TOKYO CRUISIN’

One of my greatest memories to date is having spent a few hours marine boating in Tokyo. Or in short, we were Tokyo cruisin’!

As it is, the trip in Japan was already awesome with a capital A, the boating experience then came along and sealed the trip even more nicely.

It was my first time in the land of the rising sun, and it definitely lived up to its great reviews. Very grateful to my parents for sponsoring this trip. They have been to Japan many times but they wanted my brothers and I to experience it as well, thus compromising many of the tourist spots [that they had been] when we visited last December.

The trip was well balanced out. We spent the first half of it (about 5 days) with a tour; and the second half of it with a family friend, where we had the privilege to live in his cosy home. Thank you, Uncle Sachio 🙂

The Japanese are such pleasant people! They are well-mannered, polite, disciplined, and punctual. The country itself is so very clean too; you’ll hardly ever find any dustbins in public, this has enabled the citizens to be disciplined in keeping their own rubbish, to be thrown at their respective homes.

It was a Saturday, I remember. We took the subway from Urawa station, and stopped by for some Ichiran ramen (brothers are crazy over it!), and took the subway again to the port, Tokyowan Marina.

The weather was gorgeous that day, bright sunny skies with comfortable winter chill, unlike previous days where it rained and rained. I had on myself just a long sleeve and a winter jacket.

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At the marine port, and this belongs to… hehe. Anyway this was not the boat we hopped on!

We instead hopped onto Gan-chan’s (speed?) boat, who kindly offered to take us a ride with it 🙂 Gan-chan’s Uncle Sachio’s good friend. Parents and Shaun has had the privilege of the marine tour years ago by Gan-chan, now’s Ken and my turn!

But first we had to get our boating gears from both Uncle Sachio and Gan-chan; you know those jackets and pants that can withstand the wind and the sort? What do you call it? Wind-proof outfits? Don’t play play. It was sunny but when come late evening, it was fuh-reezing.

And off we rode into the city…

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…which took only a short while. We got greeted by beautiful Tokyo city, at the centre where various high rises surround us. If I’m not mistaken we were on the Sumida river (Sumida-gawa).

With my brothers Ken and Shaun, and Uncle Sachio’s son Hideo. (good looking, eh? 😉 one of the most good looking chap I’ve taken note of whilst in my trip…)

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We took our time exploring both the city skylines and narrower river lanes, with now low-rise apartments in between.

There were also tourists on one or two boats weaving past us, other than that, it was a slow and quiet day on the waters. Loved the peace and serenity.

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Definitely can’t miss this if you’re on the Asakusa banks!

The Asahi flame standing proud on the Asahi Breweries Headquarters.

According to wikipedia, “the Asahi Flame, an enormous golden structure at the top, is said to represent both the ‘burning heart of Asahi beer’ and a frothy head”. The building beside it, which is also part of the Asahi Breweries HQ, is shaped like a beer jug, with a “foam-shaped” roof.

The Asahi ‘Flame’ building on the Asakusa banks of the Sumida river is infamous in Tokyo for its eponymous ‘flame’, a huge golden piece of art juxtaposed atop the obelisk-like black building; intended to represent the freedom and grace of a good head of foam on a glass of Asahi beer. – See more at: http://www.michaeljohngrist.com/2009/03/asahi-flame-asakusa/#sthash.uEJH6Wae.dpuf
The Asahi ‘Flame’ building on the Asakusa banks of the Sumida river is infamous in Tokyo for its eponymous ‘flame’, a huge golden piece of art juxtaposed atop the obelisk-like black building; intended to represent the freedom and grace of a good head of foam on a glass of Asahi beer. – See more at: http://www.michaeljohngrist.com/2009/03/asahi-flame-asakusa/#sthash.uEJH6Wae.dpuf

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Asahi Super Dry advertisement; that’s when you know pretty sure that you’re in Japan. Not Amsterdam or Venice. Hehe.

Oh and those were the tourist boats I was talking about. I waved excitedly the two times we passed by those boats.

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A reflection of the famous Tokyo Sky Tree against the backdrop of the Asahi HQ

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The real deal! Right.in.front.of.us.

I took an instavideo right at this spot, as we slowed down and just soaked in the view.

I remember being told that the Tokyo Skytree is the tallest structure in Japan. It is a broadcasting, restaurant, and observation tower… (just) like KL Tower!

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I took front seats after a while to seep in the ‘full-on’ view. Over here, apparently the bricks we see on my right houses the Imperial Palace. Correct me if I’m wrong!

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After boating around a bit, it was coffee time! Gan-chan brought us to a spot, temporarily parked it, as Hideo and I epic-ly climbed over the fence and ran to the nearest cafe to tapao some hot latte and espressos for the group.

It was so funny, I remember, as the little gate was locked and as we climbed through the gate to get out, you could see the locals looking at us from the bridge just across. Uncle Sachio took pictures of us sneakily climbing over, and also of us at the bridge after buying the coffee, saying hello to them on the boat just below 🙂

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The man behind the wheels, Gan-chan, as he took us around so smoothly, just like a pro and seasoned boatist…

He also slipped in a little information on boat speeds, where it is measured by knots. We started off with single digit knot per hour, and eventually moved on to a faster speed, which was awesomeee. Can’t quite remember what was the maximum the boat could get us!

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Gan-chan was so professional he even took us through dark tunnels… fun!!! The only light was that coming from our torch.

You could see some of the building signs crafted on the tunnels bricks. There was this one tunnel where buildings above were hospitals.

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Post card worthy? 😉

Had to make my mark right there!

At about 4pm, we stopped again for a tea and coffee break. Except for Ken, he had his beer, the usual. This time, everyone got down the boat. We took in some warmth in a cosy (but looked a tad bit classy cafe hehe) that is just minutes walk from where we parked the boat.

It was getting pretty dark the time we hopped back onto the boat. Think it was only 4 ish 5pm, and as we rode along the river night time beckoned upon us. We had a different pleasure now of witnessing the night view of the city, which was absolutely breathtakingly beautiful. My heart just died right there.

Seeing the buildings during daytime and night time is completely different! I say, if you wanna propose to a girl, assuming you want to execute it on a boat, do it at night! The lights just bring out a different side of the buildings. Wished I had pictures to share!

And also, I had the privilege to be behind the wheels on the way back to the marina…

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A bit blurry but can see it’s me yeah? Had to put on a beanie already, my ears were gonna drop off any minute! Think I scared off everyone as I maneuver the boat. No wonder the picture was taken shakily too…

But we arrived back the marine port safely, no less, as Gan-chan took over from me.

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Where we met some pals of Uncle Sachio and Gan-chan’s who work at the marina! The captain, I think, presented my brothers and I with Tokyowan Marina hats which we have on our heads in the picture.

To summarize, the boat trip was amazing. To be able to see Tokyo’s landmark buildings, not only the famous ones but also the localized architecture as we trail through quieter spots, both during daytime and night time, and at different speeds of slow and fast… was just… sigh. Good sigh.

It’s all the more memorable as it’s not something where you can pay to get.

My youngest brother, Shaun, in his instagram captioned his photo: “Got to see Tokyo City from a whole different perspective. A boat ride I will bring to my grave. Thank you Gan-chan and Uncle Sachio!” — Clearly, he is more dramatic in his words than mine, hehe.

If you’re reading this post, would like to give a huge thank you (once again) shout-out to Uncle Sachio (for introducing Gan-chan) and Gan-chan for the kick-ass marine boat ride. My brothers and I truly had a whale of a time! 🙂

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