Another email to folks in the USA:
Sent: Thursday, May 30, 2013 3:54 PM
Subject: Pictures - Tokyo May 30th
Today is Friday, May 31st in Tokyo. We had a very full day yesterday. I’ve attached some pictures:
- Airport Bus info card: Mike loved the little T-cat. There are characters like him on many signs in Tokyo. I have been resisting the urge to take pictures of all of them!
- Shrine near our hotel: We started out small yesterday morning to help us get our bearings. So, we walked to the Buddhist shrine across the street from our hotel.
It was very cool - I have many more pictures to post to the web site after we get home. One thing we really liked were the gutters. Yeah, the things that drain rain from the roof.
In some cases, they used chains hanging from the roof that water would run down and drip into a large stone container. There was another chain-link sort of construction that
was also interesting.
- After our visit to the shrine, we headed down to the subway station to find an ATM. That was where I found the escalator of doom. As I went to step off,
my foot slipped on the wet metal of the landing. I had never done a split before - not very comfortable. My right leg was quite sore, knee scraped up, and the
worst part-.my little camera was dead. We did find the ATM and went back to the hotel to re-plan.
- After doing some checking online and getting a subway map from the concierge, it was off to Tokyo’s "Electronics District". What a scene that is. If you had
an image of Tokyo being all tall buildings and large signs with anime everywhere, you’re thinking of the electronics district. We have pictures on our cell phones that
I haven’t pulled off yet. We bought a Sony camera at the duty free shop. Buying a camera is different in Japan. After we picked it out, the cashier opened the box,
made sure it was the camera we wanted, plugged in a fully charged battery to show us it worked and walked us through the menus. They also gave us a free carrying case.
Then, she carefully stapled all the needed customs paperwork to Mike’s passport, cleaned any fingerprints from the demo off the screen, and neatly reboxed it all.
We ate lunch in the Electronics district and then headed back to the hotel.
- We came back to the hotel to have some water & get the memory card for the camera (Mike had an extra one), then were off to the Imperial Palace.
We had just enough time to see the East Gardens - they stop letting people in at 4 pm and close at 5 pm. We got there about 3:30. I have over 100 pictures from
the gardens, plus experimental movie and 3D picture files with the new camera. I attached some highlights. You can probably tell that with the high humidity,
I was slowly becoming medusa - until I brushed it out for dinner, and then I was all fluff. The gardens were lovely. The first thing we saw was a large expanse of
lawn with trained trees. (I have other pictures of trees in training to show their techniques for making the grow in wild directions.) The Imperial Palace itself
was closed to the public, but I got a few pictures of the outside. The other pictures are from the Iris garden. Xeric gardening is the exact opposite of what we
found in the East Gardens - there was water everywhere.
- We were both feeling wiped out after a long busy day. We had a nice dinner at one of the hotel’s restaurants. I attached 2 pictures I took of the night
view from our room. We’re on the 27th floor in the "government district".
We have a quieter day planned today. We’re going to the shopping district and a department store that was founded in the 1670’s. After that, we’re
coming back to the hotel so Mike can work on his presentation for the conference.
Saturday is our big train trip to Kyoto! Mike has a class in Kyoto Sunday morning, and then we are going to the conference reception Sunday afternoon.
And here's the email that gives a preview of the coming days!
Sent: Sunday, June 02, 2013 2:20 AM
Subject: Pictures - Tokyo May 31st, Bullet Train June 1st
The saga continues. We are now settled in Kyoto and will be here through Friday afternoon.
Mike and his colleagues from Mines are attending a class from 9-5 at Kyoto University - it’s part of this week’s conference activities. We will
be heading to a reception for the conference this evening. (and I will be joining him for that - Mike ordered a guest pass for me, which means I
get to go to all of the parties and non-work activities surrounding the conference.)
I have attached 2 cell phone pics from our trip to the Tokyo Electronics district on the 30th. I think they kind of give a sense of it all.
Mike has more pictures on his phone - - I’ll add those to the eventual web site update.
On the 31st, we spent the morning at the hotel while Mike worked on some materials for this week’s conference. We ventured out just before
lunch. Our first stop was the Mitsukoshi Department Store. It is co-located with the Mitsukoshi train station in Tokyo. On the basement floor,
level with the train station, is a huge market. Pictures wouldn’t do it justice - I took video with my new camera so you can get a better sense
of the scale of it. That video is too large to email, so you’ll have to wait for that promised web update. (shoot, I guess I am really signing
myself up for a timely web update after we get back!)
We headed to the street level to figure out what to do for lunch, since we didn’t see anything in the market that hit the spot. Across the street
from the department store was a multi-story building filled with restaurants. One of them was named Torisen. The electronic sign on the street said the following:
"A yakitori specialty store established 85 years ago. We use pedigreed "Nambu Kashiwa" chicken, a breed coming from the lwate "Jidori" breed, which was
designated as a national natural treasure. We offer delectable chicken with firm meat and flavor, and just the right amount of fat."
We were sold on the national treasure idea, as well as ordering from a Japanese-only menu that we knew only contained chicken dishes
(no English translations, no English character versions of the Japanese words). ;>) The restaurant was very cool - I attached a picture
of the entrance way. We both had the Thai-style chicken dish (top left on the menu), and it was delicious!
After lunch, we headed back to the department store. There were lion statues outside (picture attached) and an amazing piece of art in the center
of it. (2 pictures attached, one of which includes Mike so you get a true sense of scale) The department store was cool - it truly had departments.
Each brand had its own little section with a cash register and clerk. For example, the Men’s clothing section had multiple separate little areas within
it, such as one exclusively for Armani products. (It was a really high end department store.)
After that, we headed to the shopping district for a couple of hours. It was so crowded! But we did manage to find the Snoopy Town store,
which was neat. More stuff for the web site.
On Saturday, we took the bullet train from Tokyo to Kyoto. Along the way, we passed Mt. Fuji - 2 pictures attached. 150 mph is too fast
for taking too many pictures, but we do have some video. It looks like it’s on fast forward, but I swear it’s real time. The train was
awesome - very comfortable, nice restrooms, and they had snacks and drinks for sale. The trip took 2 hours and 20 min.
Next update will be from when we got to Kyoto yesterday! Bye for now!
Here are the pictures of the restaurant:
oops - I had this idea I would be able to turn movies over if I shot them in a different orientation
Cool art installation outside the restaurant. AVI file, 4.8 Mb
Pictures and video from the department store:
MOVIE!Market in the basement of the department store. AVI file, 24.3 Mb
And on to the shopping district to find Snoopy Town!
This truck was blaring music and advertisements:
MOVIE!Shopping District. AVI file, 3.5 Mb
Back at the hotel, enjoying the view and the sunset before we head to Kyoto.
Return to the 2013 Japan Overview Page
Last updated 03Dec2014