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Thread: Turning Japanese.... I really think so. Spring '17

  1. #51
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    The following morning we ventured out for a wander, things had quieted down now...






    We had breakfast out then took the train along to Ueno park to look at sakura (cherry blossom). It was quite beautiful, already getting busy with people setting up for picnics (with sake!), market stalls, food stands etc.












    We then wandered into some shops, didn't take too many pics but here's a few. Traditional dress making shop inside a department store...




    Called at 'hello kitty' to pick up some presents for our niece. This was a 6 foot kitty outside!




    This was inside a Tokyu Hands store, fascinating as always. This is the stationary area where you can select from approximately 500 pens




    This was their disaster prep section (seriously) with emergency food, supplies, temporary toilets and all kinds of stuff. Interesting but odd.




    All shopped out, we decided to try some more traditional Japanese food.... only joking, we returned to Shake Shack - yummy!




    We spent the afternoon exploring the Harajuku areas ( info here: Harijuku ) which was really interesting culturally. Lots of odd fashions, cafes with cats and owls you could pet, toy shops, and general oddness, plus a kind of hipster vibe a bit like Portland, Oregon.

    This vending machine served canned bread and stuffed toys, obviously...



















    We'd read about this place, the 'PDX Taproom' which was supposed to be exactly as mentioned above, a Portland, Oregon hipster craft beer bar. We called in for a beer and confirmed it did feel pretty 'Portland' actually, but far more expensive so only had one drink and continued...




    I forget where we ended up for food that night, but we did go to a bar with happy hour called 'Good Beer Faucets' (?) near Shibuya and had quite a few drinks in there. I then wandered into a massive guitar shop, which later turned out to be quite famous, and drooled on some very expensive guitars which ran into millions of yen in some cases. I didn't buy anything. The ones in the glass case here shown are on the left, Eric Clapton's cherry 335 and Jimmy Page's twin neck SG!

    (Side note: I did once buy a nice guitar in the US and brought it home in the aircraft hold undamaged, but the exchange rate was about 2 dollars to the pound at the time, Tokyo currently is not the place for such things!)





    Time for bed!
    Last edited by Stu; 14-06-2017 at 03:07 PM.
    Too many cars...

  2. #52
    Regular Neil Mac's Avatar
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    Yay!

    That airstream-esque caravan in Harajuku/Omotesando was a really cool gourmet burger bar last time I was there. I ate outside in the dark watching a fashion shoot on the street below. Very appropriate.

    Tokyo also likes to gather together similar types of shop in a single place. You've heard of "electric town", but there is also a "guitar street".

    https://en.japantravel.com/tokyo/och...ar-street/4658

    I've had a look around there, but I actually bought my guitar in a second-hand store by the coast recommended by a friend from work.

    Apparently, there is also a "knife street", where you can buy all sorts of high-quality kitchen-based cutting equipment. Not compatible with your hand luggage, sadly.
    "Fortunately, I'd taken a spare Gearbox, Turbo and Actuator, Steering Rack, Driveshafts, ECU, and a Copper Banjo Washer. No welder or spare turbo housing, though" - Nige

  3. #53
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    The next day was our last in Japan, so we started with a traditional Japanese breakfast of bananas on french toast and set off exploring again.



    Thought: Could I get a job as a food blogger (is that a thing, I like taking pics of food then eating it?) or at least a low class travel writer? That would be far more interesting than IT stuff.... hmmm....


    Back on track, out on the mean streets I spotted a Swedish super car (like mine!)




    My wife spotted this massive electronic animating crab, it was near another guitar shop so I went in there.




    We wandered various areas trying to find the Park Hyatt hotel where the film 'Lost in Translation' was set, and in the meantime found some nice stuff. A railway...




    An old Saab...




    Laundrette, Japanese style...




    As an aside, my favourite laundrette ever is the 'Spin Laundry Lounge' in Portland. Starting to sound like I am a fan of Portland today I suppose? I am.

