Friday, 11 January 2013

Day 17: Off on a trip

Day 17 (22 Dec): So, my very good friend Jinko knows I have a propensity to work a little too hard when I'm on the ground in Tokyo so she planned a diversionary domestic trip for me this time. The plan was to head south to visit a friend of hers in Matsuyama City, Ehime prefecture on the island of Shikoku, where neither of us have visited before. And Kyoto on the way back. Now, of course, the southern part of Japan is of great historical interest for students of modern Japan...the birthplace of rebellion, a field of combat in the Japanese-Russo war of 1904-5, the setting of a famous novel by a famous and well-loved novelist, Natsume Soseki...yes, this was going to be a holiday...not. 

One forgets how dark it can be at 6.12am
Since we weren't due to catch the overnight train (with sleeper carriages) from Tokyo Station until 10pm this evening, it afforded a bit of an opportunity to sleep in. The 6.12am photo (local time) is the view in my room at that time. There was a small light left on in the 'entrance hall' of the room, which Jinko suggested I leave on in case of another major earthquake. She has always preferred to keep some lights on at night since the 'big one' on 11 March 2011. There remains some consternation about that disaster, almost two years on (and I'll address that too, but at my other blog).

6.12pm Ikebukuro Station
By the time 6.12pm (local time) rolled around, we were at Ikebukuro Station, about to make the connecting train to Tokyo Station. The major junction stations in Tokyo (such as Ikebukuro, Shinjuku, Shibuya etc), tend to be major hubs for department stores as well. People here in this photo are either shopping, or on the commute home. 

The plan was to get to Tokyo Station a little earlier and look at the Christmas light show on the buildings as well as have dinner. Well, once we got there, the crowds were enormous so we headed straight into the station. Decided to have a cuppa and dessert along the way. For research purposes I tried a green tea cappuccino (ahem) and had the dessert shown below--a traditional green tea jelly-type sweet. 

Well, someone has to eat
these things (^-*)/

I didn't realise at this stage though that I was about to step into a news and current affairs blackout for four days...there are people who aren't interested in daily, hourly, up-to-the-minute reporting...? Sheesh. 

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