All Zoochatters' roads seem to lead to Japan this year. Well mine and Devilfish's roads, anyway. I arrived in Tokyo last week, and had intended to start my zoo-going with a visit to where it all began for Japanese zoos - at Ueno. But that proved to be something of a false dawn (false rising sun?). I hopped off the train at Ueno Park, looking to buy a Grutt Pass. This is one of those attraction combination tickets that many cities have, but I especially recommend it to zoo fans coming to Tokyo. The pass only costs ¥2000 (about $A26 for me) and it includes the price of admission to Ueno, Tama and Tokyo Sea Life Park. They have a combined price of ¥1900, but there's dozens of museums also included, either as full admission or discounts. I have used mine at the Tokyo-Edo Museum and the National Museum and have come out ahead, even though I won't use the majority of the things it includes. Before any of that, though, I had to get my hands on a Grutt Pass, which was not exactly easy. Ueno Park is a large public space that, along with the sporting fields and gardens usually associated with parks also houses the Zoo and a series of museums, all of them participating in the Grutt Pass. So I went to Ueno Park information counter to ask how to buy one. The man heard the word 'Grutt', said 'ah!', indicated that I should wait and fetched his colleague. She then proceeded to hand me a sheet of paper saying that they didn't have enough English to help me with the Grutt Pass. Fair enough, then. But if you're going to the trouble of translating a thing into English saying you can't help with the Grutt Pass, wouldn't it make sense to also translate and include instructions on where to get a Grutt Pass? So I toddled off to the zoo, theorising that a place that accepted Grutt Passes would either also sell them, or be able to tell me where I could buy one. Once there, I fronted up to the ticket counter and said the magic word 'Grutt'. Ah! the woman said, and produced a pass. But things broke down when I produced my MasterCard. 'Cash only', she instructed me. I was about ¥800 yen short for that. Upon further discussion, we determined that the nearest ATM was all the way back at Ueno train station. It was raining and I wanted my Grutt Pass and I was getting just a teensy bit frustrated but I went back to the station, looking for the ATM. I found it easily enough, but it came with a sign saying it only accepted Japanese cards. Sigh. The nearest ATM I knew of that accepted my card was back at Tokyo Station. I wasn't going to board a train there, withdraw cash and train back so I could finally get my benighted Grutt Pass. So I decided to try the other museums. The Museum of Nature and Science said it, too, was cash only. Damnit. The Museum of Western Art, however, had a little MasterCard sign right next to the cash register. Priceless! I asked for the Grutt Pass. 'Ah!' the woman said and produced the hallowed booklet. I produced my card. 'Sorry, no credit'. I pointed at the MasterCard sign, but she said the Grutt Pass was cash only. For everything else there's MasterCard. I gave up and abandoned Ueno Park, planning to come back tomorrow once I'd gotten some cash. The worst part? The next day I went to the Tokyo National Museum first, as I was hoping to let the rain clear before going to the Zoo. I had cash at the ready but they accepted my card without any difficulty at all.