Sunday, November 12, 2006

Japan: Ooooh! The claw...


One of my major goals while in Tokyo was to check out every big dot on the Tokyo subway map. Kind of a dumb goal I guess, because not all the big dots had interesting stuff. In any case, on this day I went to Shibuya with Gretchen. Had fun just walking around Shibuya, when... lo and behold we find a claw machine with some adorable rilakuma that Gretchen decided would be easy to win... There was one right over the hole that she figured all you had to do was push it down into the whole with the claw. Needless to say, we spent like 20 minutes and 1800 yen (about $15), but she finally won it.


On this day we had a "Mitsubishi" trip scheduled. I thought it would be a lot more interesting than it was, unfortunately. We had a tour of a Mitsubishi campus, but it wasn't any of the Mitsubishi fields I was really interested in. The introduction presentation and tour also used a bunch of words I didn't really know, so I didn't understand most of what was being said. We did get some free stuff though, and got to wear hard hats... We also got to see some huge wind turbines, which was pretty neat.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Japan: Emo Town?


Let's see... This day we had class at the Youth Center instead of at TiTech. This was nice because it let us spend more of the day outside of class rather than getting to/from class. Of course the study rooms there are tiny, so you take what you get. Seemed like an ok day this day, so we decided to walk to 原宿 (Harajuku) from the Youth Center. The path there was nice too, because it went through Yoyogi park.

So what's Harajuku? According to Wikipedia, Harajuku became famous in the 1980s due to the large numbers of street performers and wildly dressed teens who gathered there on Sundays when Omotesando was closed to traffic. When you think of Japan and crazy fashion/hair styles, you think of Harajuku. Definitely an interesting place. Right now among the fads in Japan is English, so they've got crazy Engrish everywhere. They've also got some pretty cool shirts that I took some pics of. One of them is a bootleg Totoro shirt that says "Tonari to Retoro." Also there is a pretty decent pizza/Italian restaurant there that we ate at that also has some pretty cheap drinks.

Japan: Yeah... yeah... I know... I thought I'd update more often too...


The Youth Center had some crazy architecture all over the place. Some of it really just didn't make any sense. The first picture is where we had breakfast every day and classes some days where we wouldn't go all the way to TiTech. The restaurant where we had breakfast every day wasn't bad, even if it was pretty much the same stuff every day. The good thing is that it was a buffet! So anyway, like I said before, we were kicked out of rooms to go to another room, a whole 2 days after we got into our rooms. A picture below shows Sara in, what I thought, perfectly illustrates the sheer exhaustion of moving in and out of rooms over and over again, never really getting to unpack our suitcases. The picture below that is some more crazy architecture around the center... They had these stairs that were seperated by walls, for absolutely no reason. Each different staircase had different breaks and ended at different places... Stairs would also be angled for seemingly no reason.

Anyway, people wanted to go check out Akihabara again, and being the geek I am, I didn't mind one bit. Unfortunately, we got seperated somehow and I got abandoned at the Youth Center waiting for everyone else (when they'd already left apparently). I knew where everyone was going, but Akiba is so big and always crowded, that it's hard to find people. So anyway, I went to Akiba and wandered around and of course I found everyone.. ish... We checked out a lot of the stairs and found this really awesome music store that had like 7 floors of instrument goodness. We also checked out the Shosen book tower, which was just that... a book tower. hmmm... actually, that's a good place to remember to go back to so that I can spend all the book cards I've gotten. In any case, a good day of walking, shopping, and eating.


Today was just another day we went all over Tokyo. I explained a little about Asakusa before. Below is a shot that doesn't really capture the whole essense of how crowded it is there, but I tried. I think the woman sticking her tongue out at the bottom of the picture is awesome too. And of course another Engrish sign found in Asakusa. I did end up buying some souvenirs this time, but I'm still saving most of my souvenir buying for the week or so I'll be in Tokyo before I finally head back to America.