19th August 2015: Kickstart in Minato (not Ueno for a change) {Japan, summer 2015}

After I don’t want to think about how many hours of travelling, a quite narrow connection and too many superhero films on the plane, I landed at Narita and got my suitcase. No problem through customs though I was quite surprised when the guy tried Spanish with me. That took a bit to register.

I had ordered my SIM card online, to pick up at the post office at Narita Airport, and then I had my first run-in with Japanese maps. Ah, the lovely Japanese maps. You gotta love them. Once located where the hell I was and which of the corridors I had to wlak, picking up the SIM was easy and efficient.

After that, I got my JR pass and my NEX ticket at the Narita JR office, recharged the Suica and and I set off towards Tokyo. During the NEX trip I took the time to exchange SIMs and get my internet connection up and running so I did not get too lost around. My original plan had been runnign to the Natural History Museum in Ueno, but the weather was nice and there was rain announced for the next day, so I changed plans on the fly.

I left my suitcase in Tokyo Station because I was not sure that it would fit in the coin lockers and there is a manned storage there. Fortunately, it did fit, and I set off towards Minato [港] to say hi to Tokyo Tower [東京タワー], Zojo-ji [増上寺], Shiba Koen [芝公園]. Just because I could.

I really like this view of Zojo-ji and Tokyo Tower.

The altar in Zojo-ji (sneaky pic):

Ema tablets and Mizuko belonging to Zojo-ji:

Small Buddhist altar in Shiba Koen, Nyoirinkanzeon [如意輪観世音].

Kumano Jinja [熊野神社]:

Shiba Koen view, along with a certain tree I really like:

The cicadas’ singing was deafening, but welcoming, and I spent the morning and early afternoon in Shiba Koen and the lower / free levels of Tokyo Tower, also getting used to my new camera – which I love, by the way. Afterwards I headed off to pick up my luggage and… well no, that’s not true.

As it was getting hot and I still had an hour to kill, I dropped by Akihabara [秋葉原]. It is not my favourite part of town but it was quite close to where I was and there is a nice Book Off, where my first shopping of the trip took place. I love the new ‘maxisingles’ section, makes everything so convenient.

Then I did head off to pick up my luggage – and had a bit of trouble locating my coin locker because Japanese stations have levels. Urgh. Afterwards I did head towards Satte in Saitama, as would be staying with a friend there. Then there was some food, and one of those flavours that I always associate with Japan – the strange veggies / fruits juice they have at the GUSTO drink bar. And then bed because excitement can only compete against jumping over half the world for so long and there was stuff to do the next day. Mainly fossils.

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