Getting There - Aneel's Travelogue

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Tokyo Tokyo, Japan, Sunday, 19 September 2010 5:06pm

I really enjoyed Tokyo. It was easier to get around than I'd feared. The rail system is a lot more complex than in the last few cities that I've been in, but once you figure out basic things, it's not too bad. I never did figure out how to find the correct price for Japan Rail tickets, though. I always bought the cheapest ticket and then added fare at the exit when it would turn out I hadn't paid enough. Next time it might be worth figuring out the Pasmo or Suica card systems. By the end, I was able to help a traveler (from Beijing) to find the correct train to the airport, so I feel like I was getting the hang of it.

I also did a lot of walking, which was great. Wandering around Japanese neighborhoods and seeing all of the vending machines, vertical car-parking machines, tiny motorcycles, neighborhood shrines, and random little shops was fun.

I saw a bunch of touristy sights: the Senso-Ji shrine in Asakusa, Ueno park, the lantern-walk up to the Toshogu shrine (the shrine is closed for repairs), the Hiroshima flame, the sculpture garden at the Museum of Western Art, Electric City in Akihabara, the Shinjuku-gyoen park with its giant jumping koi, the Meiji shrine, the fashion-forward kids in Harajuku, the Tepco Energy Museum (with a scale model of a nuclear reactor and giant turbine blades!), the malls of Shibuya. I happened to catch some Taiko drumming and festival processions.

I also had a chance to meet up with Jumaane, a friend from college, and he showed me the highlights of Akihabara, took me to a Maid Cafe, introduced me to plum wine at a sushi restaurant, and to izakaya (Japanese bar food) at a bar. It was fun to discuss times gone by and what we're doing now. It turns out that most of my stories are about travel...