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Arriving in Tokyo

Japan. It’s a special place. It’s my idea of what most of tomorrow’s cities will become.It’s as urban and modern as it is old and steeped in tradition. Even down to the homeless(which are tough to find yet we managed to stumble upon on our second night walking back to the hotel) are a modern day flux of hyper-contrast – they’re strangely yet frankly the most cleanest, most organised bums i’ve ever seen, and still, in an era where there’s gameshows on telly about who could possibly pick up the phone the quickest (we seriously watched this one night in the hotel), people still live on the streets, under bridges and in playgrounds on the corner of most inner suburbs.

Despite this Tokyo is about as nice a place on the planet as they come. The formality, pride, manners and respect is abundant the minute you step off the plane. It’s a striking contrast to Australia. Even the most mundane of roles in Japan are met with great pride and civic responsibility, while in the land of the lucky, bogan pride is especially ripe in the air, with that ever-present whoft of self-entitlement and getting something for nothing going rampant.

But without ranting too far on that topic, you’ll definitely get the sense that the people in Japan as a whole are not individuals but rather a community of people living together. Whether this comes from a literal lack of land any real Western-sized land ownership over hundreds of years gnawing into the way society works and sharing what actual open public land is available freely and openly or something else entirely, i’m not sure, but it’s a privelege to be a guest to a society where people are actually willing return lost or stolen goods rather then being selfish. (more on that later).

Anyway, with that in mind, there were theme parks to be visited, rides to be ridden and cultural things to be ticked off on the list. The whole trip was jam packed – with a Nikon D90, a few lenses and a GoPro Hero 2 HD in hand we explored and adventured for a grand total of 12 amazing days. From Tokyo to Kyoto, this is Ben & Michelle’s 2012 Japan trip.

The video of our first few days is to come, but in the mean time here’s some photos.

Bags packed and at Gold Coast Airport nice 'n early.
Bags packed and at Gold Coast Airport nice ‘n early.

 

Passports? Check. Gate passes? Check. Cool leather holder thing? Check.
Passports? Check. Gate passes? Check. Cool leather holder thing? Check.

 

Tokyo here we come!
Tokyo here we come!
"It's so pretty!"
“It’s so pretty!”
For a six foot plus guy, the exit row is an epic win for legroom! The only downside? Right next to the loos. You could say that really "sucked."
For a six foot plus guy, the exit row is an epic win for legroom! The only downside? Right next to the loos. You could say that really “sucked.”

 

After a bit of confusion with the cab driver, we arrived at APA Hotel in Nihonbashi, where I realised we had left my passport on the bus from Narita Airport!
After a bit of confusion with the cab driver, we arrived at APA Hotel in Nihonbashi, where I realised we had left my passport on the bus from Narita Airport!

We came back to the T-CAT terminal where the bus arrived at which point they had already found my Passport! Japanese integrity = brilliant. We celebrated with our first Vending Machine experience of the trip.
We came back to the T-CAT terminal where the bus arrived at which point they had already found my Passport! Japanese integrity = brilliant. We celebrated with our first Vending Machine experience of the trip.

Post missing Passport, our next issue was with our brand spanking new iPhone 5s. Apparently I ordered Micro-sims when I should've ordered Nano-sims and needed to get a Sim Card Trimmer to get them to fit. How hard could that be, right?

Post missing Passport, our next issue was with our brand spanking new iPhone 5s. Apparently I ordered Micro-sims when I should’ve ordered Nano-sims and needed to get a Sim Card Trimmer to get them to fit. How hard could that be, right?

Our hotel room while in Tokyo! Small but totally amazing.
Our hotel room while in Tokyo! Small but totally amazing.

 

The elevator had a mirror and then this happened.
The elevator had a mirror and then this happened.

 

Our first ever walk in downtown Tokyo. Already it's super quiet and crazy beautiful.
Our first ever walk in downtown Tokyo. Already it’s super quiet and crazy beautiful.

 

Random bicycles and people cleaning the paths? This place is kind of cool.
Random bicycles and people cleaning the paths? This place is kind of cool.

 

Cables. Cables everywhere.
Cables. Cables everywhere.

 

Seriously, this place is dense.
Seriously, this place is dense.

 

This made me giggle alot. Where are they taking the kids to?
This made me giggle alot. Where are they taking the kids to?

 

Morning McDonald's at our train station, Suitengumae. So ridiculously polite.
Morning McDonald’s at our train station, Suitengumae. So ridiculously polite.

