The Japanese Toilet Seat

Now, don’t get me started on the Japanese toilet seat!! 

Well, ok, I will anyway…..they are EVERYWHERE !!

NOT just in the fancy hotels, but in restaurants, train stations, bus stations, department stores, I read somewhere that 70% of Japanese HOMES have them too !

Now, it’s not JUST that they are heated and that in itself is a wonderful thing, the remarkable thing is that they have an inbuilt bidet with a little arm that pops out and sprays various bits ( does give you a fright if you are not expecting it ! ) AND the most elaborate ones even have a hot air dryer, so you never have to use toilet paper again ! Just think of how much you could save on toilet paper alone !

 

I noticed that they were for sale in the duty free department stores in Akihabara, ( electric town), I’m curious about how many tourists buy one to take home, could be very interesting explaining these to customs !

Nagano by Bullet

I got my Japan Rail Pass today which allows me to travel anywhere in Japan by rail so I wasted no time in jumping onto a bullet train, something I’ve been wanting to do since we arrived !

Where to go?

Well, it was a case of sticking a pin in a map and seeing what it lands on ! It landed on a city called Nagano, which I discovered was the host town of the 1998 Winter Olympics !

SO, right across Japan to the other side I go!

The bullet train is wonderful, it’ SO fast you almost feel you about to take off, I travelled about 260 kilometres in just under an hour and a half !

It’s very relaxing to just watch the world go by and the because you are going SO fast the scenery changes very quickly from the built up city scape to exotic countryside !

I didn’t stay in Nagano for very long, just an hour’s walk around then a quick turn around back on the bullet !!

Plenty of time to browse through the ‘train shop’ magazine, and look what I found:

Ian Poulter hat for
Japanese golfers ??
Much healthier train food than the
crisps and nuts we get in the UK !

Walking Tokyo

My day yesterday was spent….walking! With a few metro trips thrown in of course but I must have walked miles, just soaking up the atmosphere of the city !

I started off at the Imperial Palace Gardens, very peaceful and extreme well manicured as you might imagine ! Fell in love with the most beautiful, ancient wall hanging in one of the Palace art galleries, it’s not the best of photos but you can see how the white flowers blend in to the clouds perfectly !

After a looooong walk through the Tokyo National Garden, metro to Akihabara which is ‘electric city’ in Tokyo, full of the latest gadgets, robots etc, a geek heaven actually.

Another metro ride to an old part of the city for a peaceful walk along the river.

Quite a long day, but lots of fun !!

Tokyo Inner Fish Market

Visited the Tokyo Fish Market today, the Inner Market where tourists are not REALLY supposed to go. Missed the famous tuna auctions though, not surprising as they normally take place at 5 am  but there was still PLENTY going on.

It was fabulous to see a traditional part of Japanese daily life in much the way it has gone on for years and years !

Lots of photos below, went on after the market to a ‘sushi making’ lesson so watch out those at home , you will no doubt be my guinea pigs !

Am I really like an electronics store ?

Not sure whether to be offended or not when, after deciding that my hand luggage needed to be checked, the airport security guy said ” Crikey’ it’s like an electronics store in here ! ”

Well, I KNOW I don’t travel THAT light, but………

Leopard – one of the most stunning of all

The day we saw the leopard was incredibly exciting, they are one of the most difficult animals to find as they hunt at night and often sleep up in trees during the day.

We had been searching the previous day but it had proved to be very elusive so when we managed to get SO close to this one, it was an ‘awesome’ experience.

On one of our last days on safari, our Masai driver and guide, Mandila, stopped on the plains at sunset for what had become our customary African sunset glass of wine. The tree we stopped at was particularly of interest as when we looked up, we saw the carcass of what had obviously been lovely meal for one of the leopards.

Quite a feat when you think that the animal was probably heavier than the leopard itself !!

Wildebeest on the move

There were hundreds of thousand Wildebeest on the plains of the Mara and in amongst them were their constant travelling companions, zebra.

They say that the zebra are the ‘eyes’ of the wildebeest, the early warning system if you like. The wildebeests’ eye are more on the side of their faces so although their peripheral vision is good, they don’t always see well what is right in front of them whereas the  zebra don’t miss a trick !

Cheetahs on the Mara

We spent such a long time admiring these two cheetahs, it was almost like they were posing for the cameras, relaxed and happy in the sunshine, it was as though we didn’t exist. Such incredibly beautiful animals and just one more species to add the the incredible list of animals we were seeing each day, cheetahs,leopard,elephants,water buffalo,wildebeest,zebras, lions,ostrich,giraffe,warthogs,hippos, gazelle and antelopes GALORE and that’s just the animals, have’t even  STARTED on the birds yet!

Pumba makes an appearance

I remember seeing the Lion King show in Disneyland Florida when it first came out all those years ago. I have to admit that Pumba was one of my favourite characters!

This particular warthog in the Masai Mara made a very startled appearance just as we were driving past, he stared at us in horror, then reversed back into his hole, however, unfortunately for him, his ‘mate’ must have been right behind him and he  backed down onto her tusks!

They both shot out of the hole like rockets and screamed off over the plains!

It was a hilarious moment, has us in stitches every time we see the photo!

Hippo on the Plains

I hadn’t imagined just HOW many animals we would be seeing on Safari in the Masai Mara, it seemed like wherever you looked there was something unbelievably enormous walking past!