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Saturday, January 12, 2008

Big Sis in a Small World
Tokyo, Japan (July 2007)

It was my first time to Asia, but having spent an hour reading my Japanese phrasebook, I felt confident that I’d be able to communicate with the locals. How wrong could I be. But as I arrived at the hotel and was greeted by an entourage of Japanese women opening the door and lining up, bowing to greet me, I soon realised that a friendly bow works wonders. Keen to make the most of my 48 hours there, I took my map in hand and headed off to see some temples and local sights. I thought Tokyo was a fairly touristy place and expected to come across lots of English speaking people, but as it was, I only saw five westerners during my entire stay. Not that I minded, I was excited that I’d be able to practice my new found Japanese-speaking skills.

My first attempt to speak Japanese was with a group of women who were taking it in turns to take eachother’s photos. So I greeted them and asked if they wanted me to take their photo all together. They were delighted and gave me about five cameras... before insisting that I also took part in the photo shoot. One hour and about fifty pictures later, I felt a little like a celebrity as they seemed more interested in taking photos of me than anything else.

I'm second from the right.
Feeling a little peckish, I found a nice looking café where I sat down to a nice hearty lunch. Unfortunately it was more like a tiny aperitif, as I looked at the sandwich on my plate and found it was not much bigger than the size of my little finger. I now understand why the Japanese are all so small.Room With a View

A quick bit of shopping and I headed onto what looked like a mock version of the Eiffel tower. But it had some fantastic views (see right) and despite being entertained by a Teletubby as I stood in the queue, the experience was totally worth it.