“In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order.”
– Carl Jung
Apologies in advance for the incredibly extensive post today – everything’s just so novel that limiting it to include just a couple of highlights was impossible. So we set out in the morning to exchange our rail passes at Tokyo central station then headed to the imperial palace. Frustratingly you can’t actually get in to see the palace as it’s still inhabited by the Emporer but the imperial gardens were highly photogenic in the peak of blossom season. The vending machines everywhere are hilarious – you come across them far more frequently than bins or even tourists! (of which there are surprisingly few).
We made our way from the gardens into the high flying shopping district of Ginza which was in itself a fantastic example of highly ordered mayhem with vividly coloured sign posts jutting out all over the buildings with different sets of shops on each floor. We wandered down to the Tsukiji Fish Market which had the most fantastic array of sushi restaurants in the areas surrounding it. Half way between the two places we found a rather smarter sushi restaurant to eat in where I managed to make a complete fool out of myself. I blame this entirely on the loos. I pressed a button above the loo roll dispenser thinking it would dispense a bit of paper. It turns out it was actually an emergency button calling a policeman to come running to my aid. Very embarrassing but still hilarious.
Here is an example of the many restaurants were you simply press a button to get a ticket for the meal of your choice. Pretty straight forward if you are happy to have absolutely no idea what you’re going to be eating. Below is a completely bizarre foot massage station in the middle of Ginza. Some of the spots were just spikes to stand on. not particularly therapeutic.
Next stop was Akihabara, the main gadget shopping district of Tokyo – the Manga shops were particularly entertaining. Rather disgusted by the high prevelance of photos young school girls for sale…You could however by every single gadget or electronic that you could image, and many that you can’t.
En route back home, couldn’t resist a second stop of the day at the bakery near where we were staying. I tried lots of new things – all as fantastic as the last- matcha tea cake, Japanese doughnut filled with cream …
Later headed out to Shibuya to see the iconic Shibuya crossing which you may recognise from films – basically the traffic is stopped from each corner of the cross-road then the huge crowds of people all stampede across the centre in again the chaotic state of organisation which I’m beginning to strongly associate with this city. We found an incredibly tiny little sushi-go-round restaurant down a back alley where I had unquestionably the best sushi I’ve ever tasted – the prime fatty tuna literally melted in your mouth, I know it seems difficult to imagine fish melting but it really is an apt description if you ever try it. Also tried out the local rice wine or sake, served hot which is rather tasty and comforting but as it’s heated, the fumes seem to make it rather more potent than wine!
Now sitting on the bullet train en route to Hiroshima with a fantastic iced matcha green tea….