This week I went for a ride on the Shinkansen, more commonly known as the Bullet Train, from Hakone to Tokyo.
The Shinkansen is able to reach a maximum speed of 320 kilometres per hour. I don’t know if we actually travelled that fast but once we started everything was a blur.
My personal assistant Mrs ET says these terrible photos she took are blurry because we were travelling so fast.
I’m not so sure about that. She’s had this problem before…
Every café, restaurant and food stall in Tokyo has its display of plastic food in the window, designed to tempt and tease us. Like everyone else in Harajuku, I was drawn to the spectacular array of sweet treats at Santa Monica Crepes. It was as though an irresistible magnetic force was drawing me in and I just had to have one.
Deciding to have a crepe was the easy part; choosing which crepe was not so easy. There are 60 different fillings on the menu and they all sound divine!
These delectable desserts are made fresh to order. The batter is poured onto a hot plate and the cook skilfully pours, shapes and folds the crepe in a matter of seconds. My crepe was filled with scoops of sweet vanilla and raspberry ice cream, topped with glistening berries and finished off with a tangy berry coulis. Oh my…it looked deeeelicious!
I was so eager to tuck into my crepe I took a bite before my personal assistant, Mrs ET, could get the camera ready, and once she had her photo I polished it off in no time.
Only 59 crepes to go!
I know what you’re going to say when you see this photo. At first glance it looks like the Eiffel Tower has had a makeover and turned a brilliant shade of orange. Well, you’re sort of right but completely wrong!
This is Tokyo Tower, a communications and observation tower in the centre of Tokyo. Its shape was inspired by the Eiffel Tower, but that’s where the likeness ends. At a height of 333 metres, Tokyo Tower is nine metres taller than the Eiffel Tower. And while the Eiffel Tower weighs a massive 7000 tons, Tokyo Tower is a lightweight in comparison at 4000 tons.
The most striking thing about Tokyo Tower is its fantastic colour, known as international orange. The colour is meant to “set objects apart from their surroundings” and it has been used by NASA for some of its spacesuits. It certainly makes Tokyo Tower stand out.
From the observation deck there are great views of Tokyo.
My favourite view though is through the glass floor, 250 metres down to the ground. Look at all that orange framework.
I wouldn’t like to be the painter.
Manny and I should have known something was up the day we went to the Natural History Museum in London. All the signs were there but we weren’t very observant. We were much too excited for our own good!
There were some very strange creatures hanging around outside. They were all smiling, but not in a nice way.
In Hintze Hall we met Dippy the Diplodocus. He was larger than life and very skinny. We wondered how long it had been since he had a good meal.
This bony fellow seemed a bit the worse for wear too. I think he’d seen better days.
Even the great man himself, Charles Darwin, was looking a little pasty. I introduced myself as a fellow world traveller with a passion for learning but our conversation was definitely a one-sided affair.
Lucky I had Manny to keep me company.
The Natural History Museum is not for the faint-hearted!
My personal assistant, The Eternal Traveller, travelled to the centre of the earth at the Natural History Museum. Sometimes she is very brave!
I’ve been learning on the job again, this time at the Happiest Place on Earth. That’s right; I’m now a fully trained employee of Tokyo Disneyland. Recently I joined my fellow cast members, as Disney employees are known, in some practical training in customer service and ride organisation.
I was fortunate to spend time with some lovely Disney mentors at several rides and now I’m able to work anywhere any time. The most important skills I practised included smiling, waving and saluting!
Every ride has its own uniform and because I’ve been trained for them all, I will need one of each. I can’t decide which uniform I like best – It’s a Small World has a lovely number in pastel shades while Space Mountain personnel wear a flashy blue creation.
I’m sure I’ll look great whichever uniform I have to wear. Versatility is my second name!
Cast members have to be able to explain to guests what to expect when they go on a ride, so I needed some firsthand experience. I flew sky-high on the StarJets, went for a wild spin on the teacups at Alice’s Tea Party and dropped in on Roger Rabbit.
Next time you’re at the Magic Kingdom at Tokyo Disneyland, come and say hello. It should be easy to find me.
I’ll be the one teaching Mickey how to yodel!
I have a passion for hearts – not the beating kind but the decorative hearts we see at this time of year. So does my friend Jude. Look at her wonderful photographic collection of hearts.
I’ve seen some beautiful hearts on my travels, like this tinselly one in Akaroa.
My favourite is this heart of steel. I found it on the boardwalk in Mandurah. Isn’t it gorgeous!
Happy Valentine’s Day!
You know I’m always up for a challenge, especially if it’s a little out of the ordinary. So when the opportunity arose to climb the Eiffel Tower, I couldn’t resist.
Now, I know what you’re thinking…millions of people climb the tower every year. This is true. But not so many have done it on the outside!
As an alpine beaver, I have a great head for heights. So I wasn’t daunted at all by the thought of going right to the top.
Lucky that policeman didn’t turn around!
The Eternal Traveller has been playing with scale too!
I’d like to introduce you to an amazing new talent in the world of interior design. I predict that with his eye for colour and his sense of style he will soon be in demand.
His home is the perfect showcase for his flamboyant spirit. The décor is tossed together in an artless manner yet everything blends beautifully. Blue is his signature colour and he loves to collect the pieces others discard and use them as decorations. Recycle and reuse is his motto!
Ladies and Gentlemen, meet the Satin Bower Bird.
As you know, I love food – especially sweet food. In fact, it would be appropriate to say I am eating my way around the world, and I know from your comments that many of you have joined me in this quest. Yvonne, Elaine, Janet and Leanne also expressed some concerns that I will soon have to buy a larger sized pair of lederhosen! It’s nice to know they care, but fortunately I’m one of those people who can eat anything.
For others an increase in girth can be a real concern, so with your waistlines in mind I have come up with some tips for weight-watching while wandering.
1. Check the ingredients
These cupcakes look amazing and it would be difficult to stop at one. However the ingredients aren’t quite so appetising: goat’s milk, olive oil, clay, lavender, ylang ylang and geranium. These gorgeous creations are actually handmade soap and they’ll nourish your outside but not your insides!
2. Avoid ugly food
Do you fancy an eyeball or two for dinner? No, neither do I.
3. Don’t eat anything that is smiling at you
When I first saw this enormous ice cream I thought of my travel buddy Manny. But this beaming smile was a turn-off, in the nicest way of course.
4. Avoid difficult choices
Choose a single treat. How can you do this when there is such a variety of deliciousness on offer?
Be strong, and have just one – one every day, that is!
I was very touched by your concern for my well-being and my waistline after my excessive consumption of donuts, so I’m going to share with you a diet secret that few know about.
See this oversized burger? It contains not a single calorie.
These colossal ice cream cones are kilojoule free.
And this pavlova, perfect and plus-sized, is guaranteed not to add a single centimetre to your waistline.
What’s my diet secret? Believe it or not, this fabulous food is all fake!
Creating fake food for restaurant window displays known as sampuru is an art form in Japan. These amazingly realistic models, once shaped in wax but now made from plastic, are meticulously made by hand, often to the particular requirements of a restaurant. On Kappabashi-dori, or Kitchen Street, in Tokyo there are fake food shops where you can feast your eyes all day long on sumptuous trays of sushi or delicious looking crepes without putting on any weight.
Now where did I put that donut?