Planning the Grand Tour:Japan and Australia

It’s a long time since I saw my sister who lives in Australia, so it’s time for a great journey to the other side of the world. As I’ve always wanted to go to Japan, we’re going there first en route. Well, I know it’s not exactly on the way, but after the promise of a trip to Japan for my birthday when instead Bill bought tickets for New York (perfectly good, but not the same) this time, it’s all booked.

It seems a lot more complicated that I imagined. When I began diligently reading guide books, I discovered that Kyoto looks far more interesting than Tokyo where we were planning to stay for 5 nights. Instead, I’ve now booked for the bullet train and a night in Kyoto, but I’m not at all sure that I can negotiate the complexities of Tokyo station, or finding the correct place to stand on the platform when the train only stops for seconds – literally – and the numbers are only written in Japanese.

Thoughtful friends gave us books on Japanese for Christmas, and they provided a lot of fun trying to speak essential phrases, (not sure how useful “Don’t touch my moustache” will be!) as well as working out how to order dishes in restaurants. We’re determined to be independent, so will go out of the hotels for meals. Interestingly, our hotel is near the Tokyo Tower which is an exact copy of the Eiffel Tower, but nowhere near as high as the new Sky Tree which we won’t be investigating.

I’m looking forward to the museums, shopping, modern architecture, shrines and palaces and the food. It will be the most challenging adventure we’ve ever had, but luckily once in Australia we can recover and relax.

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