I promise this'll be the last post about that one trip to Tokyo. Here we are on the train around 8:30 in the morning - and no, I don't know what's up with Josh's expression in the second one.
We left the house at 8:15 and walked to Keikyu-Otsu station for a 90 minute trip to Tokyo. The trains are really easy to manage, especially if you map out the route and timing beforehand, which I had done. We also have a map in English, just in case.
The trip was easy, thanks to open seats and iPods. Next up was Tokyo Tower, a ten minute walk from the Metro station. The tower was designed to emulate the Eiffel Tower, although 1950s steel technology made it possible at less than half the weight of the Eiffel. It's very impressive in person, painted orange and white according to aviation laws.
Josh's expression there isn't too hard to decipher. Turns out tourism + empty, pre-buffet tummy = antagonism.
But we recovered and bought tickets to the first observatory, which is only about halfway up. I'd like to go again after dark to see Tokyo lit up - the trains are so efficient that it's easy to forget just how BIG it is. Here are a few shots from the observatory windows.
See what I mean? Wow. And the tower was pretty busy for a Sunday morning, but not so busy that we couldn't take feet pictures at the "lookdown window."
Look out below!
There's a shopping complex called "Foot Town" in the lower part of the tower - that's the foot of the tower, btw. We explored for a bit, and found some really cute gifts for a certain friend in D.C. who designed my business card, and a couple trinkets for ourselves. Like flat squid!Click to embiggen.
I allllllmost bought one for you, Tnua Arabrab, but I decided against it at the last minute. It is Christmas, after all. Then there were the Obama-caricature bean paste treats:and Japanese PEEPS!Also a Guinness World Records museum with a lifesize cast of the world's tallest man. Yikes - Japanese people looked even funnier next to this than I do.Remember, I'm 5'8" or so. The average Japanese woman is eight inches shorter. Oh, and by the way - Josh's mood improved as brunch hour approached.
Then there was brunch, and to see how that went, well, scroll down. Afterwards, to ward off carbohydrate guilt and motion sickness, we walked around the Harajuku neighborhood. Harajuku is famous on Sundays for teenagers coming out in costumes, Elvis impersonators, and fancy shopping. Apparently we weren't the only ones out for shopping the week before Christmas.
Yikes. We were both a little claustrophobic after that - but we did see some interesting costumes! I was too nervous to ask for a picture, so I had to take one on the sly. Our last stop of the day was the Meiji Shrine, which was nice, but WAY TOO LONG A WALK after walking all day long. Turns out it was worth it, though, just to see these little girls in ceremonial kimonos!
I have no idea what the occasion was, but I didn't care. There was a crowd around the girls, their mother, and a photographer, and the girls were definitely having the least fun of anybody, poor things. Here we are at the main shrine: and Josh posing with a HUGE taiko (drum).
It was a great day. Good food, a little exercise, and some interesting trinkets to take home. My only complaint was the train ride home. It's a crapshoot - usually, on the weekends or any time outside rush hour, you can find a seat within the first couple stops if you're quick enough. This was the exception. After a long, weary day and sore feet for me, we stood for the bulk of the trip. I love the trains here, but boy, a seat in the QE2 looks miiiighty inviting.
Bad American - I lack discipline.