Day 6: Tokyo – Asakusa, Tokyo & Ikebukuro

The day had come… our final morning, our final walk to the bakery (just to find out it was closed), our final trip to Burger King…

Check-out day.

A day Kyle was not quite ready to see. “This is so sad, I don’t want to leave! Is it always like this when you travel?!” Answer: yes and no. Yes I’m always sad to leave somewhere that I’ve only been able to scratch the surface of, but also, I’m [mostly] always ready to move on to the next place and see what else is out there. As much as I’d loved Tokyo and had had an amazing time, I was definitely ready to get on a plane and explore somewhere new. Before we could do that however, we had the majority of the day left, and after we’d packed up, checked out and put our bags at reception, we headed on over the bridge to walk around the big market area by the temple in Asakusa which we’d seen on the first day.

A guy who spoke very good English offered us a ride in his cart thing that they pull and run with (like a horse drawn carriage, but drawn by one poor bloke), he promised to show us the sights of the “oldest streets in Tokyo”, and as Continue reading

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Day 5: Tokyo – Asakasa, Shibakoen & Roppongi

I would say that I can’t believe how behind I am on this blog series, but the truth is, I can believe it. The scrapbook/photo album that I have all the prints and bits and bobs for is now a full year out of date. I used a valuable amount of weight in my suitcase bringing it all with me to this end of China, and I’ve done maybe 8 pages in the 8 months I’ve been here. Each Sunday I say to myself that I’ll stick on one of my go to movies (Lost Boys, Bill & Ted, Rocky Horror, Pulp Fiction, The Boat that Rocked, Waynes World etc.) and I’ll smash it out… I never do.

So, anyways, let’s get back on track and head back in time to Tokyo, Tuesday 23rd January 2017.

Oh would you look at that, lazy morning is the first thing I had written down in my notes for this day! We were out of the hostel after 12, and we’d done a little research into somewhere we could find ourselves a cooked full breakfast (British style, it’s been waayy too long since either of us had a sausage or some proper bacon), so onto the metro we went heading for Asakasa, via a change of lines. We made our way to the Hobgoblin (yes like the beer), just to find out it was closed… by this point, we were both starving, and just ready for some food. We looked at the menu of a few other places close by (including an Indian), and settled on a place called CoCo Curry House, which is a Japanese curry restaurant and I’d actually had before in Suzhou. It wasn’t quite the full breakfast we’d hoped for, but it was pretty good! It’s like a variation of chip-shop-curry sauce, but better, with rice/potatoes, and some form of meat, depending what you fancied. It was a good meal and it set us up for the day.

Back onto the metro we went to Shibakoen, which, from what we’d read, was Continue reading

Day 4: Tokyo, Ueno & Roppongi

So, day 4 was a bit different to the 3 that preceded it… Day 4 was a day we didn’t really have too much planned, so we just took it easy, and did a few bits and bobs. It was a nice change of pace from the crazy amount of stuff we’d managed to fit into our first few 24-hours in Tokyo. So, I’m sure you’ll be pleased to hear, this post shouldn’t be too long…

The blue bridge of Rhyl?

Blue Bridge of Rhyl?

I feel like all my posts regarding this trip start the same “It was a pretty lazy morning….”, and shock horror, this one is no different. We decided to venture somewhere else for breakfast (only next door to our trusty bakery), and it wasn’t worth it. We ended up making a pit-stop at Tom Tom’s anyway before heading over to the other side of the bridge. We’d managed to finish up the disposable camera we’d bought and decided to try and get it developed before we moved onto Seoul. So, before getting on the metro we went back to the little shop on the corner we’d bought it from and swapped it for our pick-up slip.

We travelled the few short stops along our trusty Ginza line and came up into the (cold) sunshine of Ueno. We headed straight for the park as this seemed to be the main area we’d heard and read about at this metro stop. As we stepped into the park we were met by a crowd that had formed around a pretty sharply dressed man in a suit. We joined the horde of people and watched as the man put on one hell of a performance. He wasn’t a juggler, he wasn’t a singer, and he wasn’t a street magician. I’m not sure what you’d call him, just a Continue reading

Day 3: Tokyo, Harajuku & Shinjuku

Kyle's Burger King Breakfast, green drink and all...

Kyle’s green drink for breakfast

Yet another stop-start morning for us, pretty slow, pretty lazy, with a not so exotic breakfast at Burger King (please don’t judge), and then a trip back over the bridge to the hostel for Kyle to collect his phone that he’d left on his bed…

Today’s first port of call was Harajuku, somewhere which I was really excited to go and experience, it was also a place I couldn’t even think about without Gwen Stefani [around the 3.30 minute mark… or] ringing round my head. For some people, all they know about Japan/Tokyo is that it’s famous for cartoons, it’s a crazy city, and there are such things as Harajuku Girls. As we arrived at Harajuku Metro Station, it wasn’t what I expected at all. 20170121_125935.jpgI expected to come out into another urban jungle of tall skyscrapers, insane buildings with a very futuristic feel. It was, in fact, quite the opposite. The metro station was a super cute little low levelled building by the river and backing onto a huge park. Each place we’d been in Tokyo so far was so different from the last, they each had such a different feel and style, Harajuku was no different, and I loved it…

