One Man Walking

002 – Tokyo on foot

April 2nd, 2008 · No Comments

Still a bit out of sync with the local time I was the first in the room to wake. I wandered the halls for a while, feeling that with the sun up we were losing time. For what I didn’t know, but the need for activity was nagging at me.

We started off with Nakamise Dori, the pedestrian street that leads to Senso-ji Temple near our hostel. The stalls were only just opening but we did find a good one for breakfast of udon and skewered chicken. We meandered south quite a way. Out of the tourist zone and into regular Tokyo. Stopping briefly near a tiny paint store I spotted a chance to buy methylated sprits for my camping stove and to practice my Japanese. I did quite well and bought the right stuff, I think. The guy asked if I was camping and I used my rehearsed lines about the walk I’m about to take. He perked right up and sprung into all sorts of stuff I didn’t understand, but I did answer how far and how long I expect it to take me. As a parting gift he gave me some hand warmers, they weigh far too much but I couldn’t say no to him. So I gave him the first of my traveler cards and he countered with one of his and left with a handshake and a wish for good luck.
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Akihabara “Electric Town” was as tacky and flashy as I’d expected. But I didn’t expect the stores to remain closed until 10am. Between the big electronics shops were comic books and Pachinkos, plus one strange combination of weapons, cables and adult movies. I left the area with new memory cards, a second battery for my video camera and a USB cable that may be faulty. On the way out we spotted mosaics in the pavement. Presumably they were selling computers and robots here when the Romans invaded.
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Next up was the Imperial Palace (gardens). A sizable moat surrounds the stone walls and ornate gardens within. The walls themselves don’t look like they’d stop a determined assassin. They are so sloped and full of cracks that anyone with good shoes could scale them pretty quickly.

At Ueno Park, the most popular and therefore most crowded, cherry blossom viewing zone in Gokyo I tried some more food stalls. First octopus in yorkshire pudding balls and then giant kumara fries with sugar. Each time I spoke in Japanese and each time they replied in English. The park has a long avenue which has been lined with tarpaulins down each sized and roped into sections where it appears groups of locals gather to picnic and watch the tourists, most of which are their countrymen, file past. IMG_5012 IMG_4993 

I had another chance to try my language skills as I stood under the tunnel of red gates. Two pretty young girls approached counting each gate in Japanese as they went. 5, 6, 7, 8. They stooped as they reached me and went silent. I looked ahead through my camera and added “kyu, ju” which got a few laughs and a nice smile from them both.
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By the end of all that walking Lorraine and I were both pretty tired so we returned to the hostel to upload photos and rest. I’m so tired I forgot to tell you about the drunk guy that leaned on a fence post that collapsed under him and then fell into the bushes.

word of the day: Hanami = Cherry blossom viewing

Key:
photo  ·  pre-hike

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