“Only in Japan”. A phrase already becoming somewhat overused less than 48 hours into our epic family holiday.
Sleeping on 1inch thick futons rolled out on a wooden floor – at least there’s no sagging mattress here! The “pencil house” in Shinjuku turn out to be in the middle of Tokyo-suburbia, with a minor subway station just five minutes walk away. A steep and narrow staircase leads up past a ground floor “bed”room, to a tiny living space, and then up again to two more rooms up above.
I know it’s a cliche to be amazed at Japanese toilets, but honestly, the reality of plonking yourself down in the middle of the night to find a really warm seat, has to be experienced. As Pip said, your first thought is that you have been preceded by a really long sitter. The lid lifts automatically when you entered and water starts running automatically (to mask the sounds of your normal bodily functions! There are is not one, but two control panels. I pressed a button, experimentally, you understand, only to have a strong stream of water shoot out of the bowl, between my legs and hit the opposite wall! Ooops! No more experimenting here.
Moved on to the kitchen where the glass hob has plates you can set the temperature on… Interesting, but useless if you have no idea what temp you need for hotcakes or bacon!
So on to the sights of the day. Given the impending weather deterioration, we dedicated our first day in Tokyo to Hanami – the celebration of the beautiful cherry blossoms, slightly past their best, but still pretty amazing.
A long walk through Ueno Park revealed so much more than just flowers. The local penchant for pampered pooches was very much in evidence.
Note the pleats on that poodle’s tartan skirt!
There was also no shortage of interesting dress styles, from traditional to questionable to fun dress
And this is Izzy, and Matthew too, all wrapped up against the cold.
For yes it is cold! Not that that is any deterrent to the enthusiastic Hanami picnicking, that is done with style and aplomb. Large territories pegged out well in advance, heaps of food and drink, they shed their shoes to settle in for the day, and apparently on into the night… With a convenient ditch to roll into when l becomes too much!
And finally, no Japanese excursion would be complete without the obligatory paparazzi!
Feeling right at home with my camera!