Day 3 – My kind of shopping…

Okay so today I’m going shopping. Japan is pretty much the centre of the known nerd Universe for videogaming. Being a said nerd, I take a short walk (5 miles) in to the Akihabara district. 

This is basically a technoheaven. Retrogaming shops galore, so yeah I spend a pretty penny. Live anime folls.on every corner. I resist the urge to perv and photograph, mainly because it will probably land you in jail. Japan loves to use the short skirts and big eyes to it’s advantage but try not to get too excited over it, or.you will find yourself getting a night in jail. I decide to spend my money on games instead, it proves a very fruitful trip.

Shopping done for the day I take the stroll back to Shinjuku. 

Although there is a McDonalds/Burger King or Subway on just about every street, I’m resisting the urge. Sure I’ve bought a few local delicacies that have ended up in.the bin but.it’s quite easy to be well fed here. There are plenty of restaurants to choose from and almost every shop counter has a hot.food service. Plenty of fried chicken and meat dumplings to choose from. Plenty for a carnivore.like me to get my teeth in to.

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Tokyo – Day 2

So today was just an orientation day. Taking a walk around the district and seeing what I can find.

I don’t do touristy stuff. It doesn’t interest me and generally is just a way to rip folks off. It’s better to just find your own way.

No jet lag either, which is good. I mean anyone who knows me understands that i rarely sleep properly anyway, so my body is pretty good at adapting to weird sleep cycles.

Straight out in to the Shinjuku district and it gives you a great taste of Japanese City life. Thousands of people going about their daily lives. Neon signs galore and wall to wall traffic. But all of it seemingly going about it in a calm and collected manner. Japanese people seem pretty respectful to each other. Bowing and apologizing for getting in your way, or to say thank you for getting out of their way, not the usual snarling and growling you get on the average English pathway.

As busy as this district gets, it’s a shopping mecca, you can easily get off the beaten track. It seems that Japan has maintained it’s traditional style of alleys to duck down and find the real Japan. Dive little bars and niche shops. But most of all, a lil peace and quiet is never far away.

It didn’t take long to get comfortable here. Everyone seems super friendly and all the relevant signage is dual language, with English along side Japanese, so it is easy to get around. Everywhere is clean and well organized, a strange concept for most of the Western hemisphere.

So far every stereotype you know about Japan has born true. They milk the anime style when trying to sell you something. It’s difficult to tell the difference between your average street hawker trying to get you in to their restaurant and a street hooker. I guess the main differences are the menu and the bill ๐Ÿ™‚

Sometimes you can do both. I found a noodle bar right next to a brothel, everyone gets the munchies after sex, right? They cater for everything. 

They even have a cafe where you mingle with cats… only in Japan!

Only been a day but really enjoying it so far.

 

Posted in Tokyo 2017 | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Earthquake update: If the beds a rockin’… you might wanna run :)

Apparently there were two pretty big quakes in the area today.
I felt the smaller of the two, a mere 5.4mag, as it was just off shore and closer.

Anything above a 4.0mag will wake you up. ๐Ÿ™‚

Was legit very cool. People panicked… I grinned like a cheshire cat ๐Ÿ™‚

2017_10_06_17_34_48_Latest_Earthquakes

Posted in Tokyo 2017 | Leave a comment

Moshi Moshi! Tokyo-a-go-go!

So this year is completely different. What started out as a random drunken discussion turned in to a whole new solo adventure.

japan sun-silhouette-sun-illustration

Tokyo… in Japan, just in case you didn’t know, is halfway around the World and a long way outside of my comfort zone. It sounded like a cool place to go! so I decided to go.

Generally I really hate cities. They are full of miserable impolite self absorbed lemmings.

But anyway, I committed myself to the adventure some time ago and counted down the days.

Now I have 14 days in Japan, really only 12 days on the ground due to the flights taking a day each way.

Everything went smoothly on the way out. Stopping over in Beijing, China, for about an hour. Both flights were pretty perfect. Luggage arrived safely with me in Tokyo, often a worry with long haul connecting flights as it is quite possible, that although I make it safely to Tokyo, my underwear could end up in New York. Probably causing Trump to threaten nuclear war with England due to my underwear being classed as weapons of mass destruction.

So, first hurdle accomplished. Now to find my way to the hotel. Taxi? nah, too easy. I bought prepaid tickets for a bus in to the City Centre. About a 40 minute journey, mostly expressways (motorways)

Bus station located, everything is signposted in both Japanese and English, so that was very easy. Also everyone serving me so far speaks very good English, unlike us failed ignorant westerners who can’t be bothered with other languages. I did learn the basic greetings before I came out here but it doesn’t look like I will need them much.

Okay so Japan is no 3rd World country. However they do appear to lack Wi-Fi hotspots of any kind. Fortunately I read about this before I left and the best solution is a pocket wifi receiver. You have to rent these and they are ยฃ60 for 2 weeks. Not a bad price to pay to subdue the internet addiction that we all suffer from nowadays. These are collected from the Airport. Everything seems to be going well.

The bus took me to exactly where it promised, well signposted again. So here I am, central Tokyo and about 23 hours after leaving England. But I am still a mile away from my hotel, surrounded by what appears to be half the populated universe of people. Bright lights, noise, traffic, hustle, bustle… this certainly isn’t the camino ๐Ÿ™‚

Taxi? pfffft… for amateurs. I take to the streets. 10kg backpack, day pack, tired eyes, weary legs and google maps. Sure I get lost, its part of the fun. I crossed the Shinjuku zebra crossing, probably the most famous crossing in the World due to its size and capacity for scurrying humans. Was kinda scary. Pictures of that i’m sure will follow at some point.

Further up the road I stop to take my first photograph of the bright and vibrant city that this is, before plodding on towards my bed. Not the best picture, they get better, but I just wanted to get on to the hotel.

20171005_211630

Whilst typing this, at midnight on the morning of October 7th, my bed has started shaking from side to side, and not due to anything I am doing! People are running from room to room panicking a bit. I guess I just experianced my first Japanese Earthquake ๐Ÿ™‚ย  That was kinda cool!!

Anyway on with my story. So I found my hotel… “ohayo gozaimas” I say, in my worst Japanese. “Hello, how may I help?” comes the reply from my super friendly receptionist. Ah well, I tried. So the hotel is small, old fashioned, but pretty cozy. Great welcoming folks and at least I have a bed.

End of day 1 and all went remarkably well.

 

Posted in Tokyo 2017 | 1 Comment

Day 16 – Leaving, on a jet plane…

Cudillero to Asturias Aeropuerto – 15 miles

It was a sad moment to leave this pretty little town today. Everyone has their place that they go to cleanse their soul, I certainly have those places in the UK and now I have one in Spain.

So the 10 mile stroll to the airport today turned in to 15 miles thanks to google maps. I decided to take it’s advice and follow the shortest route to the airport. After a 3 mile trek in the hills I returned to the road at EXACTLY the same place I had started an hour before!

It was a proper “What the fuck?” moment when I realised what had happened. I have never done that before, ever! ย Sure I have got lost but my nose always bought me home with no additional mileage. I was raging at my damn phone. Fucking technology! Great when it works. Turned that shit off and figured it out for myself.

Now a night at the airport beckons. Its a good job I have a fully charged Kindle, enjoy people watching and am very adept at talking bullshit to random strangers ๐Ÿ™‚

Adios Espana! Its been fun xx

Posted in camino2016, The Way | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 15 – My spirit is crying for leaving

Chilling in Cudilleroย 

This place reminds me of so many great places in the UK, a beautiful seaside port. It doesn’t matter where you go in the World; waves sound the same, the Sea smells of the Seaย and the gulls laugh in the same language. Looking at an ever changing horizon is a very peaceful moment.

This is the first place I fell in love with in Spain last year and it was always my intention to end this trip here again. I already feel like I’m back at home.

So the Camino is done and other than a couple of blisters it doesn’t feel like it. I could go and do it again, or at least carry on from here. Sadly real life gets in the way and the grind beckons. Still, if life was always a holiday then what would we have to look forward to? ๐Ÿ™‚

20160917_11082920160917_122908

20160917_11371220160917_120122

Posted in camino2016, The Way | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 14 – Let’s go back to the start

Villaviciosa to Gijon: 18.91 miles

Joined up with last years start point today, this was the minimum that I wanted to achieve this year so I’m pretty chuffed considering the damn heat and then the damn rain.

19 miles done today and it was pretty painful. Went off-piste again and very glad I did. The original route was confusing and all inland. So thanks to Google maps I decided just to find my own way and it was much more satisfying, with more long shots of the Ocean until the beach finally loomed in Gijon.

That was supposed to be the port of call tonight but as soon as I saw the place I couldn’t wait to get out. It’s a huge City and I hate Cities, they are generally full of miserable people. So I decided to jump on a train to Cudillero, one of my favourite places from last year. The 2 hour train ride cost ยฃ3 and was 31 stops, the cost of 1 stop in the UK!

The train journey passed Asturias airport, the starting point of last year’s Camino. So the lines have officially been joined.

Got 2 days of rest here and then one finally little skip and hop of 10 miles back to the Airport on Sunday afternoon. Flight back is early Monday morning so I get quite a few hours of people watching.

Technically the Camino is over, I’m just backtracking on myself now.

It was another great experience. IF I do it again next year then I will look at a quieter route or perhaps do it at a different time of year. Or I’ll just find a similar path somewhere else in the World. Don’t think I’ll be sitting on a beach for 2 weeks, that’s for sure ๐Ÿ™‚

I just added up the final numbers:-

229 miles walked/limped/crawled in 13 days.

464,829 steps

Posted in camino2016, The Way | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment