Hard to get around...
Cherry Blossoms in the Park
Our flight from
Hong Kong was long, but uneventful. We had
pre-arranged transportation from Narita airport to the
Keio Plaza Hotel, because we had heard that traditional
means were expensive. It turned out that everything
was expensive in Tokyo. The luxury of mistakes we took
for granted in our other travels got very expensive
here. We grabbed a couple of sandwiches and a glass of
Sake for dinner at our Hotel before retiring that cost
about $60 US. This was also our first destination where
the language barrier slowed us down.
We had been told that major subway
signs were duplicated in English, but that was not the case
even in the largest station - Shinjuku (first picture below). Without subways to count on, we did a lot on foot. We knew
that addresses were not useful, forcing us to find our way
around by spotting landmarks and then retracing our steps.
While high school aged children knew English, they often gave
incorrect directions, because culturally it was impolite to
say they didn't know something when asked. We spent a lot of
Shopping area entrance
On our first full day in Tokyo we took a
stroll on foot to the Meiji Jingu Shrine (second picture
above). There was a nice park there as well to see Japanese
Gardens and the cherry blossoms which were in bloom (large
picture at top of page and third and fourth pictures above).
We did some shopping in the afternoon (first picture below)
before heading for dinner.
We did much better at eating once we knew the lay of the land
and the cost penalty associated with poor choices. We snacked
on fast food during the day, eating lots of burgers, fries and
milkshakes (remember Mary Lou was 7 weeks pregnant at the
time). For dinners, we walked from the hotel to local
restaurants where we could take the waiter outside and point
to the plastic food on display to order. I even managed to say
"Kirin" well enough to consistently get beer instead of a
On our second full day, we took a tour of
the Imperial Palace (second picture above) and the Tokyo Tower
(third picture above). The views from the tower give a
perspective of the massive size of Tokyo (fourth picture
On our last day, we took another walk through the park near
our hotel and then headed for the airport and the long trip
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