Hi there, welcome to my blog.

What's this all about? Well, that's a question I'm probably not even qualified to answer. I guess it started off because I had nothing better to do, but turns out that I kind of like it. So when I'm not working for The Man I like to take pictures, make videos and write about whatever else might seem like a good idea at the time.

From dragon boating to mountain biking, to road trips and travels overseas - this is me trying to enjoy life. Clock out at 5, eat, drink and don't forget to smile a lot.

The Time Machine


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Thursday, November 25

Downtown Tokyo with a view...

Since we initially had no clue what to do when we arrived in Tokyo, the first fifth stop on day one was the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. It's about a 15 minute walk from Shinjuku station to what I can best describe as a financial or business district (that's also next to some park with lots of bums in it). While Shinjuku is pretty much overflowing with restaurants, shops and bars you can tell you're getting down to business when you head towards the twin towers' area as they really thin out.

Also located in this building is one of the Tokyo Tourist Information Centers and two badass observatories in each tower (all free).

If I can find it I'll post one of the walking tour sheets that the tourist center has available for poor saps visitors (and in many different languages). These double sided sheets are 100% gold. Basically they are maps of the different core areas that make up Tokyo with suggested walking routes that hit major attractions/landmarks in that area. There's also little blurbs about them so you can decide whether to skip over or add other destinations. These were good because huge folding maps are no help ever since there's not enough detail in them for walkers. Trust me.

So not only do they give you the attractions you probably want to see, estimated walking times from point to point and a pretty detailed street maps, but they are just super easy to use and all we really needed for a map (not that we carried around much else either). We used them as "rough guides" to get us started in the different areas, and in combination with random blog and forum posts we found on sketchy sites other suggestions we read about, made us an unstoppable force (or something like that). FYI, we were able to cover roughly 2/3 areas a day since we always somehow got side tracked by other stuff we couldn't refuse...

Unlike Toronto where you can have all city streets on one map, it's virtually impossible because Tokyo is so dense and huge. Unless you want to carry like 36 useless folding maps of all the districts that make up downtown then you should find these immediately at any tourist center or sometimes scattered at some subway stations. No joke, if I got a dollar for every time I saw some random jackass with a Frommers or Lonely Planet book trying to navigate with them and totally inconveniencing random citizens that don't speak English for directions to some obscure shop that probably doesn't exist anymore, I could have bought another iPhone.

See the sights, get yourself lost and then discover something amazing. When you're ready, use these handy maps to find your way back to the subway. They're great.

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building Japan 18
Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building Japan 17
Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building Japan 20
Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building Japan 13

Can you tell that I really digged those maps? Anyway, rest of the set HERE.