Results tagged “Heat” from UK and Japan 2010

Had another crappy nights sleep.  Was too hot (even with aircon on full) and stressing over my dumb body and then the building started humming.. loud enough for at least one other person on the floor to complain about it.  No idea what it was.

So got up fairly late.

Had breakfast at the local Scottish Restaurant (for £5 for the two of us instead of £30 the hotel would have charged).

Then hopped on a tube train then a regular train out to Charlton to walk up to the Thames Flood Barrier (past a half marathon in progress which closed off the road we walked up).  The flood barrier stuff was pretty cool.  Interesting to see how they built it and how it works.  Had a toasted sandwich in the cafe there for lunch.


Security cameras at Charing Cross station
Security cameras at Charing Cross station

Rows of houses outside Waterloo station
Rows of houses outside Waterloo station

Marathon runners on Woolwich Road, Charlton
Marathon runners on Woolwich Road, Charlton

Thames Flood Barrier 
Thames Flood Barrier 

Thames Flood Barrier 
Thames Flood Barrier 

Thames Flood Barrier
Thames Flood Barrier

Model of the flood control system
Model of the flood control system

Stu ponders the denting caused by stress-testing the scale model
Stu ponders the denting caused by stress-testing the scale model

Scale model of the flood control system used for testing the design
Scale model of the flood control system used for testing the design

Thames Flood Barrier
Thames Flood Barrier

Thames Flood Barrier
Thames Flood Barrier

Thames Flood Barrier
Thames Flood Barrier

Thames Flood Barrier
Thames Flood Barrier

Instead of walking back to the station and training it two stops, we decided to walk for a while back along the Thames.  You can actually walk all the way along it, but we cut across the Greenwich peninsula (and cut across the end of the half marathon, and even saw the exact same girl wearing an Elmo on her back that we saw the first time two hours ago!).  


Thames Path National Trail tunnel
Thames Path National Trail tunnel

This wall showed the length and height of the Thames as it comes down from its headwaters
This wall showed the length and height of the Thames as it comes down from its headwaters

Thames heights near Runnymede
Thames heights near Runnymede

Looking towards London and the North Greenwich Arena
Looking towards London and the North Greenwich Arena

Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park
Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park

Elmo girl!
Elmo girl!

Buzz Lightyear was also running
Buzz Lightyear was also running

So headed into the park at Greenwich and up to the observatory.  Joined the hordes trying to get their photo taken on the prime meridian.  Also had a look at the old telescope buildings.  And got filled with rage at people taking photos of the telescopes when it says all over the place that photography is forbidden :(:(  Epic grunt.  Should have taken some myself :/  The GPS doesn't actually line up with this, as the meridian for GPS is actually about 102m east of the prime meridian.  Go figure.  Headed back to the station and found another marked location of the prime meridian, with (hurrah) no tourists! Win! :)


Sundial in Greenwich Park
Sundial in Greenwich Park

Greenwich Observatory
Greenwich Observatory

National Maritime Museum
National Maritime Museum

North Greenwich Arena
North Greenwich Arena

Greenwich Observatory
Greenwich Observatory

Shepherd 24-hour Gate Clock and Public Standards of Length
Shepherd 24-hour Gate Clock and Public Standards of Length

Greenwich Observatory
Greenwich Observatory

Greenwich Observatory
Greenwich Observatory

Stu on the Prime Meridian
Stu on the Prime Meridian

Prime Meridian
Prime Meridian

Greenwich Observatory
Greenwich Observatory

Prime Meridian on Park Vista just north of the gardens
Prime Meridian on Park Vista just north of the gardens

Prime Meridian on Park Vista just north of the gardens
Prime Meridian on Park Vista just north of the gardens

Prime Meridian on Park Vista just north of the gardens
Prime Meridian on Park Vista just north of the gardens

Trained it back to the hotel.  Got our washing together and went and put it on, and had Thai for dinner next door.  Two mains, two desserts and a bottle of wine, and suddenly we have a $100AUD bill :(  This country is so expensive it's more than just a little ridiculous.  Put on the drying and had a McFlurry then back to the hotel to research tomorrow..

Oh I forgot to mention.. I got THE BEST value for money deal possible in this country tonight - sixteen 500mg paracetamol caplets for 16p!!  Yes, that's 1 pence per tablet!!  At that rate I considered buying a whole bunch to stock us up for the next few years .. altho customs might have had something to say about that!!


Geotagging - Day 30
Geotagging - Day 30

Photos on the Canon: 163
Photos on the Sony: 24
Photos on the iPhone: 6
Photos on the Olympus: 9
Photos on the Blackberry: 6
Photos on the Video: 21
Videos on the Video: 11
Steps walked: 18641
Pounds Spent: ?
So my day began twenty three hours ago when I woke up at 4am Tokyo time to go to the toilet and couldn't get back to sleep :( Got up a bit after five to get ready and we were out the door by 6am. Took a Yamonote Line train to Tokyo and caught the 6:30 NEX (after not being sure where it actually left from and getting a bit stressed that we'd miss it before we could find it).

