Getting there: Air Canada (hello, upgrade!) and Airport Limousine in Tokyo (the cheapest, easiest option from Narita which is far from downtown)
Where dpr stayed: The New Otani – the good: efficient, huge with lots of eating options, close to subway and lots of restos in Akasaka, the bad: a smoke-filled hotel, it’s huge, and the Garden wing doesn’t have wifi, only plugin
Fun: Shopping, delicious food, an amazingly efficient and easy to navigate subway system, wonderful people.
Tips: 1. Be prepared to spend money here – Tokyo isn’t cheap. 2. Free wifi is rarely available in public places, and if it is, there’s a painful sign up, login, etc.. 3. Politeness is key
January 30, 2013: Hello from Tokyo
Hello from the other side of the planet! I got in yesterday – an hour before d2 got to Hong Kong – and went out and about to explore for a bit before bed. The first picture is the view from my hotel room – the large park area is the Imperial Palace and in the distance you can see snow-covered Mount Fuji. Apparently you don’t see the mountain much because of smog, so I am lucky. I didn’t sleep much lastnight so I spent the morning working and then met my contact from the Canadian Embassy for a DELICIOUS meal in a lovely traditional restaurant. We were given a cloth bag for our shoes when we got there and the tables were lowered in individual rooms. This afternoon I headed to a neighbourhood called Shinjuku and just wandered the streets and did some shopping. Now I’m pretty zonked and have to get ready for a full day of meetings tomorrow and my ‘headlining’ (ha!) presentation at the Embassy tomorrow. On Friday I have a couple more meetings as well and then I’m going to venture out Saturday again for some more exploring. I apologize for the lack of pictures but I’m not accompanied on this trip by my expert photographer :o) Every once in awhile when I have wifi, I’m also tweeting, so you can always read my ultra-exciting tweets @TO_dpr as well.
Hope everyone’s having a good week – I just wanted to share.
February 2, 2013: Bye bye Tokyo
So it’s my last night in Tokyo :o( I’ve had such an amazing time here.
I was busy with work Thursday and Friday – I had 2 meetings on Thursday, my talk at the Embassy (along with 4 others who presented, so it was an all-afternoon affair), and then a mixer with lots of Canadian-themed food (I also got a lovely tour of the Embassy grounds here – pretty cool), then 2 meetings Friday. Lastnight I visited with a chef who lives and works here (and who one of you introduced me to via email). He works in a club run by the Hyatt which is on the 51st floor of an office building – and it occupies the whole floor. We had a great visit (it’s always so familiar whenever you meet and talk to Canadians anywhere in the world) and the views were spectacular. I also had sushi at a resto yesterday that had the ‘sushi on a track’ – yum. The weather today ended up being just perfect – around 18 and sunny after a morning of drizzle, and I walked and shopped in the Harajuku and Shibuya neighbourhoods. I had a burger (I know, it sounds so wrong) that the chef lastnight told me about – and it was outstanding. Oh! The bun! And he also pointed me towards a very cool little coffee shop that’s inside a shipping container called Streamer – apparently the barista there has won awards for his latte art. Yes, the foam on mine was in a lovely little heart and by the way, the coffee was divine. So it was just me and the Harajuku kids this afternoon – the alleys and streets are really something else – and really fun to just explore and see what kind of store you’ll come across next. I also made my way down to another neighbourhood a few minutes away by foot – Shibuya, home of the famous cross walk scramble. It was quite a spectacle. I also sat for awhile in the Starbucks on the corner there to watch it from the 2nd floor. After I had a yummy beef bowl for dinner, I walked back to my hotel. My feet are a bit on the sore side after leaving the hotel this morning around 10.30 and returning around 8.30!
I had a couple moments of Canadiana today: I came across a Hudson Bay striped coat at a vintage clothing store that was priced for about $160, I walked past a Blenz coffee shop (it’s a Vancouver-based chain), and I also saw a chest in one of the stores that said BAFFIN ISLAND, Arctic expedition on it. Those were interesting moments.
That’s it for me – just wanted to share my trip and experiences with you. Hope you are all having a good start to your weekend – I’ll gain a good chunk of mine back tomorrow!
Shibuya’s famous crossing
Harajuku’s quaint streets filled with restos and shops
Fellows for a delicious burger!
Streamers coffee – yummy lattes