So I got up fairly early and decided to have a look at the hotel information booklet. In most cases this consists of stuff about the hotel and the local area. In this case it consisted of a very long set of rules that had to be followed or they could throw you out of the hotel.
These included a ban on irons and on sleeping drugs. Also no hanging posters out the windows – as if I would do that 10 floors up.
After that they had a further list of things they merely requested you not to do. This included not talking loudly, not having the TV on loudly and a request not to move about too much in the evenings. Clearly they expect their guests to just sit looking at the wall for hours on end.
Adding in to the fact the room was a bit small, I was starting to think this was more like a prison camp than a hotel. I went down for breakfast – no plates or bowls but plastic trays with compartments. Hmm. They had scrambled egg and sausages and very thin soup [gruel]. They also had mini cutlery – not just teaspoons but teaforks and teaknives too.
After breakfast I wandered across the lobby and spotted a PC, The good news it was free. The bad news “Please refrain from using it long time. If you use it 20 min. over, we will speak to you”. Ominous.
I headed out of the hotel and went round the corner where there was a group of shops with Xmas decorations and music which seemed a bit weird [only seen this one other place].First went to Ueno park which was in walking distance. To one side they had some lakes with dead plants in [Lillies?] and another with Swan Boats. They had a Buddhist Temple in the middle.
I wondered whether to take photos. I reasoned that if I wasn’t allowed there would definitely be a sign, seeing as Japan is full of signs telling you what to do/not do. As there wasn’t a sign I took photos.
I then went up the main part of the park to the museum. This had various things – painting which I thought were a bit meh, but some nice lacquerware and samurai armour. Some objects had signs saying not to take photos so again I reasoned it was OK to take photos of everything else.
I then went out and to Ueno Zoo next door. There was a carousel next to the entrance blaring out Thomas the Tank Engine. The zoo was full of schoolkids. The boys all wearing blazers or bellboy-type outfits without the hat in black or blue and the girls in blue skirts and jumpers. Apart from the usual animals they had some Japanese species like flying foxes and flying squirrels. They had some Condors which I felt a bit sad about having seen them soar over the Andes and these ones stuck in a little cage.
The park also had a Shinto shrine. It helpfully had instructions about what to do:
Little bow, throw a coin in the box, 2 big bows, ring the bell, 2 handclaps, 2 big bows, 1 little bow, leave. I think that is the right order.
I had lunch at a restaurant in the park. It had an English menu and I went for Rice in Omelette with Hashed Beef. This turned out to be rice covered with omelette and then next to it some beef casserole type thing. It was nice.
I then walked back to the station. I had written down the names of the metro stations for all the places I wanted to go. I aksed for a map in English but couldn’t find any of the places. I then realised that this was because this was a map of the train lines which go through the centre a bit like the RER in Paris and Crossrail when finished. So I went to the metro station and then managed to match up some names.
I first went to Tsukiji fish market which is supposed to be a top attraction. You can go and see the tuna auction at 6:30 am. At 4pm it was starting to wind down. I did wander round but then thought what I am going to do with some fish anyway?
So back to metro and then headed off to the Sensoji Buddhist Temple. Just got in as they closed it at 5pm. Outside was a whole street of tat stalls. Perfect!
Should add here that I had been given a task by my mother to buy a Japanese Doll to sit on the toilet cistern in the downstairs loo. It had to be 6-8 inches tall, not made of china but could have a china face, be reasonably priced, not tat and most importantly of all match a sample of wallpaper, I had been sent. As the meerkat says simples.
I had been getting a little concerned as down the Xmas street – no dolls, at the museum – no dolls, at the zoo – fluffy pandas but no dolls.
So for once I had to carefully peruse each and every tat stall rather than hurrying by. I found a promsing candidate but carried on and walked the whole length of stalls. I then had to walk half of them again as I couldn’t find the stall again.
I’m not daft so I quickly phoned home – Mum, you can have this doll that mostly matches your requirements or this other doll with long hair that kind of looks like the thing from The Ring [I may not have actually couched it in these terms]. I think she chose wisely and hopefully it won’t distract male visitors to Casa Nelson too much. I give it about a month before someone accidentally knocks it and it falls in the toilet though!