A Travellerspoint blog

Assassination FOILED!!

Invited to meet the Emperor for his birthday

sunny 7 °C

Though cunningly disguised, I might of stopped a national tragedy in spotting these two suspicious police, assassination attempt on Japan's Emperor from Britain with Padington bear FOILED!
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So yesterday was the Emperor's birthday, only 5 days in the country and the Emperor wants to meet me! Well it seems that the rest of the country was invited too when I got there but that's OK, I'm for the people and they can share my one on one time.
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Crowd goes wild when Emperor announced and Imperial Guard
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It seems that alot of what the police do here is public relations, being great guides and generally not doing much but are very helpful. It seems that everything is really kept in check and people here just stick to the rules as such. To show you my point, there is not many if any other places where a policeman ordering big crowds where to go would have a symbol like this on his elevated command post...
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The crowds were for the Emperor's birthday when the Imperial Palace gates are open to the public. This happens only twice a year so I'm lucky to be here at the right time. There were also some CIA looking Japanese I had not seen before which seemed not to have any of the PR skills the police had well except for the grumpy old police man below (I think he saw me taking his picture ha). The guys below were in the crowd with everyone so subject to my camera ha, but I'm glad the CIA one did'nt seem to notice, see if you can see the difference between the police and the CIA looking guys...
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The walk to and from the Imperial palace was quite nice here are some pictures of the things on the way..
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Posted by CrackerjackHobo 21:52 Archived in Japan Tagged japan emperor imperial_palace Comments (0)

Culture Shock

Title says it all..

Ok, so everything was going really well, Flight was smooth, customs fine, luggage, train. Then i get to Shinjuku Station, Im like it`s fine i have a print out i hastily did before my last trip to Brisbane. SO it`s in Japanese and i have no idea which side my little route line leaves the station, noone speaks english (given in a different country ha) and strangely enough everything is written in Japanese. This is what greets me! large_IMG_6060.jpgIMG_6058.jpg270_IMG_6056.jpg
Anyhow so I decide that hailing a cab and seeing if he can read my shitty map and get me to where ive got to be, luckily he could. So we drive for a little bit and the place is becoming more and more bright with neon signage and a buzz of people here are some pics to see what I was getting into... 270_IMG_6102.jpgIMG_6098.jpg270_IMG_6085.jpgIMG_6078.jpg and the taxi drops you off IMG_6075.jpg
It was a strange sensation of not being worried but knowing you really should be, it was like a kind of numb calm..I`d liken to the calm before dying. So im dropped off and he just points to a side alley and lets me off, i wonder around aimlessly trying very hard to match up the geometry of my map to my surroundings (it did`nt work). Thank god for a random brit seeing me confused and he pointed me literally right in front of me and said up the elevator, if it was not for him I seriously would not of found it. See if you can spot it... 270_IMG_6076.jpg Yup in there amongst all that neon IMG_6082.jpg

Ok, well after checking in (Fella spoke english, made things easier), I decided to go and get something to eat from the in house resturaunt but as I entered I realise everyone is in a Komono. I order a meal but am not sure what it is but am certain it has chicken. I head back and I change into the komono not wanting to stand out, like that is going to trick them ha! I eat the meal which turns out better than I had thought, I`m thinking I`m doing ok with first time out of the country but this crumbles that night where it hits me hard where I am and how I failed at being able to do anything when i came out of the station and got there by just luck really, the realisation im in a different country knowing only two words of the native tongue and definitley not able to read any.. it was not a good night!

Here is some pics of the capsule
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Well it seems places don`t look as daunting in the day as they do at night and I`d say for the busiest area of Tokyo this could be more so than most! And over the last three days I have become more familiar with the way things are laid out and done. I have rode the train system, bathed in the public baths, walked the parks, seen the shrines and other assorted sites. The capsules themselves are not bad once your used to the routine, the 10am checkout can be anoying as everyday you have to check out then check back in at 2pm. I only realised the last day that I could of been leaving bags in my locker .. gah! Another thing I learned on the last day was how to change channels (the band knob) up until then it was just porn as a default lol. I'm glad to be leaving shinjuku though, as exciting as it is, without knowing the language, its a bit full on. Plus I got hassled on my way into the the hotel last night by an English speaking guy which I made the mistake of him wanting to chat but he just wanted me into a bar which I'm sure as soon as I get in I lose all my money or some scam.

