Our suits and shirts have arrived from Hong Kong, so we are now all ready to hit the interviews at the beginning of next year….and start paying back the bills that have begun to come in from the holiday (^^)>
We got up early this morning and had a spot of breakfast before checking out of the hotel and taking a taxi to Tokyo Station. From there we took the Narita Express train to Narita International Airport and arrived around 9am – in plenty of time for our flight to Heathrow at 11:00am. Check-in was fine and our suitcases were just in the allowed weight zone, so no charges incurred this time (^^)>
We flew home with British Airways on a 747-400, so nice and comfortable and a fairly smooth ride all the way. The video screens on the block of seats we were sitting in were apparently not working, and so we were moved in to business class after the first couple of hours!! It was quite a nice way to end our amazing 3 month adventure – and we even arrived on time as well!
Mum and dad came to pick us up from Terminal 5 in their new car and after we got past the first gridlock on the M25 we sailed home in no time. There seems to be more snow here than in Yukuhashi, but it feels a lot warmer here thanks to the central heating.
It has been a brilliant 3 months, but it’s always good to be home (^^)v
Looking forward to Xmas dinner tomorrow….
We got up a little bit later this morning, and had breakfast before heading out to see some of the local shrines. We first made a stop at Meiji Shrine, before moving on to Yasukuni Shrine and then finally on to the Imperial Palace. Today was the Emperor’s birthday, and so we signed our names on the list to send our best wishes to him. There were quite stringent checks to enter the palace gardens today and we had both bag and body checks before we could enter!
It was quite nice weather again today – quite fresh but sunny as well.
After visiting the palace, we headed back to the hotel for a little break and a cup of tea!
In the evening we went out for Yakitori (Japanese style skewered kebabs) but ended up at a karaoke box singing Lily Allen and Sam Sparro, whilst chomping on soya beans and mixed nuts!! All good fun (^^)v Not particularly good for my sore throat and cold that I’ve been suffering from for the past couple of days, but I’ll have plenty of time to recover back in England…
After about an hour and a half of Michael Jackson, Queen and The Script, we headed home and Seio updated his blog, whilst I packed up my suitcase and then crashed out…..
We got up and got ready to go to Utsunomiya City to meet another teaching friend of Seio’s called Shino-chan. Shino-chan lives in Utsunomiya City, the same as Seio’s last name, and she had offered to show us around and take us to Nikko as well. We took the subway to Ueno and then rode the Shinkansen (Bullet train) from Ueno to Utsunomiya City. The journey took about 1 and a half hours altogether. Although we had never been to Utsunomiya City before, it felt quite familiar as our name was on all the street signs and restaurant adverts!!
Utsunomiya City is famous for its Gyo-za (Pork & Vegetable crescent-shaped dumplings) and so we had some of those for lunch at a restaurant called Utsunomiya Min-Min. Both before and after lunch, Shino-chan took us to see some of the sights in Utsunomiya City, including Futa-Ara-Yama Shrine, and Utsunomiya Castle. After lunch we drove to Nikko, a beautiful ski resort town about 40 minutes from Utsunomiya City. The mountains were covered with snow, and the sun’s rays were shining through the trees – it really was a good day to visit Nikko.
In the evening we returned to Shino-chan’s place to have dinner with her and her husband To-ru-san. Unfortunately To-ru-san had to work late and so we didn’t get to speak to him much…may be next time!!
Shino and To-ru dropped us off at the station at around 10:30pm and we caught the last bullet train of the day back to Tokyo.
It was a short metro ride back to our hotel and we were in bed by 12:30am – Another long, but very enjoyable day! Thanks Shino-chan xx