30 ft tall Buddha and a walk through Stereotypical Tokyo

The third day of my trip was as awesome as the first, but with less walking, for which my legs thanked me. My calves were especially sore after the long day, and even a week later one lets me know I pushed it too hard.  Here is the entire set of photos for this day.

It was another early start. My goal was to reach Tsukiji fish market before it closed. Unfortunately, it wasn’t open on Sundays, but I was able to fill the day quite well by visiting some other nearby famous sites. After a short walk and visit of a super market (which you should check out because it was very interesting – $10 cantaloupes!) I found myself in Ginza. Ginza is the street most people imagine when they think of Tokyo. The buildings are tall, and there are lots of ads hanging.

The famous clock tower.

Also, I found more people standing around waiting for something. At least this time it made sense. The Apple store was about to open. These people were almost alone on the street.

I ate some food picked up at the supermarket. Not all bad, not all good either. Yep, that’s a whole fish, and the green thing was filled with sweetened black beans. I probably shouldn’t have eaten that. I ended up throwing away nearly half.

I wanted to see Mount Fuji. Rumor has it that you can see it from Tokyo, but even at the highest points, it was not visible – probably due to haze. So my plan was to get closer on my way to Kamakura – where the 30 ft tall Buddha sits. My efforts were not fruitful, but I did get to see some smaller towns towards the south- putting me at ease that Japan wasn’t all tall buildings and asphalt.

My farthest point south was in Odawara. It was a seaside town, and I decided to get my feet wet plus find some lunch. This is also when I decided Fuji wasn’t in the cards. It clouded over and eventually rained. I couldn’t have seen the mountain if I was standing on it. Odawara is an interesting town with few westerners. Nothing in the shops tempted me, so it was a longish walk to the beach.

I couldn’t wait to get in the water.

I came across an old fort that was picturesque.

And some interesting things that weren’t buildings.

Nice Art

On my way to the Buddha

There’s a whole lot more of this area and the temple here.

And that was my great day. I was again super tired and even missed my connecting train on the way back. Thankfully I recognized one stop and was able to get back to the hostel before passing out for my last night in Tokyo. Next time Tsukiji and the Emperor’s Palace grounds.

Here is the entire set of photos for this day. 

Tokyo! It’s pretty amazing.

I don’t understand an single thing. Everything is close and small.  I’m finally not a short person!   There are lots of lights and colors – so much to distract.  ATMs don’t take my card.  Addresses are unrecognizable since street names are in Japanese, and the numbers don’t increase linearly.  This is about as foreign as I can imagine.

I’ve been a lot of places, but this one takes the cake for being strange.  The people are very friendly, and Tokyo is super clean, but no one speaks English (or only the fewest words).  The two Portuguese roommates at a hostel are the closest looking people to me that I’ve seen.  I basically hand people money in hopes for change. So far it’s been on the up and up.

Flying here took 14 hours from Dallas to Tokyo.  That was as long as I ever want to sit in one place. I’m 14 hours ahead, which suggests it will take 14 days (in the 1 day to 1 hour rule) to get over jetlag, but I think with strategic naps and beer I’ll be ready to go in 2 to 3 days.

Excitement is only one word to describe what I feel. Total disorientation is another. Having traveled plenty I thought I’d be ready for this. WOW!

The flight was uneventful. Boeing 777 with a selection of looping movies. That plane is much smoother in the air than it is on the ground. We saw some pretty sights from the air.

On the landing, which was the first time I had seen land since Alaska, we flew over at least 6 golf courses. I’m surprised that a country so hard up for land can afford that much wasted space. There were lots of rice fields and “towns” that are probably more like farming neighborhoods.

The airport exterior was as big as I’ve ever seen. The inside wasn’t sensational, pretty standard. Customs and Immigration was exactly like in the US with foreigners having to give fingerprints. I didn’t understand a word but kept thrusting my passport at people with hats on.

Here’s a metro car for AJ

And me, the almost tallest person around at the local market, temple, and famous Gate.

At this point I stood out like a neon light in rural Alabama. I was one of three non-Japanese people walking around, and my blue jeans with red-white-and-blue pearl snaps didn’t fit in. Tomorrow I’ll wear slacks and a button up. At least they won’t know I’m a first time tourist before I open my mouth.

The market was fascinating. I found a place that sold only chop sticks and another that sold only swords. Of course there were the obligatory fish restaurants with fish hats.

I found a McDonalds, a Dennys, and a Starbucks. Needless to stay I didn’t go in any of them. The McDonalds has only a few things on the menu. Not sure what they are.

The Temple was crowded, and people were praying. I don’t know what it honors, but it stands out as very distinct from the rest of the buildings.

And a few more to end this post

Here is a link to all of the, stupidly, unedited photos.   Oh, and don’t forget to take your shoes off when you come in. Slippers are in a basket by the door.