18.01.2012 - 18.01.2012 7 °C
Morning comes and we rouse ourselves after up to 14 hours sleep. Some of us still look like the walking dead though. Breakfast is a varied buffet, basically Japanese, with a few western things to keep everyone happy. Volume is no issue, plenty for all.
This morning we have booked a bike tour around a bit of Tokyo, so we have to get to Naka-Meguro, right across town. The change of lines at Ueno was a bit of a hike – like most major city metros, although the schematic for the network shows two lines changing at a station, in reality the walk can be anything up to half a k. Out to the end of the Hibiya line, and down to see Neil at Tokyo rent a bike. From base, we head up through the typical local housing(very small to our Australian eyes) to Daikanyama, a low key and exclusive area, then on to Shibuya with the love hotels in the back blocks and its landmark crossing (not all that crowded at 11am on a cold day). Neil is giving us back ground as we go, helping us to make a bit of sense of it all. From Shibuya, we head up through Yoyogi park, looking quite bare at this time of year, to Harajuku and the Meiji Shrine. The shrine is a lovely sight with the copper roof and the huge cypress columns and beams.
After this peaceful interlude, we head into Takeshita Dori, the teenager’s street, although today there are almost as many tourists. We grab an oh so sweet crepe to keep us fuelled, and head off up to Jingu, where the big baseball parks are. Here Neil puts us into a batting cage and we show that Australians don’t know much about baseball, but we can hit fast moving objects. In fact, we are told as cyclists, we make great baseballers? The next part of the tour piqued my interest the most, as we head down through the Aoyama cemeteries. Here we get to see the burial grounds of some of Tokyo’s citizens. Some of the plots are simple, running the gamut through to mini Japanese gardens and bonsai landscapes.
From here we have a brief interlude in Roppongi Hills before a high speed descent down from Ebisu to get back to base. Four hours was well spent getting an overview of part of Tokyo.
Safely off the bikes (and admiring a new house in the back blocks of naka Meguro) we head down the street where there is a mega bike – a Surly Pugsley – and a ramen shop for us to have a go at. There is no point and order menu, but we have to buy tickets at a little vending machine and hand them over to get our food cooked – this way the cook does not need to bother with handling money. With the lucky dip concluded we dig in to a huge bowl of noodles to sate our hunger.
There was a bike shop nearby that I wanted to go to, and which I found easily enough, but it was shut today. This was going to happen a few more times. With no plan as to what happens next, there was a bit of a conference before we head to Akihabara, so G could see about taking a PS3 back to Australia. The stores people said it won’t work, and there was only a $30 – 60 saving anyway. Also asked at another place where they were showing much cheaper, second hand consoles, but the same story there.
As it happened while we were in the area, I knew of a few model shops that I wouldn’t mind looking in...
In the end it was a bit later by the time we got back into bed tonight, may make tomorrow morning a bit of a drag...