Out to the sticks and back to the city! Sodo, Tsukuba Circuit and Kawasaki!

Well due to poor WiFi and just being incredibly busy I am super behind on my blogs so I’m writing this now as I sit on the Shinkansen as I leave Osaka and I am doing my best to catch up on it all. Anyways enough of my excuses…

Day 4 was a dream of mine since being a child, finally I would get to go to my number one dream race circuit Tsukuba! For years I have spent far too many hours on game such as Gran Turismo lapping this course over and over fighting to get that perfect lap with a dream of one day going to the circuit itself!

It started out with me getting my things all packed up as I would be leaving my pod at Shinjuku to head to Ibaraki for the day and then heading over to my next hotel at Kawasaki. I headed over to the train station as I needed to head to Sodo Station to then walk over to Tsukuba Circuit. On the way I stopped off at a beautiful little town called Moriya which I would love to go back to at some point. It was strange going from the crazy and busy streets of Shinjuku to Sodo a small town or village even, it was so quiet and so empty, it was peaceful and quaint and my first proper experience of being out in the sticks of Japan. It was a good 50 minute walk to Tsukuba Circuit but I took everything in walking from Sodo. The beautiful farm houses and traditional buildings with old shack type buildings housing old Nissans just left there under the dust, in pictures below you will see a pair of Z32 300ZX’s just sat there, whether to be restored or just abandoned I’m not sure but I wanted to rescue them. I saw a lot of early mode Lancer Evolutions along with quite a few Skylines, Silvia’s and RX-7’s. I felt good about this place, very good.

I continued my walk not really knowing how close or how far from the circuit I was and it was at that point I heard what sounding like racing in the distance I knew I had to be close! It was at that moment I walked down a side street and in the distance I saw a lovely JZX90 but more importantly I saw the Dunlop bridge of Tsukuba Circuit! I couldn’t contain my excitement and at the point was very likely making sounds like a little girl and though tired carrying the weight of my fully loaded burgan I found a spring in my stepped and my walking pace increased!

Finally I had made it! There were old race shops surrounding the circuit area and some modified cars around. When I got to the circuit I found there was a trackday for bikes. Sadly no Nissans time attacking but it was still amazing watching people race around the track and hearing bikes bouncing off the revs down the back straight sent chills through me! After walking through the pits and checking out the circuit itself I found my self hurting my wallet in the circuit shop. But it was so worth it! I couldn’t not go to Tsukuba and spent money on merch!

What amazed me so much was the surface of the track and just how cambered it was and the elevation changes of the circuit it gave me a whole new perspective of the track layout but it was beautiful and a moment I will never forget. One day when I go back to Tsukuba I hope to do a trackday there or go to and Attack event but until then just experiencing the place itself was more than enough for me.

After finally leaving the circuit it was time for me to head to Kawasaki. I walked back to Sodo Station and caught the train to Kawasaki and was once again blown away! It was a busy place with tuner cars screaming up and down the streets all night, Skylines, Evo’s, Silvia’s, Subaru’s, RX-7 and RX-8’s and S2000’s, and all other built wangan and track cars! What a sight it was, I knew at that moment this was a place I could call home but tomorrow would be even better and I would finally find the place I could truly see my self never wanting to leave.

Rendle.

P.s. apologies again that photos aren’t in order, it had phone pictures first followed by camera pictures.

 

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Tokyo and Akihibara!

So some of my blogs are a little delayed and it’s time I caught up on them! On day three I woke up in my little sleeping pod and headed out from Shinjuku to head over to Tokyo to finally see what it’s all about! As I arrived I came out the station to beautiful weather and the most stunning city streets I could expect to see. Most skyscraper cities back in the uk are dark and dull with no life to them yet walking through Tokyo had a completely different feel, buildings may have surrounded me but the streets were full of he most beautiful trees and flowers lining the walkways. It certainly did make the city feel more inviting than the usual dull office blocks.

The plan for today was to see the imperial palace and just have a wander round the place and see what I would come across. Unfortunately upon arrival at the imperial palace I found out that sadly it was closed for the day however I did manage to get a good look at the surrounding moat and could see the beautiful trees and buildings that stood higher that the walls. Each gate had an old bridge to cross for entry which were all guarded. Without being able to go in I decided to just walk the perimeter and take it all in. I eventually ventured further on passing museums and started walking up to Kitanomaru park. The park itself was beautiful! With waterfalls and rivers and the greatest range of trees and flowers I have ever seen in a park. It was a very tranquil place, I found my self at times finding it hard to believe I was in this natural wonder in the middle of one of the worlds busiest cities. Once again Japan has blown my mind!

After enjoying the park I decided to head back to the train station as it was getting near lunch time. I jumped back onto the train and headed over to Akihibara! What a difference from the imperial palace to then be stood in Electric Town! The place was full of flashing lights and anime posters stretching from top to bottom of skyscrapers and even people driving down the street dressed as mario kart characters driving go karts! I quickly grabbed myself some food and headed for the shops! After checking out lots of anime stores I found myself what I can say is the greatest model shop I have ever experienced! With two floors of it for anime character builds and model car kits! This was heaven and I honestly had to keep my wallet under a tight rein, however I will be going back there before I leave! Not long after that I headed back to Shinjuku for the night as at this point I was exhausted and the heat was getting hard to handle and also the weekend coming up was going to be the best weekend of my life but an extremely tiring one!

Rendle.

P.s. Apologies if the pictures aren’t all in order again as its a mix of my camera and my phone again.

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First full day – Narita, Shinjuku, Shibuya and Harajuku!

So yesterday as it is now was the first full day in Japan and what a chaotic, overwhelmingly crazy day it was! And I don’t so much mean that in a bad way, its was incredible! I never knew a place could be so vibrant with so many different smells and sounds it truly is a beautiful place!