Tintin says have a nice day!
Tintin says have a nice day!

NEX arriving at Tokyo station
NEX arriving at Tokyo station

Had to go to T1 this time at Narita Airport which we'd never been to. Were very impressed with the electronic info boards on the trains that told you which terminal to go to depending which airline you're taking *and* they even have flight details - very cool!

Airport info boards on the NEX
Airport info boards on the NEX

So getting through security/immigration was no problem, then a long walk out to the end of the terminal to see our A380!!! (and about an hour to kill in the terminal but no Yahoo cafe :( There was a Google free wifi desk, but I couldn't get it to work :( ). Was filled with lots of squee going on an A380 - right up until we got to our seats and found it's really really hard to look out the windows :( The walls are really thick (probably 25-30cm) and the windows are positioned a lot higher. So it's practically impossible to get a good view out the windows :( I ended up using random camera exclusively cause the canon is just to unwieldy for that sort of thing :/

My first A380!
My first A380!

Rows 50-59 go left, rows 60-94 go right
Rows 50-59 go left, rows 60-94 go right

Engines of the A380 from the skybridge
Engines of the A380 from the skybridge

Boarding the A380 - economy class section
Boarding the A380 - economy class section

Leg room on the A380.  Pretty standard (ie, non-existent for Stu)
Leg room on the A380. Pretty standard (ie, non-existent for Stu)

The fuselage is very thick at this point, so the windows are a *long* way away :(
The fuselage is very thick at this point, so the windows are a *long* way away :(

So settled in for the flight. I started to watch Robin Hood but the screens just weren't bright enough to see what was going on in the nighttime scenes in the movie. So abandoned that and put on "You've Got Mail" which I'd actually been thinking about only recently.

We flew out to sea then turned 180 degrees when leaving Narita
We flew out to sea then turned 180 degrees when leaving Narita

GPS track of the flight leaving Narita
GPS track of the flight leaving Narita

Engine of the A380
Engine of the A380

Tail cam!
Tail cam!

Ground cam
Ground cam

Snackages on the plane
Snackages on the plane

About 11:25 we hit the coast of Russia and they brought out lunch. Shortly after that we went through some pretty impressive turbulence - the worst I've ever been in. The engines and wings were flexing considerably, but I couldn't document as I needed both hands to hold onto my lunch to stop it sliding or bouncing off the table! Gah!

Landfall in Russia
Landfall in Russia

Real knives!
Real knives!

Google Earth cam?
Google Earth cam?

At 1pm they told us to lower the blinds, which is somewhat annoying for a daytime flight as I want to take photos. But it did make watching movies easier.

I watched Fantastic Mr Fox next which was pretty lame and only very loosely based on the book. Recognised Dumbledore as one of the baddies heh.

Next was The Princess and the Frog which wasn't too bad.

5pm Tokyo time now and I'm getting *hungry*

Next watched Alice in Wonderland which was pretty good.

*Finally* at 19:40 got dinner.

Dinner on the plane
Dinner on the plane

Rhine River near Frankfurt
Rhine River near Frankfurt

Runway 18, Frankfurt Airport (we took off on this later)
Runway 18, Frankfurt Airport (we took off on this later)

Pulling up at the terminal in Frankfurt
Pulling up at the terminal in Frankfurt

Arrival at 21:25 Tokyo time, seven hours before that Frankfurt time.

Me and the plane
Me and the plane

Had a nice long meandering stroll to our next plane. Then had a slight panic because they'd moved the gate of our plane and there was a different one there!  Fortunately they'd only moved our plane three gates away.  And the climate was so much better!  So nice to be out of the oppressive heat of Japan.

Smoking zone - sealed room for smokers
Smoking zone - sealed room for smokers

German toilets and their viewing platforms never fail to amuse me
German toilets and their viewing platforms never fail to amuse me

Our A320 from Frankfurt to Heathrow
Our A320 from Frankfurt to Heathrow

Flight was otherwise uneventful. Missed out on seeing London because we came in from the west, however I did go squeee a lot when I saw Legoland :):):)

Our plane, reflected
Our plane, reflected

Rhine River near Oppenheim
Rhine River near Oppenheim

Cool clouds, over Belgium or possibly the Netherlands
Cool clouds, over Belgium or possibly the Netherlands

Legoland!!
Legoland!!

The Long Walk of trees leading south of Windsor Castle.  We drove down that road in the foreground to get to Runnymede.
The "Long Walk" of trees leading south of Windsor Castle.
We drove down that road in the foreground to get to Runnymede.


