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Debbie Ridpath Ohi reads, writes and illustrates for young people. Every few weeks, she shares new art, writing and resources; subscribe below. Browse the archives here.

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« shinkansen | Main | Edo Tokyo museum »

kyoto trip prep

(continuation of a multi-part Blathering, begin here)

Wednesday, September 5th

Before we took the train to Kyoto, Jeff and I visited the Tokyo International Forum. The building is architecturally VERY cool both inside and out (designed by architect Raphael Vinoly). Our favourite area was the main hall, which is boat shaped with a ceiling ribbed like a ship's hull and covered in 2600 sheets of supposedly earthquake-resistant glass.

The Tokyo Tourist Information Centre was in the basement of the building, so we paid a quick visit and picked up some maps and info. I also bought a manga and a snack in the AM/PM (the equivalent of the Canadian Shopper's Drug Mart). The manga was one aimed at a very young crowd; I wanted to practice reading and understanding hiragana.

Next, we walked to Tokyo station, where we located the JR (Japan Rail) office. I have to give major credit to Jeff, by the way, for his incredible navigational abilities in Japan. It would have been confusing enough in any non-North American country, but even more challenging in a country where most of the signs were in another language.

We had half-hoped that someone in one of the travel centers or the JR office would be able to speak English but were mistaken. The man at the JR office was very patient, however, and with a lot of pointing and sign language and a few bits of broken English and Japanese thrown in, we were able to get our passes (already paid for back in Canada), get "ordinary class" tickets for our trip to Kyoto, find out which cars were non-smoking, what time the trains for Kyoto departed, and from which track.

Next: our first experience on the shinkansen, and our arrival in Kyoto!

Today's Blatherpics:

- Jeff at the Tokyo International Forum.

- A tech conference we glimpsed in one of the halls at the Forum.

- Rail is THE way to travel in Japan. Jeff and I both loved the shinkansen super-expresses or "bullet trains". They were fast, efficient, comfortable, and incredibly on schedule (within 10-15 seconds of the times listed in the printed schedule). Also expensive, but it was worth it. :-)

Today's Poll: (courtesy Alison George)

Are your teeth sensitive to cold?

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