Tokyo Japan, one of the largest cities in the world, with a population of 12.2 million is a conundrum of contradictions between the new international business society and the old Imperial dynasty. It is a creative, riveting, consumer culture interspersed with legacies of an older traditional style, orderly beyond belief yet what is perceived as total chaos. It is city of wood and paper, steel and plastic.


The Odaiba area by the harbor is a city of multilevels.   Monorails, and people movers on one level, traffic on another and space age buildings jutting out in every direction.   

Steve was impressed by the 'Digital Wall' a huge interactive computer screen, Blue Ray the new high definition televisions, Toyotas new prototype displays and the Akihabra area called Electronic City of tiny shops full of everything electronic and parts to build them. 




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   We both like the Ginza area where I once worked at the Ayakoji. We were surprised to even find it and then discover it is now a Healing Resort.

I loved the Kappabashi-dori where every item imaginable can be found for the kitchen and supplying restaurants, even the PLASTIC food used in front of restaurants to entice you inside.
We never found the street Honnkie-Dori.  One side of the street is a nice area but the other side is not.   So if you stay on the right side everything is Honnkie-Dori!  Now where have we heard that??

 High on our list was sitting in Starbucks overlooking the 5 way cross street in Shibya.  The surrounding buildings, with 3 story high video TV screens, cast an array of colors over the crowd.

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We walked the long corridors to the Akakusa Kannon Temple, a local favorite, were we joined the locals rubbing incense smoke, burning in a large cauldron, all over our clothes which is said to bestow health. 

And  found the little bronze Buddha nearby and rubbed his hands for good luck.

Or we would wonder around the huge grounds of the Meiji Shrine and watch the little girls in kimono's all dressed for  blessings in Hichi-Go -San ceremonies. 










Amazingly we kept running into traditional weddings at every shrine we visited.

                   And of course my last day was enjoying a green tea and sweet (azukie beans again, I could do without those) in the quiet tea house overlooking the still, koi filled pond at the Rikugien Gardens.

Most of all we both enjoyed watching the people. In the subways everyone is holding cell phones used for playing games or sending e-mails.
The 'today's fashion' blew us away with the short skirts and over the knee stockings, spiked heels and pointed toed shoes or tall boots. No wonder the underground halls have foot massage and Reflexology parlors!!  

But nothing could compare or entertain us as much as the 'COS-PLAY-ZOKU' we found in Harajuku. These 'Costume Play Gangs' are young teen-age girls from the outskirts of Tokyo who come to find temporary release and expression on the weekend dressed up in a mixture of gothic-punk-Lolita and cartoon exaggeration outfits.





                                      Watching the people is Tokyo's most fun entertainment.               

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                                                         Tokyo Rockabilly Club

We found Japan a stimulating and exciting country, very affordable and definitely worth the 3 months we spent there in order to get a real feel for the people, their customs and way of life. 
Of course looking back, nothing could beat bicycling all day, discovering new and often gourmet food, then relaxing in those incredible onsens and falling into our 'golden pagoda' for a sound nights sleep. It was a perfect way to see Japan.   The bicycling was superb.    In the end we rated it a LUXURIOUS bicycle trip and can honestly say.............. Japan is ...SUGOI !!

                                                                    O YA SUMI NASI


                                                              SAYONARA from JAPAN

                                                                       Steve and Gayla


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