Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Dawna and Ashley Do Tokyo!

Actually a bit backwards since I already posted about Dawna and my adventures around my city, but we actually started out her trip in Tokyo. She arrived on a Saturday night, which meant I spent most of my Saturday on a train to the airport (I could have made it faster, but since I had the time, I went local and cheap). Barely room to complain since she spent 2-3 times as long on an airplane to see me!

We started off our evening at Shibuya. Shibuya is the place for the young and the hip, which both of us are really only bordering on :) But there are always interesting people to look at and stores to check out!

We took our obligatory picture with Hachiko statue, a statue of a dog who used to come to the station everyday to meet his master at the same time. Even after his master died in the 1930s, he continued coming every day. So they put up a statue of him and it's a common meeting place for people when they come to Shibuya.

Dawna and I with Hachiko in Shibuya

The we made our way across Shibuya crossing, one of the most famous pedestrian crossings in the world. Traffic stops in all directions and the intersection becomes a mass of people crossing different ways every few minutes. It's surrounded by television screens with advertisements and has one of the busiest Starbucks in the world that has a window overlooking the crossing. So despite the fact that Dawna probably didn't envision spending her first night in Japan at a Starbucks, I felt Starbucks deprived and she took one for the team! We had a coffee and headed back to our hostel to get some sleep!

Shibuya crossing and Starbucks

That same night and the next morning we visited Senso-ji Shrine, one of the more famous, and my favorite, Shrine in Tokyo.

I think it's a place that people go to most to pray for their health, as people rub incense onto their bodies from the big incense pot in front of the shrine and also rub one of the Buddha's feet for good health. Dawna and I also got our omikuji fortune where you take a big jar of sticks and one comes out a small hole. It has a number on it, which gives you your fortune. If you have good luck, you bring it with you, but if it's bad luck, you tie it up at the shrine to "leave your bad luck" there and the divine spirits will take care of it. We both had really bad fortunes, so we tied them up at the shrine.
Dawna tying up her bad fortune.

Rubbing Buddha's foot for good health

The first full day we were there, we tried to go to Disneyland, but it was much too full! They quit letting people in, so we just bought a ticket for the following day and took the train back into Tokyo for some sightseeing. We started off at the Imperial Palace, home of the emperor of Japan. I have been to the gardens before, but actually never saw the castle.

So we started off in front of Nijibashi bridge, then made our way to the gardens for a few "senior pictures."

Next we checked out one of the facades of Tokyo Station, the biggest station and central hub of Tokyo. After that we headed to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office and went up to the 45th floor, a free observation deck. You can see out over Tokyo and it's the second tallest building in Tokyo next to Tokyo Tower (which is taller than the Eiffel Tower). It's nicer than going up in the Tokyo Tower because you can see Tokyo Tower from the Metropolitan Gov't Building.

The view from Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building at Sunset

Some huge ladybugs outside Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building

We watched the sun set from there and then we went on an adventure to find Rainbow Bridge at Odaiba Bay. I've wanted to go there, but it's a bit outside of Tokyo, so I had never made my way there on my trips to Tokyo. We set out to one of the train stops recommended on the internet, only to find that we couldn't get to the water or see the bridge. I stopped a little old lady with a bike to ask her where the water was, and she proceeded to tell us that we had to go to a different train stop. I kinda didn't think she knew what she was talking about, and from there, she just wouldn't leave us alone! She told us we could follow her to the water to see the bridge, so we kept walking with her. She told me about her children and grandchildren and Dawna just chilled behind us probably thinking I was crazy to follow this woman! I tried several times to tell her it was fine, we could find our way back to the station, but she wanted to help us. Finally we bought train tickets with her still watching (at a different station than we arrived at) and she finally left as we were going up the escalator to our train.

In the end, we made it and it was nice to know that people still exist who will go out of their way to help someone who doesn't speak the language. I'm not sure there are many people like that in America anymore, just people who think people need to learn English. So, the adventure was a success. We got to see the huge suspension bridge, Tokyo Tower lit up at night (from pretty far away!), and the replica of the statue of liberty!

The next day we went to Disneyland, but I'll write a separate entry about that! The day after we wanted to try for the fish market, but in order to go there we would have to wake up at 4am! So instead we made our way down to Kamakura, and back to Fujinomiya. More to come!

See all of Dawna and Ashley's adventures here.

No comments: