ben griffiths
an insight into the mind of a genius

Posts Tagged ‘imperial palace’

National Emperor Day!

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2006

Today as mentioned, was a very special day - as the Emperor was to make a public appearence with his family at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.

To make it however involved getting up hanously early (8:30!!! :eek:) which I almost made, well, 8:40 to be precise - but for me that was still a great achievement.

It was then a quick hop in the shower (where I almost fell asleep) before braving back into the cold with to meet Shimpei outside his house for 9:30 (originally 9, but no one could get organised in time).

The nearest station was (put in later), which meant we couldn’t catch the train from Wakabayashi, but had to make the walk to Umegaoka - which in the early morning cold really wasn’t the nicest journey - then to top it all off, McDonalds was closed, so I couldn’t even get a Sausage and Egg McMuffin :( (so had to make do with a burrito from the 7/11 instead)…

Hmm, I’ve just realised, it was lucky the September 11 attacks weren’t in July …..

Anyway, we had to switch trains part way through the journey, though apparently Seiko wasn’t going to join us, as just went off on the original train …. erm, quite…. leaving just Shimpei, Shiho and me to go meet the royalty.

The imperial park is a really beautiful place (I wrote about it last year, so I’m not going to go over old ground :p), but we didn’t have time to take it all in, as the queues were starting to form, so first stop the security checks…


Once through that, we followed the snake like path up to the actual palace itself, though not before passing this sign…. I’ll leave it up to you to determine why it was of interest ….. ;)

The journey up was actually quite nice as we got to see a lot of traditional Japanese structures, it was also quite special as normally you can’t go up here - so just for the new year…


Before finally finding our spot in view of the balcony…


And then at 11 o clock sharp, what we had all been waiting for…


And now the shocking bit. Never having been to anything like this before (nor in England I don’t think) - I wasn’t sure what would happen, but it was crazy - as soon as they appeared a massive cheer went up, followed by mass flag waving and the cries of “Banzai! Banzai!” - it was like being at a boxing match , awesome! :D

Not wanting to feel left out, I duely joined in. Though, part of me felt a bit strange, wondering if I was being disrespecful to Grandad in anyway…? Strange how the world works, and how things years past can still have effects to this day..

Alas, all too soon it was over (I had great fun) and as no one would queue up to see them again, we decided to go find some food instead. My suggestion of Pasta was immediately dismissed (swines!) - so instead we headed to Harajuku to a “famous” Ramen shop.

Ok, so it was quite nice, but really, £5 for a large pot noodle….. hmmm…..

Being in Harajuku of course meant we got the opportunity to go back to Kiddyland, the greatest shop in the world :) There was quite a lot inside tempting me, but i stayed strong and kept my credit card firmly in my wallet :D We however, manage to get the following cool photo inside :)

Finally (and with me almost asleep by now) we caught the train back, where I tried my best not to fall asleep on my bed. Unfortunately it was only 3pm, but i was just too tired to do anything, so just mucked around on here for a few (read MANY) hours.

Tomorrow the plan is to finish off a little bit of coding on my site to get a new business venture going, then spend the rest of it working on my Japanese book, with the aim of having everything converted over the next few days or so (my old book is written completely in romanji, i need to convert it to kana - no mean feet as I’m sure i spelt a lot of the ramanji wrong, so will need to keep looking it up in the dictionary.)

And finally, rather than leave off with a block of text, here, have a photo of downtown Tokyo :D

Sorry for the delay

Tuesday, April 6th, 2004

Blimey! Its been so long since I made an entry, everyday i wake up i feel all ‘out of it’, not sure why, i think i am oversleeping a bit too much!!!

Anyway, it seems justin has filled in the most block parts of the day (good boy!) so i will just fill in the blanks… btw, excuse my bad typing, the spacebar on the laptop broke, so we bought an external usb keyboard… but japanese… so the keys in different places!!! lol… :)

We seem to have been doing quite a lot in the evenings, but the days are always spent in bed sleeping (i guess cause of the tiredness factor from staying out all night…)

Making decisions seems to cause quite a few conflicts at times, as we both want to do different things, and i think this holiday is really testing our friendship, but it seems to be holding up, hurrah! Justin seems to be quite unhappy i dont; like japanese food… sorry japanese people, but your food sux!! All the types I do like, are apparently ‘western’ anyway, so don’t count…. don’t get me wrong, i would love to like it (its so cheap!) but its just nasty… cooked in, ummm, soya bean (i think misu) which reakes and is very offputting :)

