Dress RehearsalThis morning was the beginning of our second full day in Tokyo, Shinjuku.
Our plan for the day was to take the Metro to the JR Train into Tokyo Station as a "dress rehearsal" for tomorrow when we will be towing our luggage. We purposely left around 10:00 am after the morning rush hour.
|Our local station is pretty quiet at 10:30 in the morning.|
While we are on the subject of trains, Russ compiled a few facts worth noting. Every day in Tokyo, there are 20 MILLION tickets sold for 20 MILLION rides, not necessarily people but ridership to and fro. Wow! Tokyo runs 25 trains per hour with up to 3200 passengers per train. Over the course of a year, there are 13 BILLION riderships in Tokyo! Holy Sushi! That is a lot of people.
It wasn't too busy before lunch, but coming home was a different story. More about that later.
Bicycle TourAfter our dress rehearsal expedition, we made our way to the financial district in Tokyo
where we are to meet our bicycle tour group. Since we arrived a little early, we walked a few blocks through the financial district. (white shirts, no ties, and black pants seems to be the official uniform here)
|Looking down the street from the big gates.|
We returned to our meet up place later than we anticipated, but still in time (or so we thought) for a quick bite to eat. And I mean quick! We threw the food down with the promise to chew it later, and packaged up more than half to take home for dinner, and joined our group.
Our group leader was Baba.
|Attended UC Berkeley Summer Session, MBA from MIT, Been to Yosemite 8 times.|
Our group consisted of us and a family of four from Melbourne, Australia. Baba explained that we would be riding power booster bikes. We peddle, but each push accelerates the bike faster than normal. This was going to be fun! And it was! The only difficulty I had was turning tight corners. Usually going through a tight bend, barrier poles, etc., I slow down than push down on the peddle to finish and slowly accelerate the turn. Twice, I did this and ran into a wall or a pole because the acceleration happened so quick I was unprepared. I finally got the hang of it. Russ, turned off his power boost, since this was a piece of cake compared to his morning rides up to Donner Summit.
Both of us are too tall for Japanese bikes. I felt like my knees were coming up to my chest and never extending fully even with the seat at full height. The power boost really helped otherwise I think my legs would have really gotten tired without a full extension.
The Japanese are very orderly when riding escalators in the subway. Everyone steps to the left and there is a definite system for orderly movement. This is completely contradictory to what happens on the street with bicycles and pedestrians. Bicycles are allowed on the sidewalks and there is no motility protocol. Walkers and bikes come from all directions and weave in and out amazingly not hitting one another. Everyone is very careful and polite. Nevertheless, it takes a lot of defensive driving trying to figure out whether you can squeeze in here or there and if an oncoming rider will pass on the right or left of you. What an adventure.
Here is the map of our trip.
The most amazing fact we learned was that when the Imperial palace was built 400-500 years ago, it was ocean front property. It isn't anymore. Everything including the financial district to the south of the palace is all land fill. That's amazing.
We cycled around the Imperial palace and the giant moat that surrounds it,
we saw the Tokyo Railroad station (brick building),
saw the stadium where the martial arts competitions take place, and several other venues for the 2020 Olympics.
We cycled through the financial and commercial district,
across several bridges,
down alleyways, and along old established streets, seeing sights like neighborhood shrines,
we would not have seen by foot or by tour bus.
Our tour took us about 3.5 hours and we probably covered about 10 miles.
The lights of the city began to twinkle an the nightlife was gearing up.
We made it back to our apartment, ate leftovers from our lunch, took showers, and worked on the blog. Tomorrow we are off to Hakone, at the base of Mt. Fuji for three days.