 

I often "wonda" about Japanese advertising.
I often “wonda” about Japanese advertising.

 

This sign was ignored by everyone. Cute though.
This sign was ignored by everyone. Cute though.

 

And here we are. Suitengumae Station. Our first taste of Japanese public transport.
And here we are. Suitengumae Station. Our first taste of Japanese public transport.

 

So far so good. And so clean.
So far so good. And so clean.

 

Let's just say the burgers here were not fresh.
Let’s just say the burgers here were not fresh.

 

Last time I checked women didn't have eyes where their mouth is. Just sayin'.
Last time I checked women didn’t have eyes where their mouth is. Just sayin’.

 

Crazy side streets and awesome sights.
Crazy side streets and awesome sights.

 

More random side streets. British flag! Huh?
More random side streets. British flag! Huh?

 

These chicks freaked out when they saw a dog! Only in Japan where people would go crazy over a puppy.
These chicks freaked out when they saw a dog! Only in Japan where people would go crazy over a puppy.

 

More local buildings. The population here is so dense yet so clean. Bizarre for Australians, especially those of us living in Brisbane.
More local buildings. The population here is so dense yet so clean. Bizarre for Australians, especially those of us living in Brisbane.

 

Endless sights. Needless to say we got a little lost.
Endless sights. Needless to say we got a little lost.

 

Ooh! Pretty.
Ooh! Pretty.

 

And then we found this guy. Norman was a Kiwi (about as rare of a sight as we were in downton Tokyo) who helped us out finding our next Apple Store.
And then we found this guy. Norman was a Kiwi (about as rare of a sight as we were in downton Tokyo) who helped us out finding our next Apple Store.
Even the Crows in Japan sound Asian. (#notracist)
Even the Crows in Japan sound Asian. (#notracist)

 

Norman breaks down the language barrier and gets the locals to help us find our next place to go.
Norman breaks down the language barrier and gets the locals to help us find our next place to go.

 

Underground tunnels leading to more underground tunnels.
Underground tunnels leading to more underground tunnels.

 

Alright, time to go and head to Shibuya Station to head to Ginza for Apple Store Credit 2/2.
Alright, time to go and head to Shibuya Station to head to Ginza for Apple Store Credit 2/2.

 

We can't forget about this guy though! This is Hachiko. If you don't know his story, Google it, but basically he waited for his owner to get off the train everyday until he died.
We can’t forget about this guy though! This is Hachiko. If you don’t know his story, Google it, but basically he waited for his owner to get off the train everyday until he died.

 

Shell pretending to ignore the blank stares from the local gentleman.
Shell pretending to ignore the blank stares from the local gentleman.

 

Don't rush! Don't do alot of things, basically.
Don’t rush! Don’t do alot of things, basically.

 

Even Japan has crazy religious locals. Westboro Church eat your heart out.
Even Japan has crazy religious locals. Westboro Church eat your heart out.

 

So for a suburb without a single trash can, Ginza sure was crazy clean and beautiful.
So for a suburb without a single trash can, Ginza sure was crazy clean and beautiful.

 

Ginza Apple Store!
Ginza Apple Store!

 

Getting back on track, we were on the hunt to find somewhere to help us cut our Micro Sims into Nano Sims for our iPhone 5! So we tried the Apple Store, because that's logical, right?
Getting back on track, we were on the hunt to find somewhere to help us cut our Micro Sims into Nano Sims for our iPhone 5! So we tried the Apple Store, because that’s logical, right?

 

We had to book a Genius Appointment, so we went for a walk to downtown Ginza and checked out a few places while we waited a few hours to get into Apple.
We had to book a Genius Appointment, so we went for a walk to downtown Ginza and checked out a few places while we waited a few hours to get into Apple.

 

Did someone say Sony Building? 4K Display is crazy beautiful.
Did someone say Sony Building? 4K Display is crazy beautiful.

 

Whoa! Sony Stabilisation FTW.
Whoa! Sony Stabilisation FTW.

 

I was gobsmacked. Sorta.
I was gobsmacked. Sorta.

 

We tried all the cool stuff Sony threw at us! This was sort of cool. You had to really hold your head still to get it just right focally.
We tried all the cool stuff Sony threw at us! This was sort of cool. You had to really hold your head still to get it just right focally.

