Tokyo: Day 3

For my second full day here in Tokyo, I met up with my friend Noriko and we went to have a look around Odaiba, an artificial island with lots of interesting looking buildings. We arranged to meet at 1pm, so I set my alarm for 11am to give me plenty of time to wake up and get ready. I was woken at 1:05pm by Noriko, I’d slept in – panic! Luckily she wasn’t calling to ask where I was but to let me know that her train was delayed so we agreed to meet at 2 o’clock instead.

We took a train which was very similar to the Docklands Light Railway as it made its way around the tall buildings by Tokyo Bay. At one point, as you can see from this photo, it looped around on itself over the water before going across on Rainbow Bridge:

When we got out of the train station, we weren’t sure where to go so ended up following some tourists, and came across a beach which had been created in the bay, where people were playing volleyball, playing in the water and riding on jet-skis. We continued walking and discovered this smaller version of the Statue of Liberty:

We then walked to the Fuji TV building, a surprisingly busy building full of people wanting to visit the observational deck or visit the attractions inside relating to their favourite shows. It’s a striking building, particularly with the large ball sitting on top:

We walked across the road to the Decks shopping mall, where there was Sega Joyopolis, what we thought would be a games arcade but seemed to be more like an indoor theme park and also Muscle Beach, which had physical games based on a popular TV show (think Takeshi’s Castle, but serious). Being a bit tired after all that walking in the heat outdoors, we instead bought some ice cream cones, which then very quickly melted all over us.

We continued to explore the island, finding Venus Fort, a shopping mall which from the outside looked like a very ordinary, boxy grey warehouse, but inside looked like this:

Walking inside the mall, with it’s fake Italian streets, we came across a press conference to launch a fashion range or something. I took my camera out but was quickly warned off by security guards. Next door was a Toyota museum, full of examples of their cars and prototypes they were building for the future, including this robot, a one-person car which looked similar to the chairs in Wall-E, and a walking version which looked similar to the exosuits in Aliens or Avatar. There was also an area where families were being entertained by two comical men making balloon animals, one wearing a giant balloon hat, and the other seemingly only wearing a big pair of underpants. Nearby was a concert venue with lots of excited girls (and a few less excited boyfriends) all waiting to get in to watch a local pop star.

After spending all day walking around, Noriko needed to go home and I needed to rest in my hotel room. I thought about exploring Shinjuku, the area my hotel is in, but didn’t feel up to it after a day on my feet and instead only managed to make it to the 24-hour McDonalds at the end of the street, where I was able to place my order by pointing at pictures on a menu card.

When I returned to the room, a Japanese travelogue about North Wales was on TV, which seemed to over-romanticising it a little, with the narrator even sighing when pictures of an admittedly picturesque seaside town appeared on screen, as if it was paradise itself. I then managed to find a way to watch Manchester United v Liverpool while winding down for the evening.

Time for bed now, a very early start in the morning, so I’ve set multiple alarms and ordered a wake-up call to make sure I’m ready to meet up with Noriko and Sumie in the morning for a day trip to Kamakura.

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