Not really sure where to begin with Tokyo. It`s all pretty mad. From the toilets with their heated seats and noises to diguise any that you may be making yourself to a red and white replica eiffel tower to tuna auctions, this place really is something else. The Tokyoites are really lovely and helpful but barely anyone speaks any english at all which means lots of gestures and pointing and not having a clue what you`re going to end up eating unless the menu has pictures! People are so law abiding too, I`ve never felt so safe in a huge city before and they never cross the road without the green man, even when it`s obviously safe to do so..
Managed to squeeze in quite alot in the 28 or so hours I`ve had here. Visited Akihabara, or electric town, with all the electrical goods and gimics that you could possibly imagine and then some..went to Ueno park, Senji-Ji temple, Tokyo tower (Eiffel look-alike), Shinjuku (Tokyo`s Times Square) and the fish market at the crack of dawn this morn (with Pauhla)...that was amazing - guys going around with torches and a spikey thing testing all the frozen tuna to see which they wanted and then bidding for them. Met an Irish Columban missionary there who`s lived in Japan for 40 years who managed to get us a behind the scenes tour with one of the buyers. Prices for a kg of tuna exceed 1000 euro!!! And some of those fish were 50+ kgs!! There were tuna there from everywhere, including Ireland, and the fish markets that are beside the auction hall were amazing too with every sort of living thing from the sea that can be eaten...we were in the way a little tho` with some of the sellers not impressed that we were more interested in taking photos of the fish than buying anything and the guys on the forklift trucks go so fast around the place I really don`t know how they don`t have more accidents.
Had the most amazing meal last night - everything here is so healthy.. Met up with a bunch of scientists that are here at a meeting (I knew they were going to be here and booked into the same hotel...they include Robin and Pauhla from Galway and my supervisor from Woods Hole aswell as some others I knew). Anyways, can`t remember what it was called that we ate but it was yum, tried some saki too but it was yuck..
Am too tired right now to think of anything more to say (dinner was a late affair and the fish market a v v early one), not even sure if this is coherent, and have to make my way thro` the maze that is the metro system to get back to the airport soon. Actually, the metro isn`t half as bad as all the guide books make out. The biggest problem is the fact that lots of the stations have a gizzillion exits so it takes a while to work out exactly which direction you need to walk after getting out. Wonder will I get upgraded for the next leg of the trip...turned out not to be a first class seat last time, but was still a way more comfortable one than coach with miles of leg room...
Some pics from Tokyo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/niscratz/sets/72157626294776326/
Hope all`s well with ye.. x