We have made it past Japan and are about to tackle London. We will spend the next few days staying in the city of London (as opposed to where our base is out here in Chesham Bois). Don't forget you can check out what we should be up to at any time by looking at the itinerary.
Laura has composed a long email about Japan so I will just reproduce that here for now rather than doing up a separate one. You will note Laura's unusually poor form in terms of grammar.
Hello all! I can't even remember a japanese greeting for everyone, so that is all you get. I hope you are all very well and not too hot back in Australia. We are very, very cold.
lots of memories and six hundred photos later, simon and i left japan. we went straight from aus to tokyo and were there for four nights and three full days of sight-seeing. and they were very full. our wonderful friend and tour guide, sheree, who teaches in tokyo, had us walking the streets of the city for over twelve hours a day, which is, we're told, the tokyo way. tokyo was the most amazing place i have ever. ever been to. and i will forever stand by my claim that every single human being at some stage of their lives must visit this city.
everything in tokyo is bright, efficient, rapid and eye-opening to the extreme. go to the top of one of its hundreds of skyscrapers and the city rolls on as far you can see. it just doesn't end, it's that enormous. there is such a mix of the old with the new, like markets running the length of centuries' old shinto shrines. advertising is on everything and neon is king. we sat at a starbucks (again, very much the tokyo way) and looked down on the busiest intersection in the world, where three-four million people cross everyday. this is also where some of the movie lost in translation was filmed, which was very cool. we went to Ginza, the suburb with the most expensive real estate on earth, and ate a very cheap lunch.
everyone works so hard in tokyo. i feel very lazy (you girls at earthborn have it very easy. haha.) everyone sleeps on the trains or plays on mobile phones. there is so much japanese culture mixed in with even more westernisation. think: mister donut, el torito's mexican restaurant, tiffany's, the gap, louis vuitton and dean and deluca (for all my fellow felicity-lovers). i went to a 24-hour department store, a bookstore with eleven levels, tower recods with nine floors of cds, dvds, books and magazines, and then sheree and i let simon loose on Akihabara, a suburb of just electronic stores. even i was impressed. at the sony building we played with products that aren't even on the market in japan yet, let alone the rest of the technologically-inept world.
we visited the imperial palace where the emperor and his family live. i had images in my head of a japanese version of buckingham palace with ridiculous paparazzi scaling the walls. instead, we were about the only people there. there are no fences, just a small moat running part way around the gorgeous palace and gardens. sheree said that as is the japanese way, everyone is full of respect for the emperor and do not bother him at all.
the people are all so polite and kind and amazingly helpful. this was especially the case as we perfectly fitted the part of ridiculous tourists complete with continous wows and the aforementioned frequency of photo taking.
everyone must visit!! we are already considering another trip to see other parts like the country and out to the coast. in three days we probably saw one-twentieth of one city in an entire country. it was just superb. on about the third day, sheree discovered that people pay 13 000 yen per day for tours of the city of the quality she gave us. so we bought her tea and called it even. thanks heaps sheree.
we are now in simon's aunty and uncle's gorgeous manor house just outside of london. we will be staying in the city for a few days from tomorrow. more soon, hope everyone is well. mel - what is the latest with st george? renee - thanks for your email. jaye - can you please forward to the williams? ta. dowdell - can you please forward to linda and jill and send me their addresses? thanks.
Drop us a line anyone if you have the chance. if not, you can just listen passively to my ramblings for the next five weeks. You can contact us on a UK mobile if you really feel the need: 07821765284 You can also email [deleted] or [email protected] Or you can check out the website: www.elvery.net/drzax There might not be much up there for the next six weeks but there will be a whole bunch of photos and stories going up after we get back.
Lots of love, Laura and Simon.