 

Realisation that i'm extremely tall in other parts of the world.
Realisation that i’m extremely tall in other parts of the world.

 

Because i've never seen this before in any other store (Cough, Apple.)
Because i’ve never seen this before in any other store (Cough, Apple.)

 

Arrr! Crazy World Expo Statue!
Arrr! Crazy World Expo Statue!

 

Warrrgarble!
Warrrgarble!

 

Pretty downtown Ginza.
Pretty downtown Ginza.

 

Does Bic Camera have something to help us get our Sim cards into our iPhones? Nope.
Does Bic Camera have something to help us get our Sim cards into our iPhones? Nope.

 

How about here? Nope.
How about here? Nope.

 

Like I said, this was extremely pretty and extremely clean! Apparently people will happily take their trash home with them. Only in Japan.
Like I said, this was extremely pretty and extremely clean! Apparently people will happily take their trash home with them. Only in Japan.

 

Finally! Walking back to the Apple Store.
Finally! Walking back to the Apple Store.

 

Some older building thrown in with the new in Ginza.
Some older building thrown in with the new in Ginza.

 

As our luck would be, we chatted to an Adelaide-born Japanese guy who, while couldn't help us out himself, was able to point us in the right direction to get what we wanted!
As our luck would be, we chatted to an Adelaide-born Japanese guy who, while couldn’t help us out himself, was able to point us in the right direction to get what we wanted!

 

Want to take bets on it being a legit Apple Ad?
Want to take bets on it being a legit Apple Ad?

 

Off to Akihabara where we'll find something that makes our phones actually work!
Off to Akihabara where we’ll find something that makes our phones actually work!

 

We had done so much walking at this point, we chose to stop in somewhere that looked safe and quick. To our surprise, the food here was totally amazing!
We had done so much walking at this point, we chose to stop in somewhere that looked safe and quick. To our surprise, the food here was totally amazing!

 

Thanks Auntie Anne's for making the best pretzels we've ever had! In a train station of all places!
Thanks Auntie Anne’s for making the best pretzels we’ve ever had! In a train station of all places!

 

So here we our walking into downtown Akihabara trying to find the grand epic "Mobile Plaza" who sells the tool we need to make our sim cards fit into our iPhone 5s!
So here we our walking into downtown Akihabara trying to find the grand epic “Mobile Plaza” who sells the tool we need to make our sim cards fit into our iPhone 5s!

 

Random painting on a garage door for the win!
Random painting on a garage door for the win!

 

What we found out later on was that Akihabara is epicly huge and is basically one of the larger downtown areas in all of Tokyo!
What we found out later on was that Akihabara is epicly huge and is basically one of the larger downtown areas in all of Tokyo!

 

Suffice to say, we got lost.
Suffice to say, we got lost.

 

"Look! I found something!"
“Look! I found something!”

 

Uhmm, okay.
Uhmm, okay.

 

What we started to discover about Tokyo was that finding something that seemed almost impossible in the least likely place was the best way to see Tokyo. We guessed streets, walked down random paths, many twice, all in a crazy bid to find some silly sim-card cutter in downtown Japan in a hopeless attempt to make our $50 Sim Cards work on our new phones!
What we started to discover about Tokyo was that finding something that seemed almost impossible in the least likely place was the best way to see Tokyo. We guessed streets, walked down random paths, many twice, all in a crazy bid to find some silly sim-card cutter in downtown Japan in a hopeless attempt to make our $50 Sim Cards work on our new phones!

 

Fish Credit. Check.
Fish Credit. Check.

 

A phone store! Is this it? Let's ask.
A phone store! Is this it? Let’s ask.

 

Nope. But they have a crazy amount of phones and stands should you chose to stay and buy one on contract.
Nope. But they have a crazy amount of phones and stands should you chose to stay and buy one on contract.

 

And then, at nearly 8pm, we found it!
And then, at nearly 8pm, we found it!

 

Holy Crap! We found Mobile Plaza!
Holy Crap! We found Mobile Plaza! We were told it was this huge, epic shopping centre and instead we found a dinky hole in the wall store that just happened to sell a sim card cutter that would help us fit our Japanese sim cards into our new iPhone 5s! Just crazy!

 

So this girl was out walking her rabbit, you know, as you do.
So this girl was out walking her rabbit, you know, as you do.

 

With some time to spare that evening we went to checkout Sega Joypolis in Tokyo Bay! Stay tuned for that update next!

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