Looking out over Old Windsor (Runnymede is in the distance)
Looking out over Old Windsor (Runnymede is in the distance)

Traffic on the M25 west of the airport
Traffic on the M25 west of the airport

Had another very long walk through Heathrow. Immigration took all of a minute, and no customs people even there in the nothing to declare section. I still can't get used to the fact that the rest of the world is not as paranoid as Australia.

Then used our Oyster cards to hop on a Piccadilly Line to Earl's Court where our hotel is. On the train I was a little freaked out at how closely the verges looked like Sydney verges.  Everything from the way they string wires along beside the tracks, the types of trees and foliage, and even the brown paint used to cover the graffiti.  It made me feel like I was home!  Which was kind of good because I'd been feeling a little apprehensive about coming to England - just because I've never been here before.  I was quite relaxed about Japan and Frankfurt, but London is uncharted territory.. 

So the train was pretty easy, altho finding our way out of Earl's Court station was more challenging heh.  Came out of the station and saw my first red double decker bus and black taxi :)   

Checked into our hotel (decent enough place, although very small, but with free internet), dumped our bags, then went out to get some food so we wouldn't end up starving at 3am. Tragically the food that best met this requirement was Burger King. In our defense I'll say that we didn't have MacDonalds once in Japan! Heh

Dinner at Burger King
Dinner at Burger King

My Twitter apps are both broken hence the lack of tweets. I suspect I'll be waking up extremelly early so should have some to look at it then.

Meanwhile, my eyes are swimming so need to get ready for bed.


Geotagging - Day 7
Geotagging - Day 7


Geotagging - Day 7
Geotagging - Day 7


Geotagging - Day 7
Geotagging - Day 7


Geotagging - Day 7
Geotagging - Day 7

Photos on the Canon: 31
Photos on the Sony: 329
Videos on the Sony: 4
Photos on the iPhone: 3
Steps walked: 7893
Yen Spent: 1090
Pounds Spent: 7.39
Had a bit if a sleep-in this morning. Or at least we attempted to, not very successfully :/ Had trouble with temperature - too hot with the doona, too cold without it.

Wandered out the door a bit after 10am, and went up to Denny's for breakfast. As is a 27-year tradition, I had bacon, sausage and eggs :)


I took a photo of this stand of electronics last time we came to Japan.
At least one thing on there is still the same! 

Bacon, sausage and eggs at Denny's!
Bacon, sausage and eggs at Denny's! 

So then we went into Akihabara electronics town to do an audio walking tour of the place. It would have been really good except for the heat (have I mentioned the epic heatwave they're having?). Got to see lots of things that are hidden away in alcoves and up lifts that we never would have thought to look at otherwise. Highlights were the shops that had model kits of ships and planes, Super Potato (if we'd found that place last time with Nat we never would have gotten her out of there!!) and some of the retro toy collections.

Octopus Game & Watch picture
Octopus Game & Watch picture 

Game & Watches!!!
Game & Watches!!! 

Soups in a can
Soups in a can 

Jawa Sandcrawler RC model
Jawa Sandcrawler RC model 

We were hot and thirsty at the end of the tour so went back to Cafe Moco for a light lunch and drinks.

These electronics mosaics were all over the place and had all different pictures
These electronics mosaics were all over the place and had all different pictures 

Then Stu went back to the hotel while I went across to Yodobashi Camera to have a wander and ask about my camera. But they didn't understand my problem so abandoned hope and also headed back to the hotel.

Yodobashi Camera
Yodobashi Camera 

Sega Gigo
Sega Gigo 

Spent a decent chunk of time organising my photos on Stu's laptop (we got the cable we needed to make it work). Twitpicced some, still have a few more to do.

Around 6pm we headed out again, this time to Ikebukuro. Had a little bit if a wander around the place and had sushi train for dinner.  It was getting a bit late, so there wasn't a lot of choice unfortunately.

Canal in Akihabara
Canal in Akihabara 

Akihabara buildings by night
Akihabara buildings by night 

Big Apple building by night
Big Apple building by night 

Akihabara buildings by night
Akihabara buildings by night 

Akihabara buildings by night
Akihabara buildings by night 

Cosplay store
Cosplay store 

Akihabara buildings by night
Akihabara buildings by night 

Ikebukuro
Ikebukuro 

Ikebukuro
Ikebukuro 

Ikebukuro
Ikebukuro 

Ikebukuro
Ikebukuro 

Ikebukuro
Ikebukuro 

Then hopped on another train to Shinjuku. We were hoping to find the eye. Took a couple of headings in the wrong directions and a pit stop for coffee/cake, but we finally found it.

The Eye! at Shinjuku station
The Eye! at Shinjuku station 

The Eye!
The Eye! 

There's a lot of train lines at Shinjuku station
There's a lot of train lines at Shinjuku station 

Finally we went to Sibuya to have a look at the scramble intersection and the lights and Hachiko.


