2009 - 2010

Day 14

Going home

Today is the day go home, which is both good and bad.
Tokyo is an amazing city and I absolutely loved it. There are so many things I liked about this place that I plan on writing a separate post on all the great things that we came across during our journey.
I will miss Tokyo, but at the same time, I am looking forward to coming home and seeing the familiar faces of family and friends.

This morning we made sure we got our last breakfast in (which closes at 10:00 AM) and went back to our rooms to finishing packing so we could check out by 11:00 AM.

Our flight didn’t leave Tokyo until around 8 at night, so I asked the hotel staff roughly how long they think it would take to get to the airport and also if we could stow luggage somewhere so we could still go out before we had to leave for the airport, which they were happy to oblige for both.

Our plan was to go back to the Asakusa markets again, then get back to the hotel to get our luggage and from the nearby Aoyama-Itchome station, take the Ginza line to Ueno, then the Skyliner to Narita Airport (the same way we got in, except this time we know the train system better).

So once again we were off to the Asakusa markets, this time I needed to grab a couple more gifts, and Lee and Sarma wanted to get swords like Anthony.
We went there and looked around, eventually get everything we needed. In hindsight, I wish I got a few more little gifts, but between my bad memory and the manic nature of our trip, it slipped my mind.

As we were all pros and navigating the train system and the Asakusa markets, were in in and out pretty quickly and before you know it were at our station about to walk back to the hotel to get our bags.

Just as we exited the station, Sarma (very casually) said “Hey, theres Asimo”. To our surprise, right across the road to the station we used everyday was a Honda showroom! Through the windows, we could see Asimo walking around. We were all amazed at how lucky we were to have this timing!

We headed over to see that Asimo did about 3 shows a day here (not sure if that was just for today, or everyday). We had just walked in about 5 minutes into a show!

For those who dont know, Asimo is the “humaniod robot” developed by Honda that is meant to act just like a human, and can actually manage its weight well enough to be able to run (i.e. fast steps where in one instance both feet are in the air). Asimo can hand people objects and will loosen its grip as you would expect a human to when someone else hands you something. It even has reflexes to correct errors, such as tripping over.

We watched the demonstration, where Asimo did a dance, walked around and even ran across the room and then was stopped with a pose for people to get photos with.

Photo courtesy of Rob

We headed back to the hotel, where we did a final check of our luggage and ended up shifting other peoples items around to balance out the weight before thanking the hotel staff for all their help and started heading out to the airport.

It was a little tricky getting 6 of us onto the little trains with all our luggage, but we managed ok. On the Skyliner, there was a group of 3 guys that we ended up catching the train and both planes all the way back to Melbourne with. Even though we called them stalkers, they had a bit of a laugh of with us.

We allowed plenty of time to get to the airport, and its a good thing we did. Once we got to Narita Airport, the queues were huge! Just to check in took us ages. Then we had slight issues with the Samurai Swords, but they just wanted to open up the (freshly sealed) boxes to examine them and ensure they fit regulation (not sharp, under a certain length, etc.) for security purposes.

After a long flight (that I actually managed to get some sleep on… amazing) we finally got home to 35° Melbourne heat. Sarah and Michael, Rob’s girlfriend and friend, were waiting there to pick us up as we waited around the luggage carousel to pick up our bags. Apparently the day before was 44°, the hottest day on record and we just missed it, instead we were freezing in Tokyo, wearing 3 tshirts, jumper, jacket, beanie, gloves, a neck warner and heat packs, lol!

Got home, handed out a few gifts and fell asleep, before waking up to have dinner, then falling back asleep. The next day, didn’t wake up until 2:00 PM - back to my old routine :)