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JDay 1 – Being overly Excited is Never Good for a Traveller

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The above is the first thing I shot while being on Japanese soil. Waiting for the bus to Terminal 1 (because the Terminal 2 customer service center only opens after 10.30am, come on JR?).

More in depth report of my first day after the warp…

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This is how a Suica-Nex pack looks like. While the combo price is useful if you’re, like me, planning to take the return Narita Express from Yokohama (it’s really cheap in that case), the Suica is of greater importance (as we can see later).

Also, the Suica card can be used for baggage lockers in most major stations in Japan, which is a blessing for any over-encumbered travellers (or one with shitty stamina like me).

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Next, to Omori, checking out the rumoured CrossPoint. The other beauty of the Suica-Nex pack is you can exit the Nex train ANYWHERE it stops, and continue on ANY JR Train within the indicated radius (all the way down to Yokohama) AS LONG AS YOU DON’T EXIT THE GATE IN TRANSIT. Nice.

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Checking out CrossPoint, a whole bunch of stuff available, ESPECIALLY for Canon/Nikon/Olympus FILM shooters. Also some DSLR stuff and PnSes too. All at reasonable prices (unlike CERTAIN Ginza shops).

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Then it’s off for some lunch at T’s Tokyo Station, a Vegan place with all organic, non-animal ingredients. It was good too, but the place itself is tucked in one far corner of the station so it’s wasn’t exactly easy to find.

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After lunch, my feet felt like lead so I took my stuff from baggage storage and began the journey to Aizuya Inn in Minami-Senju, knowing full well that I will arrive MUCH earlier then the stated check-in time.

Worse comes to worse, I planned to just sit on the sofa at Aizuya while waiting for the room to be ready.

I arrived there at about 1PM, tired and having lost all feeling in my feet except pain, and I was greeted by the Manager, Raoul, who told me that sure, I can check in 4 hours early. After filling all the necessary forms and giving him a room key deposit, I was quickly whisked around the (admittedly very “compact”) establishment and then off to my room, as seen above.

It was 3 tatamis in size, which translates to the size of your average toilet with sink, but it was spotless clean and even had a TV (which occupied BOTH the plugs I needed, so off with that). I have no issues with the room, really.

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Also, Raoul passed me what is unarguably the SECOND most important thing to a Japanese traveller IMHO (next to a Suica), my B-Mobile SIM.

It took me about 15 minutes to have it settled, and after that, I had working, pre-paid, unlimited cellular data in Japan. It’s slow at 300kbps and it’s sometimes wonky with my SGS2, but at the price I paid for it, what can I say?

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So, with that all done, a little bit of rest and a bath, I felt bored and soon found myself going up to Akihabara. Which was entirely unplanned but with the Suica card it was entirely effortless.

Which I soon found was not quite a good thing.

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Dinner time and I found myself heading to the nearest Vegan spot in Ginza, the Ain Soph.

It was a cozy little place nestled in between a few large buildings about 3 minutes from the Higashi-Ginza Metro Station.

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The insides was even more homely. It felt both chic and relaxing, and the staff were VERY helpful towards this strange Asian gaijin and his mish-mash blend of Japanese and English.

I ended up ordering the fried mock meat (having been suggested by the staff after hearing of my non-alcohol request) and the mock omelet.

The fried soya whatevers were even BETTER then the stuff I had at T’s for lunch, and it was cheaper to boot.

Though “cheap” is a very relative term here, Japan being Japan.

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The “mock” omelet really DID look like an actual egg omelet, all things considered. It did taste a liiiitle bit like egg, but it’s tofu origins betrayed it in the end. Not that I mind tofu to begin with.

That done, I went off to explore Ginza, but the shops I wanted to raid were aready closed. Maybe I’ll.just go again tomorrow after Tsukiji.

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Which brings us to the end of this tale, I found myself stopping at Akiba AGAIN simply as it was all too easy (hence my little warning against the ease of Suica use), and I got myself some wierd films I have NEVER seen.

Having suddenly covered Akiba (twice) AND Ginza, you can only imagine what kinda havoc ┬áthe “extra” trips were causing to my Suica balance. It would most probably need another unscheduled reload to keep it useful, which also means that my transport budget is now officially haywire.

Which means my food budget is now topsy turvy too.

Sigh.

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