Dogs at Shibuya
Dogs at Shibuya 

Buildings in Shibuya
Buildings in Shibuya 

Hachiko at Shibuya station
Hachiko at Shibuya station 

Scramble crossing in Shibuya
Scramble crossing in Shibuya 

Starbucks
Starbucks 

Bubbles in a roving advert truck
Bubbles in a roving advert truck 

Scramble crossing in Shibuya
Scramble crossing in Shibuya 

Scramble crossing in Shibuya
Scramble crossing in Shibuya 

Geotagging - Day 5
Geotagging - Day 5

Photos on the Canon: 185
Photos on the Sony: 80
Videos on the Sony: 3
Photos on the Olympus: 2
Photos on the Video: 6
Videos on the Video: 35
Steps walked: 13626
Yen Spent: 8891
Third day of our Chisun breakfasts but alas no bacon-wrapped asparagus this time. Oh well, three days in a row of takoyaki is nothing to complain about :):)

Breakfast bar at Chi-Sun Shin-Osaka
Breakfast bar at Chi-Sun Shin-Osaka 

Checked out and wandered up to the station and got some reservations for the next Hikari at 10:13.

So sat on the train for the next three hours. Didn't get to see Shiny - it was covered  in clouds again :(

Crossing the Fuji River
Crossing the Fuji River 

Shiny is hiding behind those clouds over there
Shiny is hiding behind those clouds over there 

Freeway bridge on the side of Mount Ashitaka
Freeway bridge on the side of Mount Ashitaka 

Office buildings in Shinagawa, Tokyo
Office buildings in Shinagawa, Tokyo 

Arrived in Tokyo and switched to the Yamonote line to Akihabara. Was exceedingly excited to be back. Felt a bit like we'd never left, especially since the station is still under construction heh :)

Yamonote Line train arriving at Tokyo station
Yamonote Line train arriving at Tokyo station 

Akihabara!
Akihabara! 

Colourful buildings in Akihabara
Colourful buildings in Akihabara 

Big Apple building in Akihabara
Big Apple building in Akihabara 

Denny's!  We had a couple of breakfasts here
Denny's! We had a couple of breakfasts here 

Harbour Bridge in Akihabara
"Harbour Bridge" in Akihabara 

Canal in Akihabara
Canal in Akihabara 

Wandered down to our hotel and suddenly realised why we couldn't book the last one we stayed in - it doesn't friggen exist anymore - it's just a vacant block with some cranes and workers in it - freaky as!!!!

Former site of Green Hotel
Site of former Green Hotel 

View from our hotel room window
View from our hotel room window 

So after cooling off for a little bit we went down to put some washing on (Japan hotels rock by often having coin laundries, other countries should take note). These washing machines were simple as, not requiring you to understand Japanese to understand the intracacies of operating them! Win!

Washing machine!  Europe/UK should take note of this!!
Washing machine! Europe/UK should take note of this!! 

When everything was dried we got ready and headed out for a wander around Akihabara. Looked at a few places selling cables that might work with Stu's laptop. And Stu took fliers for various places :)

Dad would love all the old electronics in Akihabara
Dad would love all the old electronics in Akihabara 

Having your photo taken with the Colonel is the done thing ;)
Having your photo taken with the Colonel is the done thing ;) 

Streetscape
Streetscape 

Buildings on Chuo Dori
Buildings on Chuo Dori 

Chuo Line Train passing overhead
Chuo Line Train passing overhead 

Lights in Akihabara
Lights in Akihabara 

Lights in Akihabara
Lights in Akihabara 

We decided to have dinner and drinks at Cafe Moco which Gaelian had recommended. We had a cheesy hotdog thing which was huge and we ate it Lady and the Tramp style :) Was a good little place and we had a really nice long talk about *stuff* :)

Cafe Moco
Cafe Moco 

Interior of Cafe Moco
Interior of Cafe Moco 

Hot dog in Cafe Moco
Hot dog in Cafe Moco 

So kept wandering til we found one of the Maid Cafes that we had a flier for. There were three guys that were also looking to go there so when we were trying to figure out where to go I said let's just follow them :) I think they understood me cause they talked to us which was cool :) So went up the lift but the non-smoking floor was closed so the other guys said they were going to find somewhere different. I think we both were sad we didn't decide to follow them heh. Anyway we went in and it was bright and colourful, with the waitresses dressed up in cute sort of maid/cats ears costumes. There were several groups of people there, and a single guy as well. Stu said a lot of "otaku" guys go to those sorts of places to pay to have attention payed to them. We had a couple of drinks and I got a bit stressed that people on the next table were laughing at us but one of them came to talk to us. I think generally people were very impressed that the sweetie understood and was able to speak some Japanese (I certainly was :) ) They made a bit of a fuss of him because it was his birthday  and he had his photo taken with Meru-nya :) So a very very bizarre night but still quite fun :)

Stu and Meru-Nya
Stu and Meru-Nya 

Then came back here to blog and do computery things and have a couple of different Asahi beers. The aircon totally works in here, so will get to sleep with the doona tonight hurrah!!

