Edo Castle In Tokyo

First of all I wrote about my journey to Tokyo (LINK), which I then followed up with two posts about the Naruko Tenjin Shrine (POST 1) and (POST 2). For the fourth post I skipped ahead

First of all I wrote about my journey to Tokyo (LINK), which I then followed up with two posts about the Naruko Tenjin Shrine (POST 1) and (POST 2). For the fourth post I skipped ahead and talked about watching the punk idol band, BiSH twice while I was in Tokyo (LINK).

So now I will go back to chronological order and cover my first trip into Tokyo on my fourth day. Now that may seem strange but on days two and three I attended Rockabilly shows so the first weekend was tied up taking it easy after the journey and then partying for two nights.

On the first Monday I headed into the center of Tokyo to pay a visit to Edo Castle and the Imperial palace. Now on the journey there I did get a good laugh. From my knowledge of Japanese culture tattoos are frowned upon, especially by the older generation. On the subway to Otemachi I kept checking the on board map, obviously the system is new to me as is the city. Two stops before my destination an older man asked me if I needed help, I was okay so I thanked him for his offer and then he pointed at my arm and said “Elvis Presley”.

My experience to this point had been virtually everyone avoiding eye contact with me with people staring out of the corner of their eyes. Other than the children, they are quite happy to stare full on to the bald headed tattooed man 🙂 So I was delighted that someone made contact with me, but at the same part annoyed because I was getting off in one more stop.

The day was gorgeous, it was the middle of November and it was 72 degrees. I did film a few clips that I might splice together, but at the time I hadn’t really planned to do any filming. My first port of call after viewing the opening garden was to try and find a drink. With it being a nice day combined with the fact that I have throat problems, I needed to make sure that I had some liquid. Fortunately there was a little hut with a vending machine and I noticed some coffee. Now I don’t really like cold coffee but I did want some caffeine, so coffee it was. Imagine my surprise when the can of coffee came out nice and hot.

Yes, hot coffee from a vending machine. Now I was set for my journey.

In the second picture in this post I am taking a selfie in front of some old soldiers barracks. Before I did that I stood patiently awaiting my turn at the gate as a fellow American took 600 or so photos. Then he did something that made my mouth open, as if he hadn’t taken enough photos with his $1,000 camera, the guy then steps over the gate with the clear sign in English on it saying “Please do not enter beyond here”. It took a few seconds as he walked in the restricted area when he caught sight of me, took more pics then stepped in the flower bed and bent the bush back at the side of the gate.

The first thought that entered my mind was the thoughts of the Japanese people nearby, this dude just single-handedly put all of us tourists in the ugly American boat. I was able to capture some great photos with my $200 digital camera, so I know damn well that his could capture dust if it really wanted to. So disrespectful.

So I didn’t make it all the way to the Imperial palace, the activities the night before caught up to me. But I walked and walked and walked, even paying 500 Yen to enter a garden that I had no intention of seeing, lol. It was nice to look at though.

As I left I decided to take one more selfie, and I’m so glad that I did. This selfie with the Ote-Mon gate behind me beyond the moat became my go to profile pic on all of my social media platforms.

Up next, Shibuya.

The Statues Of Naruko Tenjin Shrine

Founded in the year 903, like most of Tokyo the shrine is a post war reconstruction. The bombing of Tokyo during World War 2 leveled 16 square miles of the city and therefore most of what you see in Tokyo today is a reconstruction

Founded in the year 903, like most of Tokyo the shrine is a post war reconstruction. The bombing of Tokyo during World War 2 leveled 16 square miles of the city and therefore most of what you see in Tokyo today is a reconstruction. On the outskirts of Tokyo you are likely to find some original architecture dating as far back as the 13th century. Aside from the war, Tokyo also suffered from the 8.3 Great Kanto earthquake in 1923 which likewise destroyed much of the city.

Naruko Tenjin Shrine – Tokyo

In November of 2018 I made my first trip to Japan, and as I will be returning to Japan in November of 2019 I thought that I would start to share my photos from the 2018 trip

In November of 2018 I made my first trip to Japan, and as I will be returning to Japan in November of 2019 I thought that I would start to share my photos from the 2018 trip.

In 2018 I had yet to start vlogging so I took very little video footage while I was there, but this year I am going for 30 days and I will be filming every day that I am there. Also, my 2018 trip was focused on Tokyo, whereas my 2019 trip is going to be to Tokyo, Hiroshima, Osaka, Kyoto and Kanazawa, with day trips to Nara, Chiba and Yokohama amongst others.

After a 14 hour plane journey and then a horrible navigation of the Tokyo subway system during rush hour with all of my luggage, I made it to my hotel with enough time to have my first 7-11 Conbini food trip. It was much needed because I had been stood in Shinjuku train station for about half an hour, completely lost looking for my subway line. You know how they say that if you look lost in Tokyo that someone will help you within minutes? Not so much if you are a heavily tattooed Englishman with a white goatee 🙂

Before we get onto the shrine let me just mention something about Conbini food. These are convenience stores that are all over Tokyo (in fact I am sure they are all over Japan) where you can get some food and drink on the cheap. While I would highly recommend eating at a local Japanese owned restaurant when you can as the food is incredible, if you are there on a budget then Conbini’s are an absolute must. For breakfast you can pick up your morning coffee, perhaps a pastry and an onigiri or two for less than five bucks. The coffee was a bit of a letdown to an Englishman living in New York, after all I am used to a nice big 16 ounces to start the day, but thankfully there was a Tully’s nearby.

The same goes for dinner, virtually everything in the Conbini’s (7-11, Family Mart, Lawson’s) is not only fresh, but it is delicious as well. It’s as cheap as chips to pick up a gorgeous salad, an onigiri, a desert and a drink and still have change left over from 1,000 yen ($10). The sixteen nights that I was in Tokyo, at least ten of them involved dinner from a Conbini, every breakfast was taken there, and any other snacks that I needed I got from the 7-11 next door. My next trip to Japan is going to be for 30 days, the amount that I will save by eating from a Conbini will be scandalous. Trust me when I say this, the food at these establishments is fresh daily and tastes delicious.

The Family Mart haul, the salad is beyond amazing.

Saturday morning at 5am has arrived.

When I found my hotel on Booking the first thing that I did was look for which temples were close by. The Naruko Tenjin Shrine was literally within a 100 meters of the hotel.

This is probably one of the things that is the least known about me, I simply love culture. This is only one of hundreds of shrines, but I spent around 3 hours there studying every artifact, statue and building. Part of the reason that I am going back to Japan in 2019 is that I can never be bored there, it was the best trip that I have ever taken and I have only scratched the surface of what I can see and do in Japan, indeed perhaps for the whole of Asia.

It does suck that as I have lost both of my brothers and both of my parents so I am not able to share any of this with them, but I can share my experience with the world for those who want to enjoy it. It is important to me that people know that while I am suffering right now, there is still a lot to look forward to. Hopefully it will send a positive message to people who are suffering with loss, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.

Fuji-Zuka is a hill that is covered with lava rock from the base of Mount Fuji. It was created to worship Mount Fuji and is itself a scaled down replica of Mount Fuji.

It was trickier to climb that it may appear with nothing to hold onto until the very top.