Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Tokyo Day 3: Neon Lights and Wet Otakus

Good morning, good day, and good evening world!

Reporting live from our hotel in Shibuya, Tokyo, here's our report on Japan : Day 3!
We're sad to tell you that we actually found our third day in Tokyo to be a bit of a bust. This was not the cause of anything that happened while we were here, but it was entirely our own fault. We spent our entire morning trying to book three separate events, a tour of Mt Fuji, a tour of the Japanese Imperial Palace and a Kabuki theatre show. Believe it or not, we were unsuccessful on every single one of these fronts! We decided that it would be better to catch a Kabuki show in Kyoto, which is known as the cultural capital of the country. All tours of the Japanese Imperial Palace were booked solid until October 15th. Finally, we pooled our efforts to find a bus tour to take us to Mt Fuji only to find that every single one of our options didn't offer a tour on any of the days we are in Tokyo. It was a huge disappointment as that was one of the major sites we wanted to check out. Stand by, we may have better luck in the future...

Keeping this garden absolutely perfect is a lot of work!

Frustrated, we eventually made our way to the Imperial Palace. Despite the fact that we couldn't land a spot on to tour the building itself, tourists are free to roam the Imperial Gardens surrounding the area. This garden is immense and immaculately maintained. You'd swear there were Japanese gardeners sifting through each hedge and blade of grass to ensure they are all the proper length. The highlight of this area was a tranquil pond that we found very relaxing, but the cloudy weather and scattered showers kind of put a damper on our time there.

Mike found this zen pond to be so relaxing, he could barely stand
Gundam Style
Our next stop was the famous Akihabara district which is known as Otaku central. Otaku is Japanese for geek so you know Mike felt at home there. Everywhere you looked there were retro video game stores, anime and manga (comic book) shops and arcades. We spent hours exploring the different shops and alleyways around. 

Lots of detailed statues of Anime characters
We played some 
Maja had to take out her rage somewhere and these poor
crocodiles were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
interesting Japanese arcade games, including a rhythm game were you smack a giant drum in tune to the music and a huge Super Mario Kart racing machine (where Maja proudly beat Mike in a fair and square race to determine the Ultimate Champion of the Universe). Mike got to check out the world famous Super Potato store. This retro gaming store is known world wide for it's collection and it was crazy to see some of the old Nintendo merchandise they had in stock (as well as the exorbitant prices). Mike could probably have stayed in Akihabara for hours!

Yup, Maja sure does love her Anime! Look how excited she is!
Maja would've made a kick-ass drummer in another life
Finally we wandered the streets of Shinjuku to experience the neon lights of this bar district. The lights were so bright that it felt like wandering through Las Vegas at night. We ended our evening with a glass of sake (Japanese rice wine, but I didn't need to tell you that, did I?) on the 45th floor of the Keio Plaza Hotel. The floor houses a bar called the Aurora Lounge that offers an absolutely spectacular view of the city. If it wasn't a cloudy day, we probably could have seen the entire city!

Mike getting his Street Fighter on at the
Hey Akihabara Arcade

On our way back to our hotel, we were both fighting off the effects of jet lag, with Maja falling sound asleep on the subway train! It's probably not the wisest decision to trust Mike with remembering the proper metro stop, but in the end she lucked out and we didn't get lost in the complicated mess of different lines. While the day didn't go as planned, we still really enjoyed exploring the different Japanese neighbourhoods, taking in the pop culture Japan is so famous for!

The view of Shinjuku from the 45th floor at the Aurora Lounge (apologies for the reflection!)

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