1st stop TOKYO
Right so we finally arrived in Tokyo after an 11 hour flight. Before leaving we had it all sussed out, eat dinner on the plane then sleep through until we arrived the next morning fresh and raring to go. It sounded like a great plan but when the time came I just couldn`t sleep, maybe it was the excitement or maybe just the fact that I wasn`t actually tired. At least I got off lightly compared to Adam, my GAP partner(most of GAPs projects in Japan are in pairs), who spent half the flight being sick in the toilet. So as you can tell we probably didn`t arrive in the best possible condition and we almost lost Adam at the airport when he had to rush off to the toilet again.
By about lunch time we arrived at the youth hostel where we were staying during our introduction to Japan briefing. Its a really nice hostel up on the 18th floor the only problem being youth hostels in Japan have curfews, in this case 10.30pm so they`re a bit pointless if you want to stay out late in the evening.
?Our briefing was 2 days of talks at the British consulate most of which was pretty boring, some of it was useful I certainly won`t bore you with any of the details.
In the evening we managed to get together enough energy to explore a bit around the hostel. One of the great things when you first arrive is just walking down the streets looking at all the weird stuff going on around you. Just about the first thing you`ll notice are vending machines, they`re everywhere: on the street, in shrines, at the top of castles and basically anywhere else they`ll fit. As well as the usual cold and hot drinks you`ll find lots of beer and cigarette vending machines, which shows that noone really cares about the age requirment here 20 in both cases. There are apparently some weirder ones as well although the strangest I`ve seen is a hot dog vending machine. Arcades in Japan are fantastic too, the best game so far is Shinto drumming which is so addictive. There`s nothing quite like finishing the evening drumming along to `Land of hope and glory`.
One thing you simply have to do if you visit Japan is have a proper Japanese communal bath, most youth hostels have them. Basically you have to shower and wash properly first, then you go and sit in a big communal bath, no swimming costumes allowed so don`t be shy. The bath is boiling hot and you basically stay in it until you can`t take the heat any longer, by which time you`re completely red and also hopefully relaxed as well.
Because of the curfew and the briefing I`m not exactly an expert on Tokyo so I`ll write some more on it hopefully when I go back there later on in the placement. All I`ll say is its very big and very exciting. 😀 😀