Nerdtour 2016 Japan: First full (frustrating) day in Tokyo…

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Tokyo Metropolitan Building

So, today opened bright and early for me (well, early anyway) as I woke up at about 5 AM again, so after fitfully trying to get back to sleep I gave up and got up. I hadn’t planned anything specific, but as I was checking web cams around the area of Mt. Fuji, I saw that there were crystal clear views of the mountain, so I decided to try to take a highway bus out to a town called Oshino. I made it to the bus terminal in Shinjuku, and found out that you need to book ahead, as all the morning buses were booked for the next few days. The afternoon buses ran after 2 PM, which since it takes 2 hours to get to Oshino, I abandoned that plan since I couldn’t get back until the next day. I decided to try for Plan B, go to a high spot in Tokyo and look for Fuji from whatever observation deck I could find. I discovered I was within walking distance of the Tokyo Metropolitan Building, which has observation decks on the 45th floor of each tower, so I thought this was my chance. Wrong. Turns out it was clear air near Mount Fuji, but in Tokyo there was major humidity which caused major haze, thick enough to hide Mt. Fuji and most of Tokyo. My luck continues on the Fuji viewing front.

View from the observation deck

On a positive note, there was an exhibition on the observation floor, where each of the prefectures in Japan were displaying and selling products specific to those prefectures. I looked each display over and decided to buy something from Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures, since they were hardest-hit by the earthquake and tsunami five years ago. Yes, I bought food from Fukushima prefecture, and no I don’t expect to glow in the dark as a result.

After a light snack of an apple strudel-like thing at the observation deck cafe, I set out to go back to the hotel to drop off my purchases. On my way out, I stopped at the Tourist Information Office on the first floor, and picked up some tourist brochures. Sadly, I don’t think Tokyo’s going to be ready to handle a bunch of foreigners when they come for the Olympics in 5 years, since probably about 95% of the “tourist information” brochures were in Japanese only. Not a very welcoming sign.

Blossoms on the Meguro River

When I got to the hotel, the cleaning crew was still working on my room, so I went back out to the 7-Eleven across the street, bought a small salad with tuna, a sliced hard-boiled egg, lettuce, carrots, and corn, and ate lunch at a small city park near the hotel. I finished a bit after the cleaning crew, so I was able to drop my stuff off, and drop myself in front of the laptop to scope out some cherry blossom sites. I had read about the Meguro river, which is lined with cherry trees on both sides, and which has a loooong street festival with food vendors of nearly every kind. The trees are lit at night and there are lanterns ever couple of feet, so folks can enjoy the view until late. So, since the Naka-Meguro station is at the end of the subway line that runs by the hotel, I figured I’d try it and see, at least I wouldn’t have to worry about being able to see it all.

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Riverside meal

I got there just before sunset, and as I was wandering around I was amused by one of the vendors who was selling a square slice of pizza, and so I had to buy a small pizza and beer from them. Corona beer and Japanese pizza, while looking at cherry blossoms, the life of a modern world traveler!


At any rate, that was the day, I wandered around the area until well after sunset, and got some nice pictures of the blossoms lit from below! Enjoy!

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4 Responses to Nerdtour 2016 Japan: First full (frustrating) day in Tokyo…

  1. Sis says:

    Really nice pictures.

    Can you plan ahead another day to get to Mt. Fuji?

  2. Joseph says:

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  3. David says:

    I don’t know if you remember me, but I sat across from you on a flight back from Japan a few years ago and we ended up having a great conversation about cameras and travel. I’ve enjoyed seeing your post notifications pop up in my email and reading/seeing some of your adventures. As always, great pictures. They make me want to get back to Japan one of these years.

    -Dave

    • Captain Nerd says:

      Hi David, yeah I definitely remember you, I think that was in ’16, or was it ’12? At any rate, it was good having someone to talk to on a long flight! One reason you’re getting email is probably because I’m re-doing my websites, I’m going to make this into a pure blog, and I have a photography site where most of my pictures will be going, but I’ll have links to them from the blog entries here. I got to go back last year in ’18 for my 60th birthday, which was neat but it was blisteringly hot, and I managed to hurt my knee pretty badly so it wasn’t a completely good time, but I managed okay with painkillers. It was almost too hot to do most things, when I got there the temperature (not heat index!) was nearly 114 degrees, with about 50% humidity. I did manage to see a few things, and I keep meaning to post the pictures, but I’ve been really busy so this site keeps building up cobwebs!

      I hope you get to go again, I’ll have one more trip in Spring of ’21 planned, and unless I win the lottery that’ll likely be my last one, it costs too much for airfare!

      Take care,
      Andrew

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