Totoro's rants

Totoro's rants

Day 4 : Tokyo - Shimbashi, Roppongi, Shibuya

JapanPosted by Totoro42Blue Fri, October 31, 2008 08:58:07
After my hearty breakfast (I need to take a picture of this) with a little mountain of scrambled eggs, a couple of meat balls, half a dozen fish sticks and half a dozen of sausages together with a glass of orange juice, and then finishing it off with a bun with strawberry or orange marmelade. At least I have stopped being hungry after eating that. The first couple of days I was still hungry after the breakfast of this size.

My travel companions suggested a walk to Roppongi Hills from the closest JR railway station and from there on to Shibuya to do some shopping. Now my travel companion can sorta be called a half-luddite, he believes strongly in the use of ones own legs instead of more convenient transportation like trains or cars in a big city. This all good and well, but Tokyo is a *big* city and it takes quite a walk to make 'small' distances and then there is the little detail of cars. There are a lot of cars in Tokyo, and the 'long' stretches between the different parts of the city is really only ideal for driving in a car (or by train). Walking the distance will bring a quite large number of inconvinient substances from the air into ones lungs. But hey gotta try something once at least.

Getting off at Shimbashi, which we estimated that according to the map was the closest station to Roppongi, we started walking toward what we assume was Roppongi. After several map consultations we finally found our direction towards it.

Shimbashi is (I am sorry but this it the truth I believe) not the most interesting part of Tokyo, actually I was not able to find anything worthwhile to see there.
Blog ImageThe above was a temple in the shadow of a tall building, which seemed not to serve primarily as a religious site, but much more important as a smoking area. You can see a few people in the picture smoking, but actually most were sitting along the fences just outside the picture frame.

When we reached Roppongi we continued onwards to Roppongi Hills.
Blog ImageWhere one of the famous spiders are.
Blog ImageFunny enough its body even was full of 'eggs'.
Blog ImageWe bought tickets to the observation deck on the 45th floor (I think it was). Below is the view of among other things the Tokyo Tower.
Blog ImageUnfortunately the sun had not quite broken through, so visibility was not the best. In the observation area it was possible to buy something called Watta Juice, I choose the Power version (=anti-ageing) with wildberries and green tea, but rather than being a juice it tasted more like a 300ml smoothie. But a rather nice one indeed, if I ever come back I will definitely have a juice again.
Blog ImageAlthough visibility was not the best, I of course ended up taking a lot of pictures anyway.
We then continued up to the helicopter deck or skydeck where we were on top of the building in the open air. Which was quite exciting and interesting, and the air was really good up there as well.
Blog ImageJust below the tower was a small, very small park, which had a really artificial look to it. But it was a green area.
Blog ImageHaving seen all we wanted to see in Roppongi Hills, we then continued on our masochistic journey across Tokyo, now walking towards Shibuya along what was a highway. Again the problem is that the alternative would be a longer zig-zagging walk along small roads with an additional potential bonus feature to get lost. So we laboured on towards what we believed to be Shibuya.
Blog ImageThe above picture actually shows the area just to the south-west of the railway station in Shibuya. We did not know that at this point and had a little fun walking around a hotel trying to interpret the signs that directed us towards the station. What we did not understand at this point was that it was actually still a bit of a walk.

Finally after finding the a well-known landmark (at least by us) in Shibuya, the Hachiko Square, we decided to find something to eat, and went for the McDonalds close to the square (Yeah, I know). My travel companion obviously in need for some specific dipping for his fries, tried with his best Texas accent imitation to order remoulade with his fries (he admitted later on he had no clue what it was called in English so he sorted of tried to make it sound English - or in this case American). Of course you cannot get that in Japan, but he got some lemon dip, which actually is quite good with fries. Actually remoulade is called that in English speaking countries as well, invented in France it is otherwise mostly known in the Scandinavian (DenmarkI countries.

After the long walk and the exclusive lunch, I tried to do at least some shopping. First went to Tokyo Hands and bought and assorted set of Studio Ghibli inspired key rings, fridge magnets and so on. A little mushroom also became part of the shopping. Now being tired from the long walk, I gave up after 2 - 3 floors and went back towards Hachiko square, passing a woman's department store, which I really did not feel like visiting in my sweaty state (I am still in need to look for some specifics there). My usual DVD-CD store in the corner building at the square I had to give up on as well. I decided to simply make it back to the hotel for some rest.

In the evening we went to a local (very local) restaurant and I ordered some pork with come cold noodles, salad and the usual side dish of miso soup and rice. I forgot to take a picture of this. The sauce was quite spicy and nice, and the dish was actually quite okay, something I would retry in the future.

After that we went back to the hotel where I proceeded to spend the night coughing up substances breathed in during the day or at least trying to. Well it was not that bad to spent a day in Tokyo on primarily foot.

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