Japan – first days

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Our first view of Japan with Mt. Fuji seen near the Swiss Air wing tip. Japan in January definitely has her winter coat firmly on!

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Japan Rail keep all their trains incredibly clean. Before the start of each Shinkansen (bullet train) journey, including this first trip using our JR rail pass from Narita airport into Tokyo we see cleaners like these preparing the carriages to a very high standard. It’s helped by having few rubbish bins provided so travelers must take their refuse away with them. No-one is seen with take-away food or drink – eating and drinking is much more of an ordered ritual in Japan.

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Toshie was our Servas day host who we’d arranged to meet at Tokyo Station and who guided us around a small part of the city from lunch time to 5pm. Toshie took us to a classy ‘set lunch’ at a restaurant where office workers eat patiently showing us how to enjoy small bowls of food elegantly served on a traditional bamboo tray. Presentation is everything here in Japan – from the appearance of food to clothing ti women’s makeup – all must look exquisite!

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The lunch restaurant displayed some of its dishes that they specialise in to passersby.

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Our Servas hosts in Tokyo were Rosemarie and Nobu who introduced us to the Japanese way of life. Both met in Switzerland but 35 years and 4 children later they firmly now consider themselves a Japanese family. Here we enjoyed a Swiss style breakfast in their small but sunny dining area.

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Their home is large by Japanese standards but has little storage space – here an old dishwasher is now put to another use as a wine cellar!

They taught us the very different but pleasant Japanese evening ritual of bathing. They shower first then all soak in a covered but very hot bath tub. Delightful! Perhaps a bathroom renovation will be next on ‘the to do’ list.
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Rosemarie took us to the top of the Tokyo observation tower.
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Here we saw the enormous expanse of Tokyo looking out to the snow capped Mt. Fuji in the distance.

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This is what Tokyo residents call ‘The Golden Rake’ a symbol of how people can rake in good fortune for their city and themselves. It is displayed in the foyer of the Government building housing the observation tower look out.
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Inside the bullet train enroute from Tokyo to Kyoto – clean and ordered as is the typical Japanese way of life.
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This was one of the bento boxes we bought at the station to enjoy for lunch on the train. Again presentation is perfect – it’s a pity to eat it!
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Japan Rail and Thomas the Tank Engine company must have a great business arrangement – wherever we go with JR we see Thomas.
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