Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Tokyo Trip Two: Day Trip Round-up

I am feeling very ineloquent at the moment, and have been putting off blogging because of it. I think it's partly because when I'm posting things about big tourist spots I don't really know that much about, there are so many informative things out there in English, with much lovelier photos too. But, since this blog is mostly an online diary for myself, so I'm going to post a selection of photos from our 2 day trips around Tokyo anyway, mostly just to get them out of my hair! 

The wateryness of this photo sums up our morning really!

I love Japanese graveyards, and this one, at a small temple in Kamakura was peacefully nestled in the forest.

Despite the grey sky, Kamakura beach was still full of people, mostly getting drunk (is England the only country in the world where a trip to the beach doesn't necessarily mean lots of alcohol?!)

This smoking spot on the beach made both John and I laugh a lot.

Irreverently making friends with The Great Buddha

Hiking from the Great Buddha, back to Kita-Kamakura station

View of Kamakura from the hike

Gorgeous view of Mount Fuji from halfway along the hike

Teenage girls with insane amounts of Duffy and Shellie May teddies (including a pushchair to carry them around)...we can only be in one place...

Volcano, Arabian Castle, Gondolier and Pirate Ship all in one shot...yup, that must be Disney! 

Riding a Camel in the Arabian section

Taking Sinbad's voyage

Aladdin is my favourite Disney film (well, after Mary Poppins, but she doesn't appear at any Disney resorts!), so I was happy to come across Jasmine's castle! 

No smoking fish on Flounder's rollercoaster

If you can't beat them, join them! We took our Disney toys too...

...and John's Mum and Dad bought some teddies for themselves! A very fun (and hot and crowded and surreal) day was had by all! 

Bye Disney, and bye Tokyo! 

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Tokyo Trip 2: Places we Went and Things we Saw

Banana vending machine

Tokyo Sky Tree

John being inappropriate with the statues

John and his parents enjoying a boat trip from Asakusa to Hamarikyu gardens. It was a lovely thing to do on a hot, summer day! 

Watching the world go by

Tokyo Sky Tree from Hamarikyu Gardens

I would love to live in one of those skyscrapers, overlooking this garden and the river and harbour behind it.

This little bear is having a rather lonely summer festival! 

Tokyo tower

Following instructions, I went to Maruyama Kofun, an ancient grave site near the Tokyo tower. It provided a lovely shadowy escape from the august heat. 

John relaxing under the trees

Tokyo tower

Shinjuku by night

We made a visit to Yasakuni Shrine, the controversial shrine to Japan's war dead (including 14 class A war criminals, which is naturally where the controversy comes in!). If you didn't already know what it was a shrine to, you'd never be able to tell from the peaceful and serene surroundings. 

Although the right wing museum next door might give it away! We didn't go around it,  but you only need to peek into the lobby to realise where it's views lie. Any museum that celebrates the building of a railway that killed 106,000 PoW and forced labourers isn't exactly aiming for world wide peace. 

Adverts for a robot cafe. Naturally.

Yakiniku alley, next to Shinjuku station

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Tokyo Trip 2: Keio Plaza

Despite what our Taiwan trip might have made you think, John and I don't usually bother with fancy hotels. We usually stay somewhere cheap, then spend our whole holiday (except for compulsory sleeping time) elsewhere. However, John's Mum does like nice hotels, and for our recent trip to Tokyo, she insisted on putting us up in the Keio Plaza, near Shinjuku station. Our (very nice) room was on the 33rd floor, and the view was gorgeous. No photos of the room, because I spent the whole time we were there gazing out the window! Plus, a bit of sweet talking on the part of John's Dad, and we all got complimentary passes to use the club room on the 34th floor, with drinks and snacks (including cheese, yummmmm) for the duration of our stay. Although we dragged ourselves away to explore Tokyo, I think it would have taken me a long time to get bored of this view!

View on the first morning, Fuji in the background. Apparently you can only see it about 100 days a year, mostly in the winter when it's clearer, so we were really lucky to get a view on 3 of the 4 days we were there.

View from the Club Room across central Tokyo to the Sky Tree

View from our room at night. Building on the left is where they filmed Lost in Translation, and the one on the right is the Metropolitan Building (which you can go up for a free view like these!)

Wine plus view plus cheese makes us happy! 

Fuji on our last morning

Scarlett Johansson, eat your heart out. 

PS - More variety next time, I promise! 

Friday, 17 August 2012

Sendai Tanabata: Origami

I love origami, and other related paper crafts, so this post is just a collection of some close ups of some of the lovely paper folding I found as walking round Tanabata. The amount of work that went into these decorations when they were only up for 3 days amazes me.

Close up of the animals

Lots and lots of cranes...

...this is why.

All of these were solid strings of cranes, and they were giving out necklaces of them too. The message on stars on the left says "No More Hiroshima"

They're not technically origami, but I love these dolls.