Assortment of local beers :)
Assortment of local beers :) 

Geotagging - Day 4
Geotagging - Day 4 

Photos on the Canon: 52
Videos on the Canon: 3
Photos on the Sony: 71
Videos on the Sony: 9
Photos on the iPhone: 5
Steps walked: 6936
Yen Spent: 11159
So I decided it was just going to be too hot and miserable to go to Universal Studios. So I guess I'll never get to go on the Back to the Future ride :( Unless by some miracle it's still there next time we come to Osaka.

Stu did some research last night and thought a nice long air-conditioned train trip would be in order. There are JR lines that go all the way around the Kii Peninsula, a lot of it on the coast so we decided to do that.

Little did we know the whole trip would take thirteen hours and nine trains :)

But since the journey was the destination and the whole point of the day was to sit in relative comfort, the day was a win :)

Warning: the rest of this entry is going to be really boring.. just sayin'

10:00 Our first, shortest, trip was from Shin-Osaka to Osaka. Getting the hang of the Osaka train system and reading the boards so was pretty easy.

~10:10 Our second train was the Osaka loop line. Also easy to find - platforms 1 and 2, and which one you go to determines whether you clockwise around the loop or anti clockwise. There was a train on the platform so we got on that and went clockwise. Never actually been that way around the loop before.

10:42 Our third train was a local train from Tennoji headed for Wakayama. This was going quite slowly so we decided to ditch that one at Otori and swap to a Rapid train (we passed the slow one a little way down the line).

Train #3: Tennoji (Osaka) to Otori
Train #3: Tennoji (Osaka) to Otori 

On the train to Otori
On the train to Otori 

11:26 Our fourth train was a Rapid from where we got on at Otori. We were a little concerned that train was headed for both Kansai Airport and Wakayama, when these are on different branches, but the train actually got split at Hineno! And as an added bonus we were in the correct half of the train so didn't need to move.

Train #4: Rapid from Otori to Wakayama
Train #4: Rapid from Otori to Wakayama 

Canal near Higashisano
Canal near Higashisano 

12:21 Our fifth train was from Wakayama. We were out of the city now but still a lot of built up areas between rice paddies and mountains. Not much in the way of coastline. This train terminated unexpectedly (for us) at Gobo, so we had to sit on a platform in the middle of nowhere until the next train came along.

Train #5: Wakayama to Gobo
Train #5: Wakayama to Gobo 

Looking across Wakaura Bay
Looking across Wakaura Bay. There's actually an amusement park over there! 

Shiotsu
Shiotsu 

Refinery and gas storage at Hatsushima
Refinery and gas storage at Hatsushima 

Mystery building in Oshima
Mystery building in Oshima 

Cute little seaside town of Nishihiro
Cute little seaside town of Nishihiro 

13:47 Our sixth train was a limited express. We were originally going to get off at Tanabe but the place didn't look very inspiring so we decided to stay on till it terminated at Shirahama.

Train #6: Limited Express from Gobo to Shirahama
Train #6: Limited Express from Gobo to Shirahama 

Coastline near Iwashiro
Coastline near Iwashiro 

14:30 Arrival at Shirahama. On the way out of the station we had a look at what time the next train was. It was either 15:17 or 16:52(!) So we decided to just have a quick lunch and then keep going. Which is a bit of a shame cause it looks like it might have been a nice place to spend some time in. Although everything is a fair hike from the station so would have had to take an infrequent bus or a taxi. Oh well, maybe next time.

Where we had lunch in Shirahama
Where we had lunch in Shirahama 

Shirahama train station
Shirahama train station 

15:17 Our seventh train was another limited express "Ocean Arrow". The was probably the best leg of the day. Quite a lot if it was along the coast, although photography opportunities were limited by trees and power lines obstructing the view. This train terminated at Shingu so sat on the platform there (in a little air-conditioned room) for twenty minutes.

Train #7: Limited Express (Ocean Arrow) from Shirahama to Shingu
Train #7: Limited Express (Ocean Arrow) from Shirahama to Shingu 

Coastline near Mirozu
Coastline near Mirozu 

Mirozu
Mirozu 

Beach at Wabuka
Beach at Wabuka
Photo by Stu 

Coast near Tsuga
Coast near Tsuga 

Coast near Tawara
Coast near Tawara 

Coast near Shimosato
Coast near Shimosato 

Coast near Shimosato
Coast near Shimosato 

River in Shimosato
River in Shimosato 

Coast near Yukawa
Coast near Yukawa 

Beach near Shingu
Beach near Shingu 

17:28 Our eighth train was another limited express "Nanki 8". What we didn't realise was that this wasn't a JR train! When the ticket inspector came along he said it was a company train not a JR one.. Major doh!! The fare was 800 yen each, which really isn't too bad for what was to be a three hour trip! Imagine trying to that in Australia you'd be up for $50 or something silly!? There were some pretty towns along this trip, but the light was fading so didn't get to document them. 