I visited Shibuya crossing also the other night. It is supposed to be the busiest intersection in the world I'm told, so where else would I bump into the only person I know in Japan?!?! The guy I sat next to on the plane and had a brief conversation with comes up and taps me on the shoulder in the intersection, uncanny! I have a lot of photos of everything but my gear is not talking to each other :(

Now I'm in Taito, eastern Tokyo. It is amazing how much can change from just going across the city. Its a much more relaxed pace here and the shops and layout seems to make more sense. There is from what I saw almost endless permanent market style lanes/corridors full of all kinds of things (I found Katanas! Also tracked down the sword museam but was closed till start of Jan, I was gutted) Japanese. The hostel seems clean and it has free wifi that works for me!! I'm finding it quite strange being around non Japanese as I seemed to of quickly climatised to the quiet laid back atmosphere of Japanese business men, now I have boystrous traveller.

So tomorrow will involve Akihabara (Tech/Gadget mecca), Asahi Breweries, Tokyo national museu. Lets hope I can get a cheap net book withe English software :)

Here are some new pics of Shinjuku, Tokyo
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Posted by CrackerjackHobo 00:30 Archived in Japan Tagged tokyo shinjuku capsule capsules Comments (2)

1 Sleep!

: /

Ok so it's 1 sleep till take off! It seems that I have gotten used to town living in Hervey Bay as coming to Brisbane even feels like a fast pace of life so im dreading what im going to feel like when I hit Tokyo.

I'm feeling really anxious at the moment and strangely lethargic... I dont know if they are related. I'm also having a lot of technical problems with the Xoom and what its capable of so im definitely going to have to get something in Japan (I hope it's cheaper than here).

Anyhow, I said i'd show you what im taking with me so I did a Video (will post a pic also). The sound is kinda low so you will need loud speakers or headphones and its ok to hear.

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I actually managed to fit everything in pretty easily with some room to boot!

Posted by CrackerjackHobo 22:03 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

One way ticket to Tokyo

Time is running out to bail :/

26 °C

Ok, so the time is creeping up to when I fly into Tokyo, Japan with a backpack, 3 days booked in a capsule and a scared optimistic outlook.

I all ready have the feeling of leaving something behind and I haven't left, this cannot be a good sign. I have recently been trying to work on an itinerary, thinking that with planning, then execution of said plan I will be less nervous. But this has led me to the belief that I cannot plan further than one city as I regress back to the child in the candy store with a dollar buying a huge assortment of 1c & 2c lollies, with so many choices and the ability to change my mind on a whim I will try and be like the true nomad and go where the travel gods inspire.

I've been to the doctors more in the last three weeks than my whole life with vaccinations, blood test (twice!My Damned stand in doctor), dentist (twice again!), skin cancer check, oh and also lots of x rays because a stand in doctor believed I had arthritis in the spine (not true by the way). My backpack was also the wrong size and had to change it, it would of been a painful trip had I not noticed and read up on it. I got more of a trekking backpack this time also, because I..like...umm trek a lot?? Well I'll soon know as I am planning on trekking the Himalayas! Something easy to start on. I've got a lot of gadgets and bits and pieces which I'll post up tomorrow if I get to it.
But I thought I'd show you one piece of essential traveling equipment. Reefs bottle opening thongs!
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As far as where I am going, this is the plan. But as I said this is going to be a work in progress:

Japan->Sth Korea->China->Mongolia->(China again maybe) India->Nepal->Bhutan->Sri Lanka->Vietnam->Laos->Cambodia->Thailand->Australia

That's the plan but the way money has been leaving my account, maybe not even half of it will eventuate. It is perhaps because of this that I have stopped looking at real hotels and only look at cheap hostels, even past the single rooms and into the 8 dorm shares (This goes against my every fiber of my being but I might a well plunge head on in and get used to it).

So I definitely would like more time to plan, but would that ever end. Sometimes I guess you just have to do what feels right. A lot of people talk of travel opening them up, broadening thinking etc. I feel that I live this way all ready to an extent but I'm open to being sorely wrong and changed for life.

S.

P.S. There is no spell check etc so you will just have to bear this as a grammar free zone :-)

Posted by CrackerjackHobo 05:41 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

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