Initially, Ivee and I had planned on going to Tokyo Disneyland (TDL) but after the 'disastrous' 1st day of getting lost we were not that confident about 'mastering' the subways. Anyhow, both Ivee and I have been to TDL before during our own previous visits to Tokyo. So we finally decided to join Michiko and Judy for a trip to Ginza, the shopping district.
What an interesting pedestrian bridge
The day started with Hiro picking us up at our hotel, in his car, for brunch. At the restaurant, we were joined by Yuki. After brunch, Yuki had prior appointments to keep and said her goodbyes.
Actually, the single petal sakuras (the popular variety) had already blossomed and were now starting to fall. But another one, the double petal sakuras were only just beginning to bloom.
Double petal sakuras
Hiro parked his car and we took a leisurely stroll down one of the streets just relaxing and soaking in the sights, sounds and culture of the place. We were also very busy using up the memory card of our digital cameras by shooting everything in sight LOL :-) Suffice to say, we had a jolly good time talking, laughing and hamming it up with poses before the camera.
Highway into Tokyo
One of the many ferris-wheels to be found in Tokyo
The Rainbow Bridge
Scenes of Tokyo city centre
An odd but interesting piece of architecture
'We're here' somewhere..... (map of Tokyo city with the Imperial Palace in the centre surrounded by several moats)
Next, we stopped at a lovely park opposite the Imperial Palace. Needless to say, more photo-taking took place. haha.
Homeless people taking a breather under the shade of the trees
Ungggh...Darn! Can't quite reach it
Nyeh.. nyeh nyeh.. nyeh nyeh. I touched it. Guess I'm taller than you are
Entrance to the Imperial Palace in the distance
Hiro the tour guide.
Hiro: Over there is the Imperial Palace...blah..blah..blah...
Everything between the station and reaching Ginza is a blur. All I can remember is following Michiko very closely.
Makes me dizzy just looking at that convoluted network of train lines
Finally, we reached Ginza. The first thing that hit me was the number of people around. It was just such a busy place filled with tourists and locals.
The whole mainstreet was lined with shops selling branded goods....Swavroski, Burberry, Prada, etc. The Japanese here were well dressed and well groomed. Highly fashionable....which made me feel like a fashion misfit in my jeans and plain top ;-)
Our first stop for the day...a toy store! Why? Because Judy and I have to fulfill our promises to some eager beavers back home about bringing back some things for them. Judy wanted to get her 2 grandsons some Kamen Riders (something like the Power Rangers) and I had promised my 2 youngsters at home I'd get them a few original Pokemons. They had even given me a list of names of the Pokemons they'd like to have. Both have got a Pokemon collection going you see.
Michiko took us to the biggest toy store in Ginza. It had 4 levels filled with nothing but toys, toys, toys. The moment I stepped in I couldn't help but feel like a little girl once more. I was totally absorbed by the variety of things they had for sale.
We each went our way to search for the toys we wanted. Michiko stayed with Judy mostly and Ivee and I were not worried about losing each other because she had the presence of mind to bring along 2 walkie-talkies for the trip. Ingenius!
I don't know how long we stayed in that toystore but after paying for our selected 'treasures' we finally left the place and headed to our next destination.
Ivee wanted to get some cosmetics and so we hunted for a departmental store selling just that. When we located one, Ivee went into 'shopping' mode. I'm not much of a cosmetics person and Judy couldn't stand the heat in the place so we decided to go out for some fresh air.
Judy and I had a nice tete-a-tete while waiting for Ivee to finish her shopping. I must say that I found Judy to be a really nice person (not that I thought her otherwise before that). Very friendly, warm, and a great sense of humour. It was easy to warm up to her and be at ease.
What can I say; I'm a sucker for flowers
In a Japanese traditional snacks shop
Michiko had to catch a train back to Yuzawa at about 7pm and so before she said goodbye we decided to have dinner together before we went our separate ways.
While searching for a nice cosy place to eat and rest, Ivee and I came across a fruit stall. Check out the pictures below. The bananas were huge. And guess what. We found durians being sold in Japan! Observe the price tag.
After dinner, we were to make our own way back to the hotel without Michiko. Hiro was aware of this and had earlier given both Judy and I a detailed sketch of the stations (and the stops in between) that concerned us. He called it his 'love letter' to us. LOL
The sketch showed us the first station at which we were to board the train, where we were to get off to change trains and the many stations in between before we reached our final destination at Omori Kaigen station located just next to our hotel.
I must say his 'love letter' worked....to some extent :-) It still required a bit of 'brain' work between the 3 of us to fill in certain missing pieces of information. But we're an intelligent trio, we are ;-)
That concludes the first day of our free days after the workshops. A day well spent, we went to bed happy and satisfied with what we've accomplished (both in spending lots of 'moolah' and getting back safely).