Now, don’t get me wrong, there were still loads of huge shops in the area, and I mean huge, but it just had such a different feel to places like Shibuya or Akihabara. Again, Kyle knew more about what was going on than me here, and pretty quickly he spotted a Purikura place. Purikura is basically a shop/huge room that you go in that is filled with photo booth type things, all with different themes and styles. You pay your money on the side, wait in line, and then go in through the curtain with your friend to have a mini fun photo shoot. After your turn is over, you then get chance to Continue reading

Day 2: Tokyo, Akihabara & Shibuya

Day two was a busy one, we decided to try and find the nearest cat café to have brunch in before getting onto the metro and heading off for the day. Unfortunately, Kyle had some money issues with the weird Japanese ATMs and we also had to head back to the hostel for warmer clothes (it was actually snowing a little and we weren’t prepared for a day out in the city in the cold!). After a bit of a frustrating morning, and a trip to our local bakery, we got down to the metro and headed to the world renowned Akihabara.

We didn’t really have a set destination in Akihabara; it was more of a place we just wanted to experience. There are 100s of themed cafes in Tokyo and we knew of a few in the area that might be worth a visit (and the entrance fees). We wandered around for a bit, and then a bit longer, and then even longer, until we eventually stopped to try and get our bearings as there was nothing of major interest on the streets we were meandering down… Turns out we’d been heading in the wrong direction for god knows how long, so about turn and back to our original starting point we went. Once there, we continued in the right direction and the difference was insane. The buildings were huge, streets were crazy, and the shops were infinite. There were sooooo many figurine shops selling everything from cute little creatures, to giant complex beast figures, and yes, unfortunately, even sexualised cartoon characters in skimpy little outfits in provocative poses. We had a look around a few, amazed by the vast amount of things on offer, and then, we happened to stumble upon somewhere we had Continue reading

Day 1: HK & Tokyo

It still seems crazy to me that when searching through SkyScanner for the cheapest flights, I have the option of selecting my departure location as either Guangzhou, or Hong Kong. This time, it actually worked out cheaper to get the ferry over from Shunde to HK and fly out from there, rather than leaving straight from Guangzhou, which to me seems mental. So on Wednesday 18th of Jan, that’s exactly what me and Kyle did. We grabbed a quick Subway sandwich, had our rucksacks on our backs and off we went…

I won’t spent too much time chatting about the transport and our few hours in Hong Kong, I have a habit of describing every detail of a trip, and if I don’t get out of that habit for this post, we’ll still be here in 2018 listening to how me and Kyle had 3 seats to ourselves on the Ferry, a coco-pops McFlurry from Kawloon Park, or about how we enjoyed a sausage roll and a cider on Lan Kwai Fong… Anyways, I’ll skip straight ahead to the crrazzzyy city that is Tokyo….

hk - tk.jpg

The flight was only about 3 and half hours and we landed at roughly 4.30am (local time). It was freezing, we were tired, hungry, and low on battery, so we sat down for a while to recharge our phones, and ourselves. We soon hopped onto a metro after a very friendly and well-spoken guy helped us with our tickets, and off out into the world we went. The closest metro stop to our hostel was Asukasa (A18), we walked over the bridge, heading towards the SkyTree, and a curious looking building which throughout the trip we

Continue reading

My Pre-Travel Blog, Post

[PHOTO: everything I travelled with over the 3 weeks; the rucksack I use for work, and a mini rucksack that just about holds my camera and purse]



So, I’ve been struggling to decide how to start these next 3, inevitably looonngg, blog posts about my Chinese New Year travels… I guess it would make sense to start at the beginning right? I mean, “let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start..” But these tales aren’t bookended by a musical do… they start and end with a mixture of excitement, worry, and uncertainty. One constant throughout my trip however, was that I was constantly learning. They say travel is the best form of education, life education that is, and I definitely did a lot of learning over the past 3 weeks. From doing research on my destinations, managing my money in both China and the UK, learning how to travel with a variety of different people, learning how to take my trip into my own hands, and so much more… (I also learnt that I’m not as good at the limbo as I used to be, but I’ll come back to that sad fact)

Well, my trip was clearly and easily broken down into 3 solid sections:

  1. Tokyo
  2. Seoul
  3. Thailand

So this is how I’ll be forming my travel blog posts. It’s going to take some time for me to get everything down, I can see it being over a month before I wrap things up and get to type up the words “and then I was back in my teeny but homey apartment in Country Garden.” But I don’t mind too much, it’s always nice to re-live the travel experiences and this will be a good way to prolong the feeling and memory of travel. Plus, it will mean you guys, my few but reliable readers, don’t have just one HUGE post to read, which would inevitably bore you to death.

At this very moment, I’m typing this up (on my phone) on Saturday at 9am… no I’m not at home in bed with a cuppa, I’m sat in one of the school theatres, while someone stands on stage, chattering away in Chinese, and all the international staff sit here with headphones in listening to some poor Chinese lady try and translate as quickly as she can. To my left, is another international teacher looking through photos on her laptop. To my right is a Chinese teacher reading a children’s English book. All around me I can see everyone on their phones, reading books, on their laptops, or just outright sleeping…

Anyway, this is a pointless blog post so I’ll cut it off here before I woffle on even more. Thanks for reading folks, and I look forward to sharing my travel adventures with you “all”.

Peace out!