The day started out by leaving the hotel in Narita to head for Shinjuku for the next nights hotel and to get acquainted with the area and drop off bags. (Honestly the amount of modified cars and just walking out the door to Skylines and Silvias and old Z’s everywhere) anyways back to what I was saying, this however turned out to be a much longer process than previously expected! Prior to travelling I had ordered my japan rail pass (which I will say is a must if you do come over here its brilliant to just jump on almost any train you want as long as its a JR train) Anyways in the post you receive your exchange voucher to get the tickets when you get here, so I went to Narita train station to find we couldn’t exchange them there and had to catch a train back over to the airport to get it changed there. At this point I did the obvious thing and caught the train to the airport! Once there I found out where to exchange my ticket and after a 90 minute queue and filling out forms I finally had my official Japan Rail Pass! Success!!

From there I then made reservations for the next train directly to Shinjuku! After a good train journey of about an hour or so we made it over to Shinjuku and began to explore! Shinjuku is incredible, its mind blowingly colourful, there is so much noise and music and so many arcades everywhere and yes I couldn’t resist playing Initial D on the arcade! We must have spent hours traversing the city to the find the sleeping pods to stay in for the night but eventually we found them and they are so nice! I recommend them to anyone, they are like £20 a night and the facilities are amazing! Anyways we dropped off the burgans and took out the essentials in day bags to reduce the weight we were carrying all day and began to explore the city! I will add all the photos on here below of the day!

After much exploring of Shinjuku we headed over to Shibuya to head to the famous Shibuya Crossing which really is as crazy as it looks when you see it on videos! The amount of people there is insane theres no space to move! Once over the crossing we explored multiple different stores and multi-storey shopping complexes to find stores selling literally everything and anything you could want. Surrounding the streets up on the high rise buildings are huge screens with music playing as well just to add to this insane atmosphere! Another truly mind-blowing and magical place!

After spending a few hour in the early evening at Shibuya we headed over to Harajuku to be met with possibly to most colourful place I’ve ever been, it was predominantly female clothing stores with all sorts of anime items and crazy clothing! The streets were paved with crepe and sweet stores giving the air a distinct smell of pure sugar, if I wasn’t already on a high the sugar smell probably helped me along haha!

After spending an hour or so in Harajuku we caught the train back to Shinjuku to get some food for the night. The trains were so packed I couldn’t believe how many people actually force themselves on there. I always thought the underground was busy but this was something else, there were train cars with people literally face to face crushed against one another! In the UK it would probably be classed as a safety hazard haha! Anyways once we arrived back in Shinjuku we immediately went on the search for a noodle bar, now this might sound simple but its not. There are of course hundreds of little noodle bars and little restaurants in Shinjuku but finding one that wasn’t full or finding one that had the right food at an affordable price was certainly no easy feat. However after a good 30 – 40 minutes searching we found the right one! I sat down and enjoyed a bowl of Mapo Tofu Noodles! Delicious doesn’t even come close to the tastes that bowl had in it!

After letting food settle for a while we had one last wander round the city, this ended up being longer than expected as we spent some time playing in arcades and then found an entire subnade shopping centre under the city that seemed to go on for miles! After exploring the subnade we headed back across the city to the sleeping pods where I experienced the most amazing power shower ever before finally heading to sleep in my little pod! Overall a chaotic, tiring, incredible, magical, wonderful first full day in Japan!

As I finish off this article I am waiting for my travel companion to wake up as its 7:22am here an I seem to have this new habit of waking up at 4:45am not that I will complain about it as it gives me the morning to write these blogs and plan for the day! Next stop today will be Tokyo!! I will hopefully fill you in on all the details tomorrow morning as I think I will be far to exhausted to do so tonight when I get in!
My final thought on this today is that if anyone is wanting to go anywhere in the world, just do it, just save everything you can and get out there and see the world! And hot vending machine coffee is life just to add that in there 😛

Rendle.

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Travelling from the UK to Japan! Finally!

Well here goes nothing, months and months of travels ahead of me that through multiple unforeseen circumstances almost cancelled the whole trip, but as I write this I am sat desperately fighting with the wifi at Birmingham airport!

I have just over 2 hours until I get on my flight to Dubai and then transfer on to Japan! At last! Finally I get to see the country I have been dying to see for so many years!

I suppose for this first entry I am a little unsure what to write, so I guess I shall give to you a little overview of my itinerary for the trip. So from my landing in Japan I will be staying there for 22 days and then I fly over to New Zealand to drive across the North Island for 11 days. From New Zealand I will be heading over to Australia to drive down the east coast from Cairns down to Sydney and of course making a stop at a special location along the way! I have given myself 14 days to do the drive to Sydney at which point my last week in Australia will have half of it spent in the outback and then the other half back in Sydney before finally flying over to the USA to road trip there for 90 days!

So although I wrote this in the airport I never got chance to upload it as I couldn’t get wifi. So currently its 4:40am and I am sat in my hotel room in Narita Japan! Can’t believe I actually got here, what I have seen so far is amazing and everything I expected, even down to seeing a beautiful silver R33 GTR immediately as I left the airport to head to the hotel! I managed to get a little sleep when we first arrived her but I think the time zone shifts are kicking in as im wade awake! The hotel is absolutely gorgeous all be it only for a night, today I will be heading into Tokyo to have a look at lots of things in the city and then will be heading over to Shinjuku and Shibuya where I will be staying the next few nights! Forgive me if these earlier pictures aren’t too great! After two days travelling I was rather exhausted!

Anyways I guess there’s not a whole of exciting stuff to talk about currently, but I shall do my best to update this as often as I can whilst I travel.

Rendle.