Ok, hmmmm… where left off… well i think i had just bought the canon iXY 500, but the photos were so white it was unbelievable… just not good quality at all so i was determined to change it. Luckily the sales people seem pretty nice, and managed to swap it for a Casio Exlim exz40 (not out in uk yet) - good camera if you dont mind shed loads of noise :( wanted to take it back… but its so small and cute that i will keep it.. only £200 so no big loss… it will do until a better model is released (nothing else any good either) when i will get chiakiy to send it over :)

Thursday night we met Seiko for first time in Roppongi… she speaks so little english it was really, really awkward, but luckily after the drink had set in from Gas Panic (see j;s post) we started to get on a lot better… still not so good english, but can talk the language of smiles :)

Which incidently reminds me, since i have been here, i have had to dumb down my english (cut out a lot of words that are pointless) that i am worried i will not get it back when i get home!! lol… all the people we are meeting are female, so i am copying them… i sound like a frickin japanese chick! lol… when me and justin speak, so start with we talk slow, until we realise we are both english hahahahahahahahaha….

Erm anyway, yeah, so Thurday night was to celebrate justins start of birthday, so Gas Panic and then a club called the Lexington Queen… depending on the entry price, you either got 2/3/5 or 6 free drinks. There was only a 500 yen difference between 3 and 5 (currently 190 yen to the pound) so we went for the 5 drinks…. quite why i dunno as we were blatted after just the 2… lol… very good fun night, all range of music inc 2 or 3 trance tracks,. yay!

Oh, that reminds me… cost… Quite why everyone say Japan most expensive place ion the world i dont understand… its cheap as chips :) I guess somethings must cost a lot, but so far, most of my money going on Arcardes!!! Clubs cheaper than UK, drinks cheaper than London Central prices (Gas panic was only £2 per drink!), food cheaper, mcdonaldcheaper ;) transport cheaper…. i love this place… You can have a bonza night out for so little… then the trains start a 5:30 (hell yeah!) so you can get home cheap after a night out, then get some food (read whole meal) in the local noodle bar for about £2!!!!

Hehe, I’m jumping about here… really can’t remember what order… its now 2/3am or something and i am parched! lol…. erm…. oh yeah, dont buy porn mags from the convenience stores. Japanese law prohibits showing of genitalia, so porn mag = naked woman all fuzzed out.. lol… it would be more attractive if she were dressed :) - if you want ‘proper’ stuff, head to shibuya or shinjuku… i can’t confirm this, but word on the street says there is no censorship in the more seedy shops…..

Shibuya is a wicked place… massive tv screens on highrise buildings and many many lights (admittedly daytime it doesn’t look so good, but at night its awesome… very very pretty) - its the #teencapital# of tokyo (or one of them, the other one is apparently harajuku) and many can be seen wandering the streets with their millions of shopping bags. You get the dodgy looking ‘Ganguru Girls’ here too… they look like sh*t, with really really tanned brown faces and really bright makeup… i don’t understand… :( the kogal’s (just lots of brightmakeup, short skirts, loose socks etc…)
however are a lot more appealing to the eye…. ;)

Right, so now we are up to Friday… i have a feeling i was asleep all day until late… but knwoing justin we probably went shopping at some point… i have managed to aquire about 10 Kanji t-shirts, so am quite happy, but there is a shop in Harajuku with some Kanji Style jeans!!! Well gow you always wanted to get me in jeans, maybe now you will… if they can get my size in i will buy there :)

Ahhhh… which reminds me… kanji clothing… so hard to come across… The japanese love english charatcers, so everything in flipping english… grrr… its funny though, justin bought a tshirt which makes heck all sense… it does go on about having sex with little children though?!?!!? and mudmud! wtf!!

Harajuku is our local walking distance shopping place.. its quite nice, big screens again and right next to Yoyogi park, which is very beautiful and houses a japanese temple (well its not going to be american now is it?!?! haha) There is a place called ‘KiddyWorld’ there… just a huge 5 floor toyshop.. but its awesome! any money i have left over at the end of this holiday will be spent there.. they have a lifesize (human size) Doromon (sp?) which costs over £200!!!! I have bought a fwe things so far, but will definately return…

Friday night for Justins birthday, we went out to Chiakiys house in Arakawoki (in Ibaraki) where her mother took us to a traditional japanese restaurant. Was very nice (see i do like some of the food!) but i dont want to imagine the cost… Chiakiys mother has been so kind to us this holiday, i am trying to think of something really nice to do for her… maybe something in Kyoto, or take her out or something… Afterwards, we went to a 24hour karaoke bar (so different to how i imagines, you get your own room rather than sing to otherr people, good in a way, but it would be nice to have an audience) - so if you see the photos, its me and j, Chiakiy (the non japanese looking girl ;)), Michiko (Micha) Chaikiys best friend and Tdu (works at Burtons, (snow board shop) with Chiakiy)

That ended at about 5:30 or something, when we had to go get the train back to Tokyo, to sleep ready for the big saturday night out in Shibuya… Unfortuntely, we also had to get up a 3pm to go get Chiakiy from the station, so it wasn’t all bed of roses… Didn’t do too badly though and was up by 2 to pick her up… didn’t show until 3:30… doh!