Train #8: Nanki 8 from Shingu to Nagoya
Train #8: Nanki 8 from Shingu to Nagoya 

Factory at Udono
Factory at Udono 

Train going through Udono Station
Train going through Udono Station 
20:42 Arrival at Nagoya. So at this point we were both very tired and hungry, and then we went outside to find food and the heat and hurty zapped any remaining strength. So spent nearly half an hour wandering around trying to find food. In the end we ended up back at the station where there was a little alcove of restaurants under the station. Shared a ramen dish (a really tasty tsuke ramen) then headed upstairs to catch what a paper timetable said would be a 21:53 hikari. However the electronic boards said the next one would be a 22:11 .. grunt 


View west of Nagoya from the station
View west of Nagoya from the station

22:11 Our ninth and final train of the day was a Hikari Shinkansen from Nagoya to Shin-Osaka. After having eaten and cooled down in the train and painkillers kicked in I was feeling human again by the time we arrived at 23:10. 


Train #9: Hikari Shinkansen from Nagoya to Shin-Osaka
Train #9: Hikari Shinkansen from Nagoya to Shin-Osaka

So yeah. Super long day.


Geotagging - Day 3
Geotagging - Day 3

Photos on the Canon: 169
Photos on the Sony: 95
Videos on the Sony: 2
Photos on the Olympus: 1
Photos on the Video: 29
Videos on the Video: 48
Steps walked: 5535
Yen Spent: 6200
Woke a bit before 8am. Only remember waking up once in the middle of the night so think I slept fairly well.

Got ready and went down for breakfast. This hotel does awesome breakfasts. They even had takoyaki!! Win!! (that's octopus balls for the uninitiated - an Osaka specialty.  Stu first introduced them to me the day I stayed home sick in this hotel last time.  And burnt my mouth on them last night when the locals brought us some to share with them heh).

Takoyaki for breakfast!
Takoyaki for breakfast! 

Small carparks, Japan style
Small carparks, Japan style, near Shin-Osaka station 

Came back upstairs to have a look at the Kyoto map I had done last time. Decided we'd head for the monkeys first and Kiyomizu-dera temple near Gion. And the tower.

So we caught the 10:13 hikari to Kyoto. Just about melted into a puddle waiting though. Have I mentioned how bad the heat is here? The train trip is so short (~15min) that I hadn't finished cooling off before we arrived.

Interior of Kyoto Station
Interior of Kyoto Station 

Astroboy!
Astroboy! 

Kimba!
Kimba! 

Decided we'd go up the tower first. It was actually pretty cool, and it was a lovely clear day for it. Could see all the way to Osaka in the distance. There were too many bits of the tower in the way to do a decent panorama - at least on the top level - the lower level was better - and no people in the way there either heh. Nowhere really to sit though (I've mentioned before the lack of seatage is one major gripe I have with this country).

Kyoto Tower
Kyoto Tower 

Kyoto Tower
Kyoto Tower 

View north-west from Kyoto Tower
View north-west from Kyoto Tower 

View west from Kyoto Tower
View west from Kyoto Tower 

View towards Osaka from Kyoto Tower
View towards Osaka from Kyoto Tower - you can see Osaka in the distance! 

Taxis outside Kyoto Station
Taxis outside Kyoto Station 

Kyoto Station
Kyoto Station 

So headed back down and back across to the station to find a map (I like having them on paper, and I'd stoopidly left the one I got last year at home. Went to the tourist information office (which had moved) and got some maps and the exact location of the Iwatayama monkey park.

Waited about fifteen minutes for a train, which thankfully was air conditioned.

Old steam train near Arashiyama station
Old steam train near Arashiyama station 

Wandered slowly down from the station to Togetsukyo Bridge. Then across it and wandered east along the Oi River. That was actually relatively pleasant as it was shady and there was a bit of a breeze.

Ōi River at Arashiyama
Ōi River at Arashiyama 

Togetsukyō Bridge
Togetsukyō Bridge 

Walk along the river at the base of Iwatayama
Walk along the river at the base of Iwatayama 

Canoeing on the river
Canoeing on the river 

Ōi River
Ōi River 

Canoes by the river
Canoes by the river 

Spent a little while there and had to decide whether or not to climb up to see the monkeys. Because, you know, EPIC HEAT!! In the end we decided we would make the climb. And it actually wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. It was all in the shade in the forest, and definitely cooler than outside the forest. And when you get to the top they direct you to a "rest room" where they hand out refresher towels! Very cool :)

Walking up Iwatayama
Walking up Iwatayama 

So anyway, inside the building you can buy nuts to feed the monkeys and they sit around the outside with their arms stretched in through the fencing expecting a handout. Some of them took the nuts very gently, others a bit rougher heh.

