Rue d’Alsace Lorraine

We alighted the metro at Capitole and walked up the stairs to a street level.

Square Charles de Gaulle was basking in the late afternoon sunshine.

I needed to buy some light summery tops because the weather was too warm for all the stuffs I brought with me from UK.

Conveniently, ZARA was right in front of the square, therefore, I started my clothes hunting from there.

After rifling through their clothes rails, I opted for a sleeveless top with a lace detail around the neck.

Then, I spotted a pair of cute Capri sandals in the shop window on Rue d’Alsace Lorraine and decided to try them on. ‘Est-ce que vous avez taille 35?’ I asked one of very friendly vendeuses.

One thing I really loved about shopping in France was most of the shops I visited carried small sizes. For example, I hardly had found any shoe smaller than 36 in UK but in France, I witnessed many models of shoes on the shop floor did start from 35.

Mum encouraged me to take time to choose a pair since we would be moving on to Avignon the next day, therefore, I wouldn’t be able to return them if I changed my mind overnight.

Eventually, I decided on a pair of flat sandals with gold and tan leather and walked out of the shop as a one very satisfied customer.

‘Shall we buy our grocery at Monoprix?’

We bought some fruits and yoghurt at the supermarket and strolled back to the metro station.

Mum posing in front of Mairie de Toulouse…

Now, let’s find a restaurant for well-deserved beer and snack!!

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Gare de Toulouse-Matabiau

After circling around our hotel in a state of semi-panic more than a few times because all the approaches we should have taken in order to access a car park were blocked by extensive roadworks happening on Allée Jean Jaurès and Boulevard Bonrepos.

Eventually, we decided to park at a multi-story car park next to Gare de Toulouse Matabiau.

Must take a picture so I won’t forget where our car is.

The mainline station was undergoing a major facelift…

After checking in at the hotel, we headed back to the station. ‘Mum, why don’t we try the metro?’ We needed to do some shopping and there weren’t many shops around our hotel.

There were two policemen in the station concourse when we walked in. So I asked one of them if he could point us towards the metro entrance. He told us to use the stairs further up and to follow the sign. I thanked him and we headed to the stairs.

Which ticketing machines are for the metro???

I can’t remember which one was the correct one but eventually I managed to buy two sets of the returns for us.

Down the escalator…

And on the platform…

We used the line A from Marengo-SNCF to Capitole.

Our little adventure in Toulouse commences!

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Tokyo Metro

Oops, one of the Olympic rings failed to open properly, didn’t it?! The malfunctioned ring looked like a trademark of BP. I sincerely hope no one will be sent to Siberia because of this hiccup…

Our Shinkansen drew into the platform around 2pm. The afternoon sun was pouring over the busy platform and the scenery was a world away from sub-zero Nagano where we embarked merely 2 hours ago. Tokyo Station, being reputed as the busiest station in Japan – in terms of number of trains per day (over 3,000), the inside of the huge station was as busy as a bee-hive. Pedestrians and passengers were flooding into the inter-connecting concourses from all directions, resembling multiple whirlpools, constantly swaying & merging. After negotiating a few ramps and steps, mum & I managed to surface from the subterranean maze eventually, and took a cab to our hotel. Once storing our luggage at the hotel, we headed to Jinbōchō (神保町) by metro.

A row of barrier was installed along both edges of the platform…

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The barriers were there to stop drunken salary-men from falling onto the track and also to work as a visual deterrent to suicide attempts – sadly, suicide in Japan had been a significant national social-issue. As the recession worsened during the 1990’s and the number of redundancy sky-rocketed amongst the Japanese company workers, the rate of suicide increased sharply. And unfortunately, railroad tracks had been one of the hotspots for suicide…
I watched on the Japanese TV once how similar barriers were installed at Daikanyama Station. Once the station is closed after midnight, a group of installers were gathered on the platform. Then, a not-in-service train drew into the platform, delivering the barrier parts. The awaiting workers pulled out the parts from each carriage and started assembling them like a piece of IKEA furniture. Half of the installers were electricians, so they wired the barriers as their colleagues in charge of erecting the barriers bolting them to the platform. The procedure was done in typical Japanese efficiency, and in less than half an hour, all the barriers were in place and fully operational from next morning. Then, the discarded packaging was loaded onto the awaiting train and taken away, leaving the platform spotless.

Inside of the metro car…

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When Hubbie saw a Nakazuri (中吊り) – an advert hung from the ceiling, for the first time, he thought it was a nightmare for graphic designers. Especially, the kind for Japanese weekly magazines was, according to him, the worst of all. Provocative and dubious headlines were screaming & jockeying for every available paper space, disregarding any aesthetic concern. He grimaced every time we encountered one of those in the metro.
At least for “Gulliver” like me, those messy & ugly ads were a useful source of information since those gossipy rants would tell pretty much everything about what was going on in Japan…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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