so still a bargain ) and I started to prise each of my fingers from the armrest since they were clamp tightly shut around it.

We grabbed the luggage and headed inside, both a little shell-shocked from the experience.

We were mega early, the journey should have taken just over 30 mins, we’d done it in 17….

Luckily checkin was open so we dropped the bags off and went through security.

When we reached the gates we were both starving and after waiting for our heart rates to settle back down we went in search of food. There wasn’t really anywhere open so we just had a wander instead, the terminal was tiny though and we soon came back just as the main cafe opened. A queue was already forming so we joined it.

I wasn’t really feeling the breakfast offering and Adam spotted they did pizza’s so he ordered on of those. There was no way I was eating a whole pizza pre 7am so I said I’d just nab a slice and have a large coffee instead.

We grabbed a seat and waited. Finally the pizza arrived with two coffees and it was surprisingly good… so I may have had more than 1 slice in the end total cost was 158 CNY (approx £18.50)



We now had over an hour to kill so we got chairs at the gate to setup camp alongside everyone else.

I read my book for a bit whilst Adam exchanged the remainder of our currency to yen and spent the last few coins on some water for the flight.

Judging by the number of people at the gate it was going to be a quiet ish flight. There appeared to be a lot of groups of teenage girls heading out and “the thing” seemed to be taking selfies at the gate, not sure why as it’s not particularly a recognised or even interesting landmark but getting the right angle and level of “cuteness” was high on the priority list, for many it took several attempts, it was fascinating to watch.

Finally we board and found our seats, we were sharing a row of three with a lovely old man who ushered us in.

The pre flight video was the weirdest I’ve ever seen. “Nerds” in green pants, braces and weird timmy mallet glasses….



really went with the serious flight safety tone…

I was surprised when very early on in the flight we were offered breakfast, you could choose between Chinese or English breakfast, I wasn’t feeling brave so I went with the English, so did everyone else on the flight bizarrely.



hmmm yes, by far the worst plane food ever consumed. Or not consumed, a few nibbles and I was done!

The rest of the flight was pretty uneventful and we landed a few hours later







The weather wasn’t looking bad!

On landing I left Adam with the baggage and headed over to find the wifi collection desk. It wasn’t far away but it wasn’t easy to find either and I had to ask a few people.

Once I found the desk the lady handed over the goods in exchange for my credit card deposit and klook paperwork, sorted!

Now our plan was to purchase a suica card each, I tried at the machines but I had to order it from the desk so join the queue for that, it wasn’t complicated, just a faff!

Cards purchased and loaded with 3000 yen each we made out way to the monorail, We were getting this to Hamamatsucho

The monorail was lovely and quiet and as the trip was 20 mins we had chance to catch our breathe and take it all in.





As Hamamatsucho we had to change onto the Yamanote Line to Akihabara. This was a little busier and trickier with luggage but we took it slowly and made it with very little fuss. Our hotel was attached to the station at Akihabara so the walk was less than a minute to the check in desk.

We were staying at the remm and I wasn’t 100% sure about it as I knew the room was small.

Like REALLY small



We had to line the luggage up in the narrow corridor and move it each time we wanted to use the bathroom. Still it was nice enough and very convenient.

It also had another fancy toilet for Adam to play around with



It’s probably just me but I really find icons of buttcheeks on buttons more than a little disturbing….



Anyway we sat for a few mins and freshened up before deciding to head out to explore a little.

I had intended on going to nakano broadway but we were both a bit knackered so we decided to take it easy around Akihabara instead.



First stop was super potato



this place was crazy, they had TONS of stuff we wanted











We were in here for ages but we didn’t buy anything, we wanted to though!

We wandered up and down the main road a little, taking everything in. We thought about getting a late lunch but neither of us were that hungry so we started heading back towards the station.



We spotted Taito Station on the way so popped inside



Now this place really was INSANE.

I can’t imagine what it would be like to work in here. We worked our way up and explored all the floors, the noise, the lights, it was chaos!

Next we headed outside to check out the Gashapon machines I’d spotted in an alleyway near the hotel.

There were literally HUNDREDS of these things, they even had a big section of them in Akihabara station.



I supposed they are a bit like kinder egg toys but here they go CRAZY for them. I really wanted a cat sushi one so I went looking for this…



Now you may be thinking that’s the weirdest kinder surprise toy you’ve ever seen, I can assure you this is NOTHING by Gashapon standards, you can get

pugs..



hats for your cats



a miniature peeing dog, bet you’d never thought you needed that right?



