Thursday, January 13, 2011

On to Tokyo

The flight out of Kuala Lumpur was great. Malaysian Airlines is an excellent airline, offered juice then some beer shortly after takeoff, then a quality meal, and a further refreshment before landing. 
Leaving KL
Rolled into Narita airport train station then commenced the task of working out which train to catch to get to the Sakura hostel. The stations staff were most helpful given my ultra-limited understanding of Japanese (that being how to say thanks). After wandering the backstreets of Asakusa trying to read my scrawled directions hastily written down at Kuala Lumpur airport. I had thoughts of not finding the place and sleeping in my bag until the morning, but the initiative was not lost, and paid dividends in the end with welcoming staff and a warm bed once a passing cyclist pointed me in the right direction. 
Sakura Hostel, Asakusa
Considered also sampling some of the local ales from the vending machine but decided retiring to sleep was more wise. Sakura hostel is located about 15 min walk from Asakusa station. The location is easy once you know the way, but finding it the first time can be hard (like many other addresses in Japan given the addressing system).

The next day was a sleep in followed by a visit to the local Asakusa sights. Sensoji temple is prominent and is surrounded by gardens, reached after passing through the giant outer gate known as Kaminarimon, and the inner gate Hōzōmon.
Sensō-ji Temple
Pagoda near Sensō-ji Temple
After checking out the gardens for a while, we retired to the Hostel for a quick beer, before heading to lunch. Lunch included katsu don (crumbed pork on rice), a beer, then a box of sake. A number of businessmen were lunching in the same establishment, whom Florent (friend from hostel, he's from New Caledonia) struck up some conversation.
Lunch spot
Businessmen at Lunch
The afternoon was spent checking out Akihabara, a district whose businesses consist mainly of selling new and used electronics, music, movies, anime, and probably the biggest collection of 'lifestyle costumes' I've ever seen. Akihabara is a must visit if you are heading to Tokyo, and there are a number of good deals on electronic goods, although lonely planet says the deals in Singapore can be better.
m's Lifestyle Store
Downtown Akihabara
Yokohama tomorrow!

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