Sleeping in a dormitory with 7 oher people is not the best choice for a light sleeper, itâ€™s hard to get a good night rest when the record is constantly playing a symphony of snoring, farting and twitching of covers. The morning was probably the worst part because every day there was a keen traveller who got up at the crack of dawn to visit the tuna auction at Tsukiji market, which starts at 3 in the morning!!
So this morning I got up early and set off on my first mission, buy a subway and railway card.
Public transportation in Tokyo is excellent, itâ€™s clean, most signs are bilingual, the trains are always bang on time and thereâ€™s lots of machines to buy you ticket so you hardly have to queue. However there are several companies running the trains and when you change from one to another you have to pay a transfer cost, this can get a bit confusing. A Pasmo card solves every problem (note not a Suica card as mentioned in my travel guide, which caused lots of confusion). It has worked in most cases with few exceptions, still not sure why but I played the part of the dumb foreigner (which Iâ€™m getting very good at!) and the barrier inspector sorted me out. I donâ€™t think it helps to put the card with your credit cards, maybe it affects the magnetic strip?!
Laox shopping centre, good place to buy overseas goods.
Ok, with my new card and a big smile of achievement I went off to visit the place I read the most about: Akihabara, or the Electric Town.
If like me you are a bit geeky, you have an electronic feeder for you fish tank, remote controlled lamps and you never miss an episode of the gadget show, Akihabara is the place to visit. No kidding, the are hundreds of shops selling every possible and imaginable electronic gadget. Simply put â€˜if it has a power supply, youâ€™ll find it here!â€™.
Tiny laptops for tiny fingers
I spent all day in Akihabara and visited many of the biggest stores, Yodobashi camera and Laox are amongst the best. I played with the latest phone sets, with TV, GPS and super duper camera as standard features; I took photos of sexy Japanese shopping assistants with shit-hot cameras; I browsed the web with tiny little laptops and checked my email whilst I could - bit cheeky I know :-) and at the end of the day I walked home with a tidy Toshiba laptop and a Casio Exilim 8Mp camera. Just what I wanted to document my trip and keep in touch with my old buddies.
The price was good at 650 squid for both and I didnâ€™t pay tax by showing my passport as proof that I wasnâ€™t staying in Tokyo for more than 6 month.
Akihabara at night
By now I had been away from Wales for 3 days so I was looking forward to a nice beer in the pub. Unfortunately I couldnâ€™t find anyone in the hostel keen to join me, so I wondered by my self in the Asakusa district. I walked for ages but all I could see were those now familiar small diners.
It seems like most pubs over here are tucked away in the upper levels of buildings. Eventually I followed a sign for the tip top sports bar â€“ sounds good to me. I entered the lift, pressed number 2 and when the doors opened I stepped into what looked like someoneâ€™s broom cupboard! Seriously, my toilet is bigger than this bar. There were two electronic dart boards on the walls, counting for the â€˜sportsâ€™ element of the bar, one slot machine, two tables and four chairs. Three Japanese were sat on stools, squeezed up shoulder to shoulder at the bar, wellâ€¦ a wooden plank 2 metres long! Just like in a movie the place went totally quiet. One of the chaps got up and kindly gave me his seat, so I sat down in the middle, rubbing shoulders with the other two and looking like a right lemon pointing at the only beer pump at the bar.
Very expensive washing mahcines
It was quite embarrassing at first, but the night did get better. After a beer I joined the guys for a game of darts, they explained the rules in Japanese, I nodded like I knew the game and I was the first one out! Later a couple turned up and the chap spoke good English, we had a long chat, watched Japanese tv on his girlfriendâ€™s phone, had a few more beers and I went home at 3am â€“ pubs here donâ€™t seem to have a lock up time.