Random household items like “Bread”



Pants for your phone, because let’s face it, it’s naked without a pair



and probably the most disturbing of all… USED pants… yep

__________________

Nov 16-Shanghai & Japan - In Progress
Nov 15-Hong Kong & Singapore - Coming Soon!
June 15-Rome & Florence
Dec 14-WDW | 13-WDW | 12-DLP | 12-NY&DC | 11-West Coast | 10-DLP | 09-WDW

Edited at 10:03 PM.
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Unread 19 Mar 17, 09:57 PM  
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#2
Hannikins
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Pages Created: 6
Guidebook Photos: 135
By now we had just under an hour before we had to meet for the food tour, that felt like plenty of time so we made our way down to the station.

now Tokyo trains are VERY different from Shanghai, it’s not as easy and there are 2 different types to consider. Now stupidly I thought I knew where I was going and I hadn’t brought the Wifi with me.

BIG MISTAKE, I didn’t know where I was going.

I ended up getting on the yamanote line, which is circular, to Shinjuku only to realise I was going in the wrong direction, well obviously there’s no wrong way, it’s circular, but the longer way.

I panicked, got off and then went to find the one in the opposite direction, then realising that it was probably about the same distance anyway…. AHHH!

We were now VERY late. One other thing I’d under estimated was the distances, according to the subway messages this journey was going to take nearly 40 minutes! We had to meet in 35! I was gonna be late!

I sat on the subway, watching the little dot on my GPS app get closer and closer. I knew roughly where we were going and for the second time this holiday I left Adam behind and ran to the meeting spot. We were 10 minutes late, I knew they didn’t wait!

There was nobody about, we’d missed it. I was so stressed and so tired and hungry I could have cried.

I walked around the block just in case, I’d checked this out on street view beforehand and was pretty sure I was right this time. I asked at the nearest Kōban box if they knew, they didn’t, they just thought I was mental and probably that my Japanese was appalling although I did try lol

I headed back to Adam and tried calling the tour companies office, no response. I tried finding a wifi signal so I could at least try and check the location and time again, nope nothing, why oh WHY didn’t I bring the wifi!

At the point when I was pretty much about to give up, Adam poked me and pointed at a guy just arriving with a big Arigato Japan. “Is that him?” Adam asked

He’d come back for us!

I was so happy and thanked him but he looked rather puzzled.

“I’ve just arrived” he said, “you’re early!”.

Ermmmm



Then I realised what I’d done. I’d put 5pm on my planner so I’d be early, so I’d be there in plenty of time. I just hadn’t written anything to say the ACTUAL start time and I’d forgotten….


OOPIES

ANYWAY, we made it, plans were still intact, alllllll was good,

Finally the rest of the group arrived. There was a couple from LA, Two american girls teaching in Japan and a gent working in the area from Spain.

We got talking and then off we went to our first stop







The area was called Omoide Yokocho and here we were going to visit a bar to drink beer and eat yakitori, yummy

For some reason I forgot to take photos but the bar was tiny and full of “salarymen” drinking and laughing together.

It was at this point that I realised that me and our tour guide weren’t going to get along, mainly because I was already finding him intensely annoying. He did ALOT of talking about himself and people he “knew” (pile of BS, when pulled up on something, a London restaurant I have been to, he clearly hadn’t a clue despite claiming he “knew” the chef personally) so yeah, this was a bad start

We tried chicken meat, gizzard, offal and heart…. rather surprisingly the heart was my favourite!

Next stop was a restaurant in Kabukicho . we headed passed Godzilla





and the robot restaurant on the way





Kabukicho was a bit of a red light district in the area but there were plenty of interesting bars and restaurants we spotted on the way, if only we had more time!





Finally we reached the restaurant, this was a cute little place and it was FULL of locals.

We tried a few different things here.





I’d love to tell you what most of them are but our guide got bored telling us about himself and was playing with his phone under the table for a majority of the meal. I mean he’d respond if asked but that’s not really the point is it!

This was a pizza with little fish on it… see how pleased I am to try it



Again I was following the rule of trying everything, I drew the line at the mushroom cake though, that was a no no!

Meal over, I was now VERY full. We headed towards Golden Gai.

Now this was somewhere I really wanted to visit, and would have done on my own if we weren’t already doing the tour, but no I thought, let's do the tour, maybe we’ll end up somewhere a little different.



We didn’t. We ended up in a bar welcoming foreigners and that even offered no cover charge to them



Now that’s great, but I’m on a tour, I could do this myself ≈≈≈!



