OUR AIM IS TO TRAVEL AND SEE AS MUCH OF THE WORLD AS WE CAN.
All the elevators in Tokyo have a female voice calling out the floors and when the door opens. She sounds just like Minnie Mouse and it sounds like she is calling Mickie. It's hysterical. We had to buy a new suitcase today because ours broke. In fact they both broke but one is hopefully going to make it home.
We went to the major shrine area today and it was fabulous. Lots of interesting things and people. So much to see and discover. We loved it and didn't want to leave. But it was finally time so we found our way to the Narita Express which took some doing navigating that humongous station. We got to this fabulous airport with time to shop and walk about nine miles to the gate. I sure got my steps in for today. We are about to depart.
This was a long trip covering many thousands of miles and several distinct cultures and sub cultures with loads of interesting things to see and do. I think my favorite was Japan. I would have liked to spend more time in Kyoto and I would have loved to stay in a riokan but Jerry was afraid he wouldn't be able to get up off the floor (that's where the beds are ). Oh well, maybe next time.
We are home now and have just completed one entire circumnavigation of the globe! We are so proud that we took everything in stride and didn't kill each other in the process. It was something we have always wanted to do and we've done it!
I will start posting photos shortly.
So we went out to get our tickets for the airport express train and Jerry got us lost in the Tokyo Station, which is bigger than the Kyoto station. My directional skills got us out. We went to dinner which wound up being a Thai meal. Oh well, rice is rice.
Did I get a surprise when I sat down on the toilet this morning. It was hot and I jumped ten feet into the air. I guess that is what they do when it gets cold here and cold it certainly is. Anyway, we had a lovely day in Kyoto visit an ancient shrine and temple. There are loads of them here, but as Jerry says, you look at the outside and take pictures, then you take your shoes off and go inside and you can't take pictures so you go outside and put your shoes back on.
We returned to Tokyo just a few minutes ago. It is all lit up and there is Christmas music everywhere as well as people coughing and sneezing all over you. I think that is why they wear the masks. Tomorrow is our last day and we are going to a Shinto shrine that is very famous and where the surrounding area is like ancient Japan. It sounds very interesting. Anyway, we are really sick of malls even though the stuff in them is beautiful. We continue to interact with people and are loving it. We did,however, get lost in the Kyoto train station. It is massive and much bigger than any airport. The train system is phenomenal.
We have a cute room right near the Tokyo Station which is in a cute little neighborhood all decorated for the holidays and loads of people running around. In are room are the usual little gifts and amenities such as the cute little pajamas and slippers and little bags filled with cosmetics for the ladies. This certainly seems to be a prosperous society. Everyone is running around with packages. I do notice that many of the women seem to have osteoporosis. Maybe it's because when they were young children during the war they didn't have enough to eat. Everything went to armaments so I think people lacked the proper nourishment. Many people are bow legged and pigeon toed as well. It's really strange. Some of the teenagers are very tall but most people are quite little. And they all eat like horses. I don't get it. They order bowls of food that look like horse troughs and finish every bit. Yet they are so little. Am I missing something here? Well, we are about to take our evening walk in the freezing cold and get our usual Japanese bowl of soup with who knows what in it. If we both don't get pneumonia it will be a miracle!
After a really neat ride on the superfast Shinkansen Bullet Train we arrived at the beautiful new Kyoto Central Rail Station. We dumped our bag, got some lunch and started our lightning fast Kyoto sightseeing. We walked around to familiarize ourselves with the area around the hotel and then decided to do the hop on hop off bus. Big mistake. It had no roof and we literally froze our asses off. We had three layers including our warm jackets and that wasn't even close. We were huddled against each other and couldn't wait to get off. I could hardly pay attention. We got hot tea as quick as possible and then did a really cool thing. We went on a night walking tour of the Gion District which is the home of the Geisha. It was just fabulous and we even got to see a few real live Geisha going about their business. What a wonderful treat. The guide was wonderful and she spoke fluent English so we didn't have any trouble understanding her. It was so interesting seeing this sub culture up close and personal after reading about it for years. And we were quite lucky to actually see several of them close up and they did not mind having their photos taken. I was so thrilled. After the tour we had our usual authentic Japanese dinner of soup with noodles and shrimp. We went to a tiny local place where they treated us like family. Our waitress thought she was our mother. After she gave us the loaded plates and bowls she ordered us to dunk the shrimp into the soup and then eat it. She kept coming over to see if we were doing it right. Then she brought us forks. It was so funny.
We decided to take the Metro back to the hotel and wound up somewhere in the suburbs but found our way back with the help of a Metro employee. We will be here one more day and hope to see some more sights before boarding the Sinkansen for the trip back to Tokyo where we will have one more day. I think we are finally getting tired and my eyes are beginning to slant a bit. I love the sights, the people and the food but it is really too cold. I had heard that people here were pushy and rude but that is not true at all. We found everyone very helpful up to the point of going completely out of their way to assist us and lots of people just wanted to talk to us and find out where we were from.
Tonight we have a huge hotel room with a balcony which we wouldn't dare use or we would freeze to death. They have all sorts of interesting amenities in the hotels here. I have yet to figure out what some of them are. They also give you slippers and tiny little pajamas. The toilets all have bidets and the first time I sat down I nearly jumped out of my skin. I really love Kyoto and wish we had more time to visit all the temples and castles. I have done a lot of ready about this period in Japanese history and to actually see these things is outstanding. Kyoto was the capital of Japan for hundreds of years including the Edo period during the height of the Samauri era so there is a wealth of historical buildings and areas to see. What an interesting and fascinating country Japan was back in those days. Photos and words don't do it justice.
One last tidbit: we were picked up by a black cab that looked like a limo but was really just an ordinary old Toyota cab. It was shiny and immaculate and ran like a dream. But the interesting thing was the driver. He wore a black business suit and white gloves! They all do. How very cute.