Chiakiy had not been Tokyo before, so we figured it would be a good time to go for a bit of a sightsee.. Decided on Tokyo Central as it sounded important… but not really anything there… Did walk to the Imperial Park though, there should be some photos… very beautiful and some cool trees which you dont get here.. Walked around it for a bit then followed the road to Ginza, the most expensive part of tokyo. Kinda same thing, big buildings lots of lights, but very nice all the same. Bought the new GunsnRoses cd from HMV for only £9 (see, japan cheeeeep!) though was pissed when the sales guy took the Kanji bit out to put in another one… grrrrrrrrrr….

For night out, decided on Club Pure in Shibuya as it was only 2500 yen (£13) with all you can drink… wicked idea, wicked club.. worked very well. We had been warned off the place, but inside it was so nice, loads of sofas, films on big screens for if you get tired (with english subtitles, oh yes!) and of course the free drink policy… ya ta!

That finished at about 5am, when we went to the arcades and then to a noodle bar to get some breakfast (noodles with fried beef… yummy!) then home to bed.

Sunday was really boring as it just rained all day, and did absolutely nothing… so no photos… nothing to write…

Today, hurrah! I can’t believe it, i’ve only been writing 45 minutes and i am up to now… yip!

Woke up so late, but didn’t want to get up… Justin left to go (suprise suprise) harajuku, went and met him later on at about 5pm… soooo sleeeppy!

Decided to meet up with Seiko again, which is cool… its good to have friends here :) to go and play pool. Went to some pool hall, which charged per hour not per game.. Cool, except Chiakiy and Seiko never played before, so we didn;t excatly get the most for our money. Especially when only after 2 hours and 1 drink each the bill came to over £35!!!! feck! Not worth it, stupid place! Should have gone bowling like i wanted to! ha! Which reminds me, Chiakiy and Sekio now becoming friends. This is good as C not know anyone in Tokyo, but S say she can come and stay at her house :) awww… teamtokyo bring people together! nice one !

Chiakiy had to go home for work tomorrow, so took her back to station and went out for some dinner .., lovely, chicken curry with burger, sausage, prawns and scrambled eggs for only £4!! :) i LOVE japanese food, hahaha, i’m sure justin will have something to say about that…

Now then, just back home writing this, when i should be sleeping as we need to be up early tomorrow to catch the BulletTrain to Kyoto… gonna be about £150 return, so only gonna make the trip once. But staying over 1 or maybe 2 nights to get the most out of the place. Credit cards can be useful after all (even if the fricking payments take one month to process!!!!)

re the Sakurs house rules… seems everyone just says ‘f*ck it’ so its not as strict and crap as we thought it would be.. MSN and ICQ work (though I have so far had anough will power not to log on) and the FTP to put the pictures up works great…

One shocking thing.. we think our 1 meg broadband is fast (or 2 meg if you really push it) here in Japan you get for 4500 yen (22ish pounds) 100meg broadband.. yes… thats right, you did read that correctly.. i will try and scan in the advert to prove it… would love it at home, though the upstream is not so good, but then i guess you can#t have everything….!!!

People are really nice and friendly, no trouble seen yet (unless you count the 60 person fight / double mafia murder outside gas panic… but that was Yakuza related, so doesn’t really count) - Chiakiy even dropped her purse in an arcade, abd someone came running out to give it back… i wonder in england if the same thing would have happened.

A lot of the people in our block are here for a year teaching english. It seems like such a simple thing to do, maybe I would like to do it when I finish Uni…. i will see… but definately something i will think about… Everyone have so much fun and you only work 4 hours a day, not bad considering you get to take home about £1000 a month… :)

Phew… well now I am knackered, if i think of anything more, i will write,,, but probably not for a few days unless we net cafe in Kyoto or something. I need to pack my clothes now, though Justin is sparko, so will need to get it done in the morning.

Bai Bai! :)