Sunday, November 21, 2004

Many meetings

Saturday was day two of Tokyo Sightseeing for me. I got to Shinjuku station (and actually found the West exit) to meet Hanson at about 9.30am. Our first stop for the day was actually my university. As you might remember, I have a break for the next couple of days because of this thing called 'Mita-Sai' (Mita Festival) - and all the stalls and performances all occur IN the university.

When we got there, i couldn't recognise the place. It looks so different with hundreds of stalls and people running around everywhere. Most of the stalls were selling various kinds of food - ranging from takoyaki (cooked octopus balls) to chocolate bananas to waffles. Actually speaking of waffles, there was a funny club which seemed to consist of only girls wearing black t-shirts with "Heartful Waffles" written in bright pink on the front and back. I don't think i managed to get a photo of them unfortunately :(

Enthusiasm for cash? Some of the antics the clubs/stalls got up to at Mita Sai to encourage people to buy things

Hanson and his mum didn't seem to find the festival terribly interesting, but for all the effort everyone had put in i thought i'd try at least one or two things. After sitting down to have some okonomiyaki (japanese pancake thing), i ran into Hiro who was actually helping sell this Japanese dessert/sweet called 'mochi'. I bought a pack of that to try too.

We caught a taxi to Tokyo tower which only took about 5 minutes. It's much closer to my university than i realised. It was a nice view from up there - but Tokyo's skyline is really not all that inspiring i suppose. It kind of just stretches on and on and on...

The view from Tokyo Tower. Beautiful day too.

I took photos from every side up there (i think) but i won't bore you by posting them up here because honestly, they all sort of look the same~ :) After walking around the place a couple of times, i found this interesting sign:

But it's a pretty neat idea

And look who I ran into at Tokyo Tower!~

Yep, that's Mui! How's that for chance? While Hanson's mother was wondering around the tower, she ran into a family friend from Melbourne who happened to be doing some sightseeing in Tokyo. Then two minutes later, from around the corner comes their daughter, Monique. I'm not sure who was more shocked when we realised, Mui, her mum, or me.

Turns out her dad's got some work to do for a few days in a place down near Mt Fuji, and Mui and mum came along for a short holiday. Seeing as they didn't have any plans for the day, they came along with us to eat lunch and have a look around Tokyo.

We had lunch in some place near Shimbashi station which served some tasty lunch sets ranging from sashimi rice sets to tempura. Somehow one of the waiters could sort of speak cantonese too! We went to Odaiba (a new-ish area around Tokyo bay) next to have a wonder around. Of course we ended up inside a shopping mall for at least half the time, but there was lots to do even in there. I found another Sony showroom while the rest of them were buying snoopy products from 'Snoopy World' - and they had Aibo on display again. Only this time, it was like a whole display room for Aibo. And there were sony reps there to explain everything (one of them even spoke English pretty well!).

Speaking of dogs, the other thing that you notice about Odaiba is there seem to be a lot of people taking theirs for walks there. The vast majority of them are small tiny toy dogs, and a lot of them have jackets and other clothes on too hehe. But it was nice to see so many of them wondering around the place (or even just being carried around the place in specially made handbags).

When we finally got out of the shopping complex bit and took a stroll outside, we were greeted by a really nice cool breeze (which soon became a little bit too cold) and some great views of Tokyo from across the water. We also found this.

Japan's version

At night apparently it gets really pretty around there now, because they have all the Christmas lights up. While we were having some afternoon tea/coffee/cake the lights on Rainbow bridge did start to come on which really made it feel like the perfect tourist spot. Unfortunately, with the sun setting it also got a good deal colder too which sort of ruined that image a little.

While we were originally going to eat dinner in Odaiba, after afternoon tea it was only about 5pm so we decided to head back to central Tokyo find somewhere to eat. I took everybody to have a look at Shibuya which was as usual crammed full of people. I think it wasn't quite the scene the parents were after hehe. We had dinner in a comfortable little udon shop - although because i actually spent about 20 minutes walking around trying to find Kris and Rui, my dinner wasn't quite as comfortable in my stomach (i ate my udon and curry rice in about 5 minutes flat).

Said goodbye to people after dinner (both Hanson and Mui and parents headed off out of Tokyo this morning) and met up with Kris, Rui and Martin for some drinks. Both Mui and Hanson were going to come too, but in the end Mui decided that she wouldn't. She didn't know how to get back to her hotel so I was going to have to take her - and since the last train stops at around midnight that wouldn't leave a lot of time to do anything (would need to leave time to get to Mui's hotel from Shibuya, and then get back to Shinagawa before my line stopped running). Hanson did come along - but after drinks at the izakaya and 30 minutes of pool it was time to make for the last train. Seeing as the night was still pretty young, we decided that we'd continue but back at the dorm (instead of out in Shibuya). Hanson had to go back since he had an early start this morning.

We managed to think we were right on time for the last train home, but when we got to Shinagawa station, we found out that we weren't. Luckily, there was another line home that got us back (in a more round-about way) by about 1am though. We bought some more beer from the convenience store while we were walking back, and spent the rest of the night in Kris' room talking.

By about 6am everyone was getting tired and hungry - so after a quick trip to the convenience store to get some food, Rui and Martin headed off home and I went off to get some sleep.

Since waking up today, i have done the laundry and cleaned up my room a little bit. Now i think i better get started catching up on all my reading!


Garry said...

Man, nice pics ya posting up....
keep it up matey

Ez said...

Woah what are the chances!?

Its good to see that you're getting out and doing the usual touristy stuff.Its almost like you forgot in the first couple of months :)