We were allowed to order any cocktail we like here So I ordered a green tea cocktail, easy peasy as the menu was in english…



Afterwards I asked if our guide could show us anywhere else or tell us about golden gai, he tried his best, but it was bizarre. He’d point at a sign with let’s say Aerosmith on it and go “oooo look this is a rock inspired bar with Aerosmith decor” well yes, clearly, how about telling us something rather than pointing and stating the obvious….. argh!

ANYWAY

This was kinda the end of the tour and he was escorting us towards the end point and the metro home. We got talking to the two american girls and they asked him if he’d heard of an open air rooftop night market in the area they fancied.

They showed him the guide book but he hadn’t. They said they were going to check it out. It sounded fun so I asked if we could tag ago, so did the spanish guy and they agreed. So we “thanked” our guide and headed back towards Kabukicho.

Using my GPS and the girls guidebook we managed to locate where it should be but I couldn’t see it. As we were looking up to see the rooftops an arab man approached us and told us he’d show us and promised us a good time… I really didn’t like the sound of this.

He ushered us into a building and into an elevator…

This would be fine right, there was 5 of us, one of him….don’t…. panic

Finally we reached the top and it opened out into this



Now it’s probably not dodgy (in fact there’s a great article on a blog about it here: ordinarygirlextraordinarydre...t-tokyo-japan/), but the owners were trying to usher us in to buy a drink from one of the stalls and it just didn’t feel 100% comfortable, in fairness it was cheap and full of local students, I just wasn’t feeling it. The girls I think had been expecting a craft market, this was just drink and bar snacks and they weren’t keen to stay either.

Now had I know what to expect I would’t have felt so uncomfortable, I’m pretty ok with throwing myself in the deep end outside of the tourist areas…. when I know what I’m getting myself into this just wasn’t for me and I’m a little glad the girls hadn’t gone on their own..

The guy was gesturing towards a table and everyone else appeared to have frozen (thanks guys!). I told the lift guy we were leaving and after a few firm “no we want to leave, we’ll come back another time” he showed us to the elevator. We all entered the lift, and let out a collective breathe we’d all been holding and giggled.

Now it was late, we were tired. The food tour had been a complete let down, so had the market, I wanted to head back. We said our goodbyes to the girls and along with the spanish guy headed towards the metro.

Now he was really lovely but it was impossible to get rid of him, it felt rude to split up as we were going to same way, we ended up going the whole way back with him

On the way I asked Adam what he’d thought of the tour, he’d thought the same. Considering it had cost £200 for the two of us, TWICE the price of our tour in Shanghai I really didn’t think we got our monies worth, you couldn’t even say that the tour guide was worth it for the insight he gave, he was the worst ever!

So yes, sorry but I’m not recommending it to you peeps! I just wish we had enough time to go back to golden gai ourselves and do it properly

Deflated we headed back to the hotel, today had been a LONG day and hopefully tomorrow wouldn’t be as disappointing
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Nov 16-Shanghai & Japan - In Progress
Nov 15-Hong Kong & Singapore - Coming Soon!
June 15-Rome & Florence
Dec 14-WDW | 13-WDW | 12-DLP | 12-NY&DC | 11-West Coast | 10-DLP | 09-WDW

Edited at 10:01 PM.
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Unread 19 Mar 17, 10:43 PM  
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vics18
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Aw what a shame your tour was disappointing

Sorry but that plane food picture made me feel queasy!

Had to laugh when you said you both "sat down and freshened up" just after showing the photo of the fancy toilet with the bum emojis

Gosh you're so brave getting all that public transport by yourself. I don;t think I'd ever be brave enough!

Really enjoying your report, look forward to the next day
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Unread 19 Mar 17, 11:06 PM  
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Definitely an eventful day! Who did you fly with? Shame your tour guide wasn't great! Think we're just gonna wing it 😂😂
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Unread 20 Mar 17, 08:39 AM  
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Nesbits
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Great! You've added another day..

Chicken gizzard, what on earth is that? Don't like the sound. Shame your guide was a bit rubbish, hope you reviewed accordingly.

You're having a great experience.
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Unread 20 Mar 17, 01:53 PM  
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redredshopper
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What a day - although I've got to say that might be the worst airline I've ever seen it looks vile.

Pity the tour was so naff after having such a good one earlier on.
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Unread 20 Mar 17, 02:36 PM  
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kevin_cambs_uk
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Ahhh super potato!
Enough said!
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Unread 20 Mar 17, 02:47 PM  
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MissVincent
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Great Day - Loving this whole trip report
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