Sunday, August 30, 2009

Japan Holiday – Day 1

We landed at Narita Airport around 9.00 (25 minutes ahead of schedule) local time, which was a good start!

Once we'd got through the elaborate security (photograph and fingerprints!) we collected our bags and headed for the coach. To our surprise, we could see a local Representative with our names on a card, and after the traditional bowing ritual sorted us out with tickets and other essential bits and pieces for the next few days. She also announced: "The typhoon is coming!" – ooo-errr!

We had a bit of time to kill until the coach arrived, so we sampled the local Starbuck's – no problem with the language so far! Our Representative popped back every so often with more useful bits and pieces for us

P1000443 Around an hour later, we boarded the coach. We were both pretty shattered by now and looking forward to checking-in, after about an hour on the coach, we arrived at the Marriott, Courtyard, Ginza.

P1000445 With typical Japanese efficiency, we were quickly checked-in and headed for room 621. The room looked fantastic – very modern and electrical sockets everywhere! Plus a toilet-seat connected to the mains – why? - more on that later maybe!!

We had a nap for around four hours and got up around 5pm. The plan was to explore the local area, but a quick look out the window revealed that it was chucking it down!

P1000446Ignoring the weather, we decided to risk it. The helpful Concierge pointed the side entrance to the hotel, that sent us in the direction of the shops (and hopefully somewhere to eat). A short walk later, we were in the heart of the shopping area. We took a look round the first big department store we saw and were surprised how many people were browsing and shopping on a Sunday night. It was actually quite difficult to find somewhere to eat where the menus were in English – perhaps we'll be more experimental later in the week! 

P1000454In the end we settled for a … err… German-themed restaurant! By 6.45, we had found a restaurant in the shopping complex that was heaving with customers and we took that as a good sign.
 
P1000453 We opted for the 'German-pot' not really knowing what to expect. A few minutes later, the 'pot' arrived together with a burner to keep it all hot. Continuing the German theme, we were also served with mustard and sauerkraut. On closer inspection, we discovered our pot contained a large chunk of meat (very pink!) on the bone and a selection of vegetables including a couple of strangely coloured sausages. Our waitress carved up the meat in-situ and served us with a selection from the cauldron pot. We tackled the results with enthusiasm, but in truth, it was fairly bland and those sausages looked strangely anaemic swimming around the plate!

After we'd conquered the main course, the waitress collected the pot…but returned a few minutes later with a different container containing all the bits we'd left in the original pot (I recognised the half-carved sausage from round one!) but with the added bonus of some rice all mixed in. Good job we were a hungry!

P1000448 P1000449
We skipped dessert and headed back into the department store and bought a small box of Godiva chocolates for dessert.

As we left the store, it was raining hard, but we protected the important stuff - the chocolates!

Back to the room to watch a bit TV (err…BBC World or BBC World!) and then time to catch-up with our lost sleep.

Full tour of Tokyo tomorrow!