Day 2: Shrines, Electronic Shrines, Kitchen Shrines and a Shrine to Beer

Today our fearless travellers will travel by JR Yamanote and Chuo lines to walk through the Meiji Shrine, where in order to get out, Iain must advance to level 10 in Ingress.  Then they must travel over to Akihabara to get saturated in the sights and sounds of the Electric Town, to find peace and quiet in Kappabashi which is known for it’s Kitchen Town providing balance in an otherwise busy day.

And that we did.  We started the day going to the Meiji Shrine (I spelled it wrong earlier in the day – there is an extra i).  The shrine is gorgeous and such a place of solitude in a very hectic and busy city.  It’s funny hearing the music and sounds of the Yamanote line and Harajuku station as you walk through the park to get to the main shrine area.

Such a different world.

And such a different world was Akihabara when we got there via the Chuo line.  Literally the first thing out of my mouth was, “Holy crap!” looking at the Yodobashi in Akiba.  8 floors of electronics heaven for some.  For the record, OLED TVs are gorgeous.

The one thing I can say is that, we’re both drained from the over stimulation of sights and sounds.  It can be pretty overwhelming when you’re in a store like Yodobashi and they have announcements from within the store, general announcements with music, staff, sounds from TVs, video games and audio equipment blaring all at once.

Imagine being outside and hearing it from several stores, vendors on top of the crowds of people.  It gets to the point where we’re in an elevator and we can take a deep breath and let it out, and we’re thankful for the peace and quite for a few short seconds.

And then there’s the Tokyo Metro, the JR Yamanote and Chuo lines which are all very quite on the trains themselves and everyone is heads down in their phones.

Beyond that

  • We have been getting up very early, around 6am to have breakfast at 6:30am and then getting out of the hotel around 7:30am.
  • Despite having different colour options here for the PS Vita, stores are often sold out of different colours which include a yellow/green, blue, and pink beyond the standard black.
  • As I mentioned yesterday, it looks like there is a deal on until August 31st where not only do you get Tax Free Shopping if you’re a foreigner, but if you pay with Visa, you get an additional 6% off, if you’re from China and have Union Pay, you get an additional 5% off.  It’s worth it if you want to bring electronics home.
  • The Maid Cafe, in particular Maiddreamin was an interesting and fun experience for us. Admittedly, expensive, but given the entertainment, it was worth it for the experience.
  • Scott picked up a very nice Sushi Knife and had it engaged with “Kuma”
  • You would expect that in the land of sushi, Kaitensushi restaurants would be everywhere.  They’re not, in fact Scott and I have found them very difficult to find.  And that’s more than fine as there are many other food experiences to be had in  a city the size of Tokyo.
  • We found a Yakitoria that did amazing Chicken Yakotori to help us get us through the Subway ride to dinner at the Yebisu Beer Hall near our hotel.
  • Shibuya at night is insane.  I was able to get some video of people crossing this evening.  Just wow.
  • I was expecting to see subway attendants ready to push people into the Yamanote line, and while we did see the attendants, there was no pushing.
  • We’re using a pocket WiFi hotspot that we rented for the week which is on the ‘au’ network. It’s amazing that the battery on it lasts all day with three devices pinging constantly.
  • If you play with a Nintendo 3DS and Streepass, be sure to clear you’re street passes.  I’ve gone through about 30 Streetpasses today.  Fun picking up the various regions in Japan, and pieces to puzzles, etc…
  • It has been unseasonably cool and quite grey in Tokyo this trip.  Very pleasant at one level, given it’s usually 10C warmer (well into the 30s and humid versus the 20s we’ve had).
  • Surprisingly, I’m not taking as many photos as I normally would on a trip.
  • KFC is expensive.  Easily $3 to $4 markup from home. No, we’re not eating there.  The only westernized fast food we’ve had is a McDonald’s deep fried Apple Pie (has to be done) and Starbucks Coffee.
  • Scott and I got our ink signatures in Japan.
  • Mister Donut exists in Japan!  They’re mostly long gone in Canada!  And no, we did not stop in and have one.

I am really enjoying it here.  It’s such a neat place.

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