We’re back in Europe!  Thanks to Capt. Richard and the guys we had a great flight back from Tokyo, which ended with a guided tour of the 747 cockpit!!  Back in the lounge at Schiphol waiting for our late flight back to Blighty


Dinner!

Had a lovely dinner past night, courtesy of Ade and Miho, Amy and Leo.  Great to get to a “local” restaurant and be guided through the menu - good food and great company - thanks Guys!


Sat in Narita Airport, waiting to catch our first flight back, feeling slightly sad that I’m leaving Japan ‘cause I’ve had such an amazing time here, but at the same time I’m looking forward to being home, and especially to seeing Rach ^_^ It’s been a crazy two weeks, and I’ve loved every second. I’ve promised myself that one day I’ll come back to climb Mt. Fuji, purely because we were too ill-equipped to do it on the day we went. But yeah, sat here, very chilled out, very caffeinated (A Red Bull is needed when you get up to get a train at 5:30); it’s been a great trip :D

Sat in Narita Airport, waiting to catch our first flight back, feeling slightly sad that I’m leaving Japan ‘cause I’ve had such an amazing time here, but at the same time I’m looking forward to being home, and especially to seeing Rach ^_^ It’s been a crazy two weeks, and I’ve loved every second. I’ve promised myself that one day I’ll come back to climb Mt. Fuji, purely because we were too ill-equipped to do it on the day we went. But yeah, sat here, very chilled out, very caffeinated (A Red Bull is needed when you get up to get a train at 5:30); it’s been a great trip :D


Wandered round Ikebukuro today - another hot day, but great to see the streets filled with people.  So many shops have people outside handing out vouchers or using hands-free microphones and belt-mounted amplifiers to try to get shoppers into their stores.  This girl was adamant that we took her vouchers, but we agreed that we would take her photo instead!

Wandered round Ikebukuro today - another hot day, but great to see the streets filled with people.  So many shops have people outside handing out vouchers or using hands-free microphones and belt-mounted amplifiers to try to get shoppers into their stores.  This girl was adamant that we took her vouchers, but we agreed that we would take her photo instead!


Some funky hedge owls in Ikebukuro :)

Some funky hedge owls in Ikebukuro :)


So many street signs in East Shinjuku, Tokyo.

So many street signs in East Shinjuku, Tokyo.


Earthquake!!

We’ve just felt our first earthquake!  A 5.3 quake hit here less than an hour ago; we could feel the earth shake, but no movement of furniture or stuff on the desk (see: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsww/Quakes/usc0004y0d.php)


Well, you can take the kid out of the West Midlands, but

1) We found a Lego digital photoframe in a shop today, and Dan insisted on rebuilding around it, and

2) Guess who’s found the Pokemon channel at the new hotel?

We’re back in Tokyo for the final part of our stay, and wandered up the 60-storey, 250m Sunshine Tower this afternoon.  The lift hits a top speed of 10m/s, that’s about 20mph, and yes it does make your ears pop!


“Have a Nice Day”

It’s a constant background noise to just about any experience in Japan. You walk into a shop, restaurant, café and the staff chant “Ari’g’zi- MAAAAS” (trying to reflect the Kyoto accent a bit there too!) Then the same again when you leave, accompanied by much bowing and smiling. At the restaurant yesterday, the waitress followed us out into the street, bowing, smiling and thanking us for our custom, and we bowed, smiled and thanked her for our dinner. But even popping into a Lawson’s, FamilyMart or K for a bottle of water elicits the same response. Why do they do it? Innate politeness? Maybe, but some of these guys belt it out, there’s no traditional reserved behaviour here! Customer Service training? No, the smiles are too generous and real. I really don’t know, but just regard it as another aspect of the social “lubricant” that allows so many people to live so close to each other. Whatever the reason, I like it. It makes me happy, puts a smile on my face and makes me look forward to my next encounter.


Weather is here…

It’s another beautiful day here. Blue skies with just enough fluffy, white clouds to add interest. The temperature in Kyoto was in the high thirties for most of the week, but I hear that it’s “only” about 30-31 degrees in Tokyo. The rainy season seems to have stopped – not that we noticed it, we’ve only had a few hours of rain on the trip, and that was down in Hiroshima.