    More sakura, and back street flowers but getting closer to the Hyatt I think?







    I wonder if I can get any rare but RHD E30 parts here?




    Finally, found the hotel we were after - where Bill and Scarlett met!




    The view from the bar high up was pretty nice, though we both felt drastically under dressed as it was unbelievably posh, we are not! I was wearing a yellow t-shirt with a San Francisco street car and a sea lion on the roof, I'd actually bought in Uniqlo but in the US a while ago.




    Oh, here you go - t-shirt shown here later in the day




    We headed back to the hotel around 5pm, packed quickly and then headed out for our last meal in Tokyo. We went to JUMBO YAKITORI, same type we went to in Kyoto but this one was even more high tech as it had touch screen ordering at your table. Hit the buttons and food and drink just arrives - wow! My wife became an expert very quickly....




    Sufficiently full of weird food, we went off to explore the Golden Gai which is a network of tiny (really tiny, like admit five people cubby hole sized) bars - more info here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shinjuku_Golden_Gai


    We'd scoped it out a bit earlier whilst it was shut to see which bars looked good, which didn't charge a cover charge (most did) and then headed back and called at a few.




    It was quite the experience, no photos allowed inside really, very cosy and you needed to be able to get on with other people in the bar as you more or less sat on their knees when you weren't banging your head on things, but a really good laugh and great experience.

    We returned to the room tipsy but satisfied we'd seen as much as Japan could offer in two weeks, and started trying to accept the fact that life would never be the same now we'd been here and we would want to return immediately!
    Last edited by Stu; 14-06-2017 at 03:28 PM.
    Too many cars...

  4. #54
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    Next morning we were up early and off back to Shinjuku station to catch the airport express train. Various ticket and platform related confusion ensued but was easily sorted.

    These guys were taking part in the popular local pastime of sleeping on trains with your mouth open...




    The robot luggage tag I'd picked up much earlier in the trip had been with me since and was a bit of a sad sight now on my rucksack headed for the airport....




    Returned the wi-fi router at the airport (really easy process!), checked in and off towards home via Helsinki again. Japan Airline service was absolutely excellent again.




    Arrived back at Manchester airport, dazed and confused. Located old Volvo in the car park, fired up no problems and toddled home. Life really hasn't been the same since, Japan really does get under your skin, but we will go back


    Over and out!
    Too many cars...

  5. #55
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    Well done, Stu. Great report.
    "Fortunately, I'd taken a spare Gearbox, Turbo and Actuator, Steering Rack, Driveshafts, ECU, and a Copper Banjo Washer. No welder or spare turbo housing, though" - Nige

  6. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil Mac View Post
    Well done, Stu. Great report.
    Cheers, Neil and thanks again for all the advice in the planning stage, it really was extremely useful and much appreciated.

    Noted re: guitar street, I will add that to my list for a future trip
    Too many cars...

  7. #57
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    Enjoyed both the words and the photos. Many thanks for taking the time to share it with us
    pinderwagen.com - My trip reports and Golf build topics in an easier to view format.

  8. #58
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    Brilliant write up, really enjoyed reading it. I will get out there one day!
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  9. #59
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    Child is japan obsessed. I've suggested if she aces her gcse's we will all go to japan for a holiday in 2019. If she doesn't , Helen and I will go to Japan and tell her about it.
    Simon no longer owes me anything, Dave does though.
    Floyd probably owes me at least twenty with the interest rolling up...

  10. #60
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    As above, brilliant read & really enjoyed it. Cheers for taking the time to post.

    Would love to go sometime. FIL got back 2 weeks ago with his Mrs from visiting her daughter who lives / works there. Said they enjoyed it but said was rather different
    SteveM owes me 5
    I owe Dan 5
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  11. #61
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    Cheers, All - glad you enjoyed the report. I liked writing it

    Next trip is later this summer to the US again, various areas so will be taking loads of photos as usual and may do a report on that one too.
    Too many cars...

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