Saturday, April 21, 2012

Last dinner in Japan

Are now about to sleep, just had my last dinner in Japan for this time. I hope I'll be back in the future.

I will update this blog will some final entries when I get back to Sweden. One enter when I have tried the fried tiny crabs that I bought in Nara, and one entry with a summary of the trip.

Park Hyatt in Shinjuku

Went to New York Bar at 52:nd floor in Park Hyatt, Shinjuku. The hotel is known from the movie lost in translation.
It's a great view from there. One thing that struck me was that Tokyo is a very dark city during nights. Not many (office) buildings are lit.

Sorry for the dark blurry images, a phone isn't the best camera during dark conditions.

Zombies? Ginza on weekends

Ok, they weren't zombies, but it looked really odd when you saw people walk slowly around on the main street in Ginza, and the only sound that you could hear was low mumbling.

The main street in Ginza is closed to traffic on weekends.

Note that there are benches in one of the shots. It's very hard to find benches in the city except in parks. It's also very hard to find trashcans.

Shopping toys

Went to Pokemon center to buy some toys for my sisters children. It was totally crazy, people everywhere, but what to expect on a Saturday.

Bought some toys there, and then went to another toy store to buy some Bakugan. They are very popular in Sweden. Did also find nano bugs there. Very cool insect robots  :-)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Ordering sushi

Some sushi restaurants have sushi menus from which you can order single pieces. Such menus usually have an image of all different pieces, and also shows the price for each piece.

You can then select the pieces that you want and fill out a form. Each image in the menu has a number, and the form has the same numbers. The form is all in Japanese, but the left column in there form that you can see here says "wasabi ok", and the right column means "no wasabi".
The chef will add wasabi to the pieces if you enter your amounts in the left column. You normally don't get wasabi on the side.

Dinner at submarine

Had dinner at a restaurant named Submarine. It's close to Shinjuku station. Went there rather early on a Friday night. I think we arrived around 18:00, 6 pm.

Turns out that you should call them to book a table. Don't how we should manage to do that since we don't speak Japanese, and they don't speak English. We could however sit by the bar and eat.

The restaurant doesn't have an English menu, so ordering means Russian roulette. You don't know what you get. A safe bet is to point at things that other people have ordered.

Ordering drinks/cocktails is also Russian roulette, but the sections in the drink menu has English headings for each section, so you do at least know that you were ordering something that contains eg gin.

The food was ok, and it looks like Japanese people likes the place. We were the only westeners there.

One odd thing is that you aren't allowed to wear shoes inside the restaurant.

Being blind in Japan

Japan has done a tremendous amount of work in order to make it easier for the blind to walk around in the cities.

The yellow lines can be found on most sidewalks on the larger streets, and also along the paths and platforms in the subway stations. The yellow lines are bumpy, and they have a different structure close to crossings.

Loks like the blind people don't need to use the cane when they are walking on the yellow line. The just hold it in that air a bit in front of them

... but one thing that I can't understand is why Tokyo tower has signs for blind people. Do they go up there to see the view?

Going up in Tokyo tower

Tokyo tower looks like the Eiffel tower, but is a bit higher.
The main visiting area is at 150 meter, but you can pay extra to go up to 250 meter.

You can take the stairs down from 150 meters to ground level. It's 600 steps, and I had to take them just because of that :-)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Tsukiji, Tokyo's fish market revisited

Went back to the fish market when it was open. There are very narrow paths that you can follow, but you have to be careful since people are running around, trying to do their job. There are also moving vehicles.

Taking the subway in Tokyo

A short description on how to use the subway system in Tokyo.

First locate a map that displays the subway system, you can find one in each subway station, and some of them have English text on them. You can also get a copy of the subway map at many hotels. Find out what line you want to go with, and check if you need to switch to another line at a specific station.

Then locate the board that says how much you need to pay to get to a certain station. The board has a list of all stations, and how much you need to pay. It's usually something in the range 160 - 200 JPY.

Buy the ticket in one of the ticket machines next to the map/information board. The machines have a button that says English. Press that button. Then touch the button with the amount you want to pay and insert money into the machine. You will get money back if you don't have the exact amount. Do also note, that you can adjust the price when leaving a station if you haven't payed enough. I.e you don't need to worry if you by accident doesn't pay enough because you can't figure out the price. The ticket that you get looks something like this.

Insert your ticket into the gate to the subway. Note that the ticket will pass through the gate, and that you should collect it at the other end of the gate. You need the ticket to get out of the subway. Getting out of the subway is done by doing the same procedure as entering, except that the gate will then keep the ticket.

Walk down to the platform. You need to know on what side of the platform you should get on the train. You can get that information by looking at information displays, billboards or signs that says something like 'this side takes you to X, or you will reach stations M1-M15 from this side'. Each subway station has at least one number. Subway stations that serve several lines, has one number for each line.

Another information board, that also shows where you can switch to other lines.

Get into the train, and wait for your station. The trains in the subway has eletronical information displays that shows information both in Japanese and English.

Leave the train at your destination, and insert the subway ticket into the gate to get out of the subway. Note that you shouldn't get outside of the gates when you switch to another subway line. You walk between the subway lines on the inside of the gates. Going outside means that you lose your subway ticket, and that you need to buy a new one.