Sunday, October 4, 2009

Japan Day 1

Day 1.

Hours before our flight, i was still playing rfactor with Graeme, the suitcase that i was supposed to share with my mom was still left empty in the middle of the hall. My mom wasnt home yet, thus i couldn't be bothered to dig out my clothes yet.

Eventually i stopped playing and started packing my camera and the rest of my junk. Managed to get a neutral density filter at the last min for a hundred. ND filter is essentially sunglasses for the camera lens, it darkens the picture.

This is needed if u wanted to take a picture of a water fall with long exposure to make it look better.

We eventually finished packing and met my grandmom and moms sister (is it auntie in English?) below their house and took a taxi down to terminal 1.

Got our tickets and then wasted 1 1/2 hour doing nothing much.

When we got to our gates, i was quietly happy that our plane was a boeing 747-400. Its been a long time since i have boarded this plane and had almost forgot how large it was when viewed close.

We were seated 2 by 2 since there were 4 of us, so i sat with my mom with this dirty looking Japanese at the aisle seat.

this would eventually be a really troublesome arrangement as we had to go to the toilet and had to get by this jap guy, which during the entire trip slept like a baby, skipping every event. he was slouched so low that his back was on the plane seat is, while his knees were up to the top of the folded table,

Nothing much happened really, just that the japanese stewardess what was serving our aisle was pretty, either that or i was drinking too much wine.

JAL's Breakfast. Not bad at all. I like how the wine was bottled.
a "hot plate".
The breaking of dawn.

talking about pretty Japanese, while i was walking to my departure gates i also saw a bunch of Japanese school group in their uniform. They beat cosplayers any day. (im talking about, in the looks department)

When we finally landed in japan, it wasnt as wow as landing in new zealand, we were only greeted by windy beaches while back at nz, we were greeted by snow-capped mountains.

cool looking clouds.
When i was young i had always thought that these pods under the wing held extra fuel. Well, nope, they hold the machinery necessary for the flaps to work. Heres a close up of whats inside.

The immigration was slow as usual, i would say nothing could compare to singapores immigration clearance.

Yeah, im in japan now. Hoping the leaves had really turned as red as this one.

Since we were a free and easy trip, we found the subway and waited a really lengthy time before the americans in front of us finished getting their damn tickets before we could get ours.

This was the railway map of the JR company. Japan has 2 big rail companies.
I think this was the map of all the railways in japan, not including their subway system.
One peculiar thing there, everyone carries around those luggage bags. Like you rarely see people carrying around plastic bags. instead they just roll these around.
Their underground rail station, nothing much different here.
The Narita Express train. Its their train to the airport, which goes to Tokyo.

Got on their train, called "Narita Express" for 1 hr to tokyo, before changing trains to the shinkensen train service, or more commonly known as their bullet train.

They had quite a lot of train crossings. And the cool thing is, everything you passed made a different sound, like passing over a crossing makes a more tinny whoosh sound, while passing a post sounds like a mouse passing you really quickly.
Something like HDBs? Wouldnt want to live in those in an earthquake active zone.

Was almost late getting on that train as we got somewhat lost in their really really large underground. like imagine dobhy gaut interchange x 5 with 10x more lines connected to it. Its huge. Crowded too. (was too busy rushing for trains that i did not take any photos. nvm youll see it in the later posts)

Sat in their business class space as we were too lazy to find our real seats, but eventually got chased away. The train was really quiet and smooth riding. It was traveling at trice the speed of our normal mrt yet it was as smooth as ours moving dead slow.

And when the speed did pick up once it was out of tokyo, boy did it move.Things moved passed at such speed that they were gone literally in a blink of an eye. ITs so fast that i doubt u can imagine it. and when u went by poles it made a soft whipping sound. However, the only evidence that u were moving really fast in the train was an increase of vibration and slighty louder engine sould only. Impressive.

we stopped at another interchange and realised that the bullet trains were actually quite frequent. imagine a 20 min difference between trains. I had to remember that they were actually intercity trains, so it shouldnt really be surprising. I guess all the reading of books made me think that this train is so special that there can only be a few.

One of the shinkensen train stations.

Their concept of fast food. Ordering it like in a vending machine, get your reciept from this, then go in and collect your food. Quite cool really.

Trained on a much slower train to the last stop.


Haha the train driver popped out just in time for a picture.
yup, thats how train track switches look like.
Wonder how they organise the track switches with so many different types of train routes around using the same tracks.
I really like the old look of the train.

Heard of it? Probably not. Well its a small town north west off tokyo.
Well why arnt we in somewhere known, like hokkaido or osaka?

I guess those were just the usual money sucking tourist attractions. I cant be bothered by buying souvenirs or going to crowded tourist oriented places.

I'd prefer more untouched places, and Nikko probably provided a good balance of tourist oriented stuff and untouched places.

Spent some time in the train terminal taking more photos, then after collecting more area maps, we headed for the nearest taxi and took it to our hotel.

More like a motel really, i wasnt prepared for what i saw. What we were staying in was probablly more like a terrace house than a hotel. The place was nice really, although it lacked some of the things 5 star hotels had, it felt cosy, plus we still had our own toilets.

We were staying in this room which was two stories tall, however its footprint was only about the area three cars took up. It was nice.

We sat around for a while, before venturing out for a walk down to the city. It was only a 10 min walk away, however we took a long time as my grandmom and auntie was slow. We were standing around this intersection when me met the same guy we had met earlier on and he offered us a ride to the city. Pretty nice guy.

Apparently he also owns this hotel near where we were staying and said a lot of Singaporeans visit his hotel for some reason.

First flower shot. Not really good actually.
They had a lot of these things, which were really just parts where you can drink spring water or something.
Taken on the way to somewhere..

We were dropped off at this place called "shinkio", or as translated from chinese, god bridge. It was really nice, plus the water below the bridge was a lovely bluish green colour. Walked a bit more before we decided we needed lunch, so we visited this small restaurant that had lots of "souvenirs" pinned on the wall.

The bridge and my aunt. I think the pictures i took only with the bridge arnt as nice as with someone in it. so like, yeah...

back then where i still had long hair.
some Stamford looking statue in the background.

Food was not bad, but when we left the place it was already dark. It was only 5+ and the sun had set already. Walking down the street, we realise that most of the shops were already closed!

awww, dint get to buy this cuz things are really ex there. haha wanted to buy this for my sister.
People grew flowers outside their houses everywhere.
some restaurant with a really cool "deco".
they had a ton of these machines too. And very few mama shops.

So we were now looking for a way to go back home but no taxi came, so we walked a long distance slowly back to the train station to get a cab back to our hotel.


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