Monkeys at Iwatayama Monkey Park
Monkeys at Iwatayama Monkey Park 

Monkeys at Iwatayama Monkey Park
Monkeys at Iwatayama Monkey Park 

Monkeys at Iwatayama Monkey Park
Monkeys at Iwatayama Monkey Park 

After we cooled down a bit we went outside to look at the view. They also did a feeding and all the monkeys came from all over to feed.

Cooling off in the pool
Cooling off in the pool 

Looking across to Kyoto
Looking across to Kyoto 

Looking across to Kyoto
Looking across to Kyoto 

Baby monkey
Baby monkey 

Feeding time!
Feeding time! 

Feeding time!
Feeding time! 

Was a very cool place, glad we decided to go. Nat would definitely have gone nuts with photos there hehe :)

So headed back down. It was nearly 3pm by this point and we'd pretty much had enough. So found an airconditioned restaurant on the main road and had some nice food and a couple of very big Sapporo beers (633mL- yipe!).

We decided we didn't have the energy to go to Kiyomizu-dera so just did a bit of a wander up to the bamboo grove. It was very still air though which was a bit unpleasant. I was feeling utterly miserable by this point. I really don't like heat :(

Sagano bamboo forest
Sagano bamboo forest 

Train at a level crossing in the middle of the bamboo grove
Train at a level crossing in the middle of the bamboo grove 

So we hopped in a train back into Kyoto and a hikari back to Osaka and into a cold shower.

Three drivers?
It amused us that there were not one, not two, but three JR staff in the Kyoto trains 

Had some snacks for dinner. Then was quite distressed to find that Stu's laptop has an iec cable which we don't have a dongle for. So only a couple of hours of battery left on it, which is most annoying since I wanted to do some photo stuff on it.

Early night tonight!

Oh, I also fixed the comments on this blog.. so please leave a comment if you're reading :)


Geotagging - Day 2
Geotagging - Day 2 

Geotagging - Day 2
Geotagging - Day 2

Photos on the Canon: 323
Photos on the Sony: 115
Videos on the Sony: 2
Photos on the Olympus: 5
Photos on the Video: 1
Videos on the Video: 44
Steps walked: 16610
Yen Spent: 7400
Attempting typing up a blog entry on my phone. If it drives me too nuts I'll switch to the laptop.

So day 1 started at 4pm Friday when we needed to leave home. We actually managed to organise a lift this time which was so much nicer than a cab!  Uneventful trip to the airport. Checked in but all the planes were running half an hour late due to single track, er, runway working at Sydney airport. So our 17:35 flight was rescheduled for 18:10 and left the gate at 18:24.

In the meantime we went into the Qantas club and had some champagne so that made the time pass quickly :)

It was dark so got to see the lights of Canberra which were very pretty. And a Federal Highway that was bejewelled  with the lights of dozens of cars leaving Canberra :) Had an interesting approach to Sydney airport - flew up from the south-west, across the top of the north-south runways (parallel to the east-west one) then did a 270 degree turn to the right to come in from the south. Felt like a game of Flight Control or something ;)

Our baggage had been checked through so we just had to hop on the Qantas shuttle (aka free Tarmac tour) bus over to the international terminal. Very squee getting up close to lots of planes :):)

So had a couple of hours to kill in Sydney. Think I spent them mostly just reading news feeds.

Sydney from Sydney Airport Qantas Lounge
Sydney from Sydney Airport Qantas Lounge 

So then piled onto our 747. Pretty much the whole back section of the plane was filled with (older) school kids returning home to Japan.  


Back of our plane
Back of our plane

Took off to the north and sitting on the right side of the plane so nice view of Sydney.

Had our dinner then attempted to sleep. Was moderately successful. It was a mostly full moon which made the whole wing glow. It was actually quite beautiful but impossible to document. At one point we had some decent turbulence while passing through clouds. At another point I looked out and saw Orion on his side. There were some very pretty clouds around sunset.

Breakfast came a bit after 5am for Stu - he wasn't awake yet tho heh. Ours arrived a little later.  Food on the plane was ok - the more processed stuff (chicken at dinner and eggs/sausage for breakfast) were nice but the fresh vegetables sides were very overcooked :(

Sausage and eggs on the plane
Sausage and eggs on the plane 

Sunrise clouds
Sunrise clouds 

Flying into Narita
Flying into Narita 

Flying into Narita
Flying into Narita - golf courses rule! 

