Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Japan Trip: Blog 8

Tuesday was a day of travel for us. We zig zagged across the city....for fairly cheap.

The day started with a trip to the Tokyo National Museum. This was for Kelli. I don't care for Museums unless they have computers or cars.

The trip over there required two subway lines. We've yet to go anywhere on just one subway.

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The museum is located in a very beautiful park. Of course I forgot to charge the camera batteries and had to use my cell phone for photos for the day. Most came out nice.

We walked thru the HUGE park to the Museum, passing temples and a zoo along the way.

There was some major event going on inside the Museum grounds. Lots of Japanese were very dressed up and all bought the higher priced "all access" ticket. We bought the 500 Yen basic ticket.

The Museum was nice. I was bored after about 9 minutes.

After the Museum (I don't know why I am capitalizing that word), we headed to lunch. Frommers guide (anyone traveling should buy one!) suggested an Indian buffet close to park. The area is very interesting....all of Tokyo is interesting. The restaurant is located in a small building on the 3rd floor. Each floor has ONE restaurant/cafe. We took the wrong elevator the first time and ended up in the lobby of a Japanese cafe.

The Indian buffet was small but good. Only about 6 choices for food. One very odd thing was the requirement to reuse the same plate over and over again. Also no covers over anything. There were two men sitting directly next to uncovered food. Odd in deed.

In Japan when you order a drink...other than water...that's all you get. No refills. It doesn't matter if it cost $4 (we paid that for ONE glass of coke somewhere) that's all you get. Expensive and annoying. I finally found "big" coffee at Starbucks. Haven't bought it...just saw it. All the Japanese I could see had small or "tall" size cups.

After lunch we explored the area. It was a shopping district. Lots of store lined alleys. The stores are all open faced....like a flea market.

The Japanese appear to love shoes...there were a ton of shoe stores. I joked that I should go ask for a size 14. I bet they would say, "Ah, finally...one day I knew a crazy big foot American would walk into my store, here you go." He would then hand over a pair of Converse from 1986.

We bought a Halloween fancy cupcake from a cafe. Halloween is big here. The cupcake tasted odd to me....Kelli liked it though.

I bought a huge can of coke...17 ounces.

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I then opened it and drank it while walking down the alley. Later I read that it's considered rude and bad taste to walk and drink ANYTHING.I find this odd as there are a ton of vending machines. The proper thing to do is buy a drink...chug it down...and keep on walking. Seriously? Makes sense as next to every vending machine is a trash can/recycling box. There are no public trash cans. Again odd because the entire city is very clean. For example they have crews who rake up leaves rather than blow them away. These are government crews...not companies.

The area has a lot of casinos. I would have played if I knew how the machines worked. They play with these little silver marbles...not tokens.

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We then headed to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building.They have two free observations areas each on the 45th floor. Getting there required 2 subways as normal. Once there we had to walk on surface streets for quite a distance. Later on the way back I saw where we could have taken a free train. Doh!

The views were amazing. Tokyo is seriously huge. I mean huge. I couldn't see the end of the city from any direction.

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We were somewhat tired by this point. It was 3PM. I dug through Frommers guide for shopping. It mentioned the Electronics district (which I hope to stop by again this evening) and that many subway stations have huge shopping areas. We decided to head to Tokyo Station.

One thing about subways here. The fare we pay has NO direction relationship to how far we travel. We went from west Tokyo to central Tokyo. The first subway ride was under 3 minutes...maybe 1/3 of a mile. Cost deducted from our card was $1.60. We then rode for over 15 minutes...10 stops...several miles...and paid $0.90. WTF?!?!? It's a guessing game. We just keep putting money on the card.

After arriving at Tokyo Station we stopped by a vending machine and chugged down drinks.

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We never found the shopping areas. We did find the Imperial Palace Gardens. The area was very nice. We spent about 30 minutes in the area before heading to dinner.

We got lucky and walked to the subway line we needed. For the first time we took one subway to our destination...actually near our destination.

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This restroom map is important...it shows there is ONE western toilet

Emerging from the subway I quickly noticed we were surrounded by teens. All around and dressed in very trendy clothes.

It took us a bit to figure out where we were. Very few streets in Tokyo have names. We then followed Frommers instructions to "possibly the best Mexican food in Tokyo." Stop laughing.

After thinking we were lost 3 times we made it. Right at opening time.

The restaurant is WAY under ground. We walked down two flights of circling stairs before reaching the front door.

The front desk host feverishly studied the seating guide and then wrote several numbers on a piece of paper. We then were led further underground.

The scenery and music is 100% spot on for a Mexican restaurant. I could have easily been anywhere in Texas.....until the food arrived.

Placed on our table was the smallest bowl of chips and salsa I have ever seen. There were not more than 20 chips in this small bowl. The salsa bowl was no bigger than the top of a coke can. Seriously.

The prices were crazy expensive .Beer was 985 Yen (about $9.85). A margarita was 1200 Yen (about $12.00). I ordered a margarita. Kelli ordered a cola (no brand given).

For dinner I ordered beef tacos. Kelli ordered Quesadillas. The menu said Spinach, Cheese and Mushroom Quesadillas. Now Quesa means literally cheese tortilla.

My tacos were decent. Small. Decent beef chunks. The margarita was awful. It was a Cadillac Margarita with top shelf liquor...but horrible. Kelli however was in for an adventure.

On her plate were three fried pies. They looked like fruit pies. She took a bite. All spinach. I told her surely there was cheese in the next bite. She kept going. More spinach. I cheered her on. More Spinach. They appeared to have forgotten cheese or mushrooms! It was a spinach pie.

I picked up the next one. I took a bite. Cheese! She took the next bite. More cheese. I figured it out. See the menu said Spinach, Cheese AND Mushroom Quesadillas....not Spinach, Cheese, Mushroom Quesadillas. Each pie was it's own creation. WTF?!!?!?

The bill for our horrible meal was 4500 yen...about $45. This for a meal that would be $20 top in the United States. Word to visitors...never eat Mexican food in Japan. I can only imagine what Eric and Angela would have thought of this place. They like Mexican food as much as we do...I think Eric likes it more than me. Yeah.

We took the long walk back to the subway. More teens about. Crazy the number of them. Very trendy area.

After two subways we were back to the hotel.

I haven't slept past 3AM Tokyo time (1PM Dallas) since I have been here. Odd. Today is Tokyo Disney. Tokyo Disney isn't owned or operated by Walt Disney. It's owned by a private company.

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