When I was wandering Tokyo streets by myself it was easy to notice things I wanted to share, and blog about them later. Now that Sarah and I are exploring Japan together I'm not thinking that way so much, because we've already shared it all. Sorry folks, nothing to see here, move along. ;-) But apparently you people are demanding to see something, so this time let's try a photo review.
Sarah wanted a picture of a cargo tricycle she spotted. This was the best I could manage, hanging my camera over a fence at an awkward angle to get below as many power lines as possible.
Engrish! OK, there's very little point even mentioning this. Hey fish, swim into this barrel for me, won't you? But one example stood out.
Apparently I neglected to mention going to dinner in Tokyo last week with people Sarah has been working with, from Fresco Logic and another company. Here's some delicious sushi we devoured together before wandering off to Shibuya for desert.
Our first hotel in Tokyo was the Four Seasons hotel at Chin-zan-so, because that's where Sarah's conference was. After the conference ended we moved across town to the Hotel Unizo in Asakusa. I gather Asakusa is best known for its Kaminari-mon gate and the temples behind it? I didn't take any pictures of the temples, apparently; the big one was undergoing construction anyway. But hey, have some gates and a pagoda. Intricately constructed, very impressive really, but I'm afraid they don't do much for me.
Emperor's palace! You know, one thing we've been missing is any sense of background. After we visited the gardens east of the Emperor's palace, I've found some web sites about the history. I suspect if I could read Japanese at all well the assorted signs around the grounds would have told me the same things and more, but alas, I could only enjoy the now of the trees and flowers and stones and occasional swans.
While walking through the east gardens we heard a bunch of shouting, and discovered that on the other side of a tall fence was a gym of some sort. We couldn't get near but, holding my camera above the fence, I took a picture. A herd of copy-cats followed. I doubt any of us got very good results.
Sarah didn't see much need for a visit to what I think she considered a poor imitation of the Eiffel Tower, but graciously came along to the anime geek's Mecca: Tokyo Tower. I was entertained to find that the Japanese name for the place really is "toukyou tawaa"—that isn't just a translation. It was getting late in the day when we got there, and the lines inside were long, so photography became quite challenging as the sun set. Sarah and I both practiced our low-light hand-held no-flash photography skills.
Check this out: quarter-second exposure, no flash, no tripod. Pretty good huh? Yes Dad, I know the horizon line isn't level, but I had to brace the camera somehow...
A view toward Tokyo Bay at twilight:
Hey look it's Sarah! Holding very still for most of a second...
There's a "look-down window". Not that interesting itself, but the number of people who were frightened of standing on the glass was amusing. Especially the mother and young daughter who bravely crossed together.
Giant Sarah, ready to rampage over Tokyo!
In preparation for our trip to Nikko we checked out the train station the day before, and caught a rush of people coming into Tokyo from outlying cities.
Please excuse my fascination with the dense urban look, but there's something about the feel of Tokyo that's intriguing. It mostly looks like any modern city (despite the famous lights of areas like Shibuya) but it has its differences.
Commercial areas are quite thoroughly decorated though—even when they aren't as dramatic as the aforementioned lights—and densely packed. If you're only looking at the first floor you're missing half the city.
Off to Nikko!
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