Flying into Narita
Flying into Narita - can you see my shadow? :) 

Our plane
Our plane 

Arrival at Narita at 7:10am (Sydney time - 6:10am local time).  Heat!!! Waited quite a while for bags to come through but then immigration and customs were a breeze.

Went and got our JR passes validated then caught the 7:33am NEX into Tokyo. Realised at this point that we were hungry but didn't actually have any cash! Oops. Did I mention the heat? So at Tokyo we got some money out before getting some drinks and snacks and jumping on the Shinkansen to Osaka.

Tokyo Sky Tree
Tokyo Sky Tree under construction
Photo by Stu 

Info boards at Tokyo station
Info boards at Tokyo station 

Hikari 507 to Osaka
Hikari 507 to Osaka 

Shiny in hiding
Shiny would have been behind those clouds on the left 

Japan countryside
Japan countryside 

Statue of Liberty Hotel near Kyoto
Statue of Liberty on top of a hotel north of Kyoto - couldn't actually
geo-locate this! 

Tō-ji temple at Kyoto
Tō-ji temple at Kyoto - next time I go to Kyoto I'm going to visit this
one up close! 

Shall I remind you about the heat? It was pretty much unbearable in Osaka. Regretting my decision not to bring shorts (but then would have needed other shoes too).

Wandered down to the hotel but it was still too early to check in, so dumped our bags and went out to find some lunch. Decided to go into a ramen bar near the hotel. The menu was only in Japanese and while I would have been able to pick something off the pictures, Stu could actually understand enough of the menu and the waitress to figure out some more detail. I was very impressed :) And as an added bonus the place was air-conditioned and they had a big jug of ice water. Afterwards we got some ice creams and went for a bit of a wander. Did I mention the heat?

Super tasty ramen in Osaka
Super tasty ramen in Osaka 

Ramen bar in Osaka
The ramen bar in Osaka that we got some super tasty ramen in 

Ice cream!
Ice cream! 

No bicycle parking
The sign says no bicycle parking - so there's a bicycle parked! 

Got back to the hotel and checked in where the first order of business was a cold shower. Unpacked a bit and got online then did this much of this blog post.

Stu collapsed for several hours while I did things like sort out my photos and read news feeds.  Twitpicced some of my photos but got a bit stuck with photos from my big camera.  They're around five mb each, which is painfully slow to upload over the hotel link as well Twitpic has a five mb limit.  The Eee PC doesn't have anything capable of resizing them (paint will open them but it complains it doesn't have the memory when I try to resize them :( ). Might have to do em on Stu's lappy or something.

Eventually Stu got up and we decided to wander into Osaka.  Last time we were here we took the JR lines around to the Namba area, but getting back late at night took an hour and a half because it was three trains.  So thought, screw that this time, we'll take the local subway.  One train and 270 yen each each way and there in about fifteen minutes. 

Subway to Nanba
Subway to Nanba 

Got out of the station and of course we had no idea where we were :)
Decided (like last time) to pick a direction and walk in it.  And by total fluke happened across the Glico man that we were hoping to find (Stu didn't come with us last time). 

Covered walkway in Nanba
Covered walkway in Nanba 

Asahi Super Dry
Asahi Super Dry 

The Glico Man!
The Glico Man! 

Stu in Osaka
Stu in Osaka 

Canal in Nanba, Osaka
Canal in Nanba, Osaka 

Okonomikayi!
Okonomikayi! Actually I didn't even know what this was until some
time later thanks to Lisa

Stu looking at lights in Nanba
Stu looking at lights in Nanba 

Old Ferris Wheel in Nanba
Old Ferris Wheel in Nanba 

Then we went for a wander down by the canal with the thought of going to find dinner.  As we were walking by some dude stopped us and asked us where we from.  This group of people had been on a drinks and food stand for some charity event, so talked us into getting some beers.  They deep fried some chicken for us as well and asked us to sit and join them.  The dude had been to Australia before - he kept going on and on about smoking in Nimbin ;) One of the girls had lived for a year in Australia working at Nando's at Bondi.  And there was another really cute girl who was 32 but looked about 22 :)  So Stu got to practise his Japanese, and they understood enough English for it to be a very fun evening.  Stu might have drank quite a bit :):)  But a good release for him :)

Girls in Nanba
Girls in Nanba. The one on the left is now a Facebook friend of Stu's.
The one on the right worked in Sydney for a year. 

Us looking very hot and a little drunk
Us looking very hot and a little drunk 

So eventually wandered back to the hotel for another cold shower and bed.


Geotagging - Day 1
Geotagging - Day 1

Photos on the Canon: 140
Videos on the Canon: 2
Photos on the Sony: 183
Videos on the Sony: 5
Photos on the iPhone: 21
Photos on the Blackberry: 2
Photos on the Video: 10
Videos on the Video: 18
Steps walked: ? Friday + 8582 Saturday
Yen Spent: 7049