Friday, November 7, 2008

Tokyo Day 2

10/30 6:35AM Hotel Lobby (waiting for breakfast service to begin at 7AM)

Last night was a wash. Sunrise sucked as well. I may have gotten 1 decent HDR image. The good thing is, I got a lot of sleep. Today should be a very good day. I may walk around Shinjuku a bit before a bit before getting on the subway since it will be rush hour in the Shinjuku station. Trains and the subway are found in the station.

Last night I arrived as everyone was leaving work. I mentioned in my previous entry that everyone in the station was like water... this is what I wrote that morning in the lobby. It was like fast flowing water with invisible barriers keeping things flowing in various directions, branching off up or down, left or right, joining or leaving, but no stopping, just flow flow flow.

And I tried to blend into that and find my way. It was a longer walk than I expected. The train must have let me off on one side of the station and it felt like I walked all the way through the entire station to get out followed by a covered walk to the hotel.

After check-in and getting to my room I took a few night pictures and then went to bed. I'm just waiting for breakfast to begin at 7AM (it comes with the room).

I'm thinking I might try the bus back to the airport tomorrow. I'm surprised a roundtrip train ticket wasn't available for purchase. So maybe a bus ride back to the airport to see what driving and traffic is like.

9:48AM Tokyo Station

I just made my way from the hotel in Shinjuku to the Tokyo station. I haven't walked up yet to see the actual station. I got on the subway at the tail end of Rush Hour. I am 2 for 2 (yeah, smart boy!). Now to figure out where the viewing tower is.

9:55AM Still in the Tokyo station. I still haven't seen anything architecturally striking about this station yet. Nothing "Grand Central" like.

Good thing I stayed down in the lower section looking at that map. Once you walk up one short flight of stairs you are in the middle of a major crossing for people to go left, right, etc. There are entrance/exits to the left and right with more stairs down straight ahead (plus the ones I just came up).

A few groups of kids on field trips (maybe Jr. high age), not in uniforms though. Maybe a special class or they don't wear uniforms on field trips.

10:04AM Street Level

I think the old classic station is across the street being renovated. Marunouchi Station.

4 bikes in a bike rack as I emerge from the underground. None have locks (awesome).

Nice to see some Japanese who look just as unsure as I am about which direction to go.

I'm trying to see if their is an entrance to the old train station. Renovation and not demolition. The temporary walls for construction have the history of the station in pictures and words (English included).


I have no idea where I am. The corner of something and Tokyo Kokusal Forum E (a T really, not an intersection).

Thank goodness for signs. Imperial Palace Outer Garden 400m away... back on track.


The knee is holding up well. It hasn't ballooned to an unusually enormous size (yet!).

I am walking past what looks to be the nearest subway to the Imperial Gardens. (And I was wrong as the picture at Flickr shows, there is a closer subway entrance to the Gardens.) The sign I am passing says Blue I08 Mita Line Toei Subway Hibiya Station Light Green C10 Chiyoda Line Tokyo Metro Nijubashimae Station


At the Imperial Palace Entrance (closed, only open 1 day a year... I knew that.)

All turned around. The East Gardens aren't where I think East is.

1:22PM Waffles fast food. We need this in the U.S. It's not a want, it is a need.

Akiba Department store. Everything a good could want... except for women. Hardly any in the store.

1:56PM Somewhere in the Akihabara area

I have no idea of exactly where I am again. I'm not really sure where the actual Akihabara is, or what it is. Is it a shopping mall, an outdoor, or something else? Or perhaps just stores in a certain area that happen to sell electronics.


Akihabara looks to primarily be a really wide road with electronics stores on each side of the street.

2:40PM Ginza, in or near the Sony Building

I saw a sign that said "Sony Building" and pointed up. I went up and am now in a very bright stationary store that doesn't have an exit. It does have an elevator with a big sign next to it that says "Tempura".

B1F ... I was on that level. Elevator up to 1 and street level.

2:48PM Pub Cardinal

In the lobby (1st floor) of the Sony store. A sign out front says afternoon tea so I walked right in. Outside lies Ginza. It looks very nice. This is the first time I am sitting down since I left the hotel.

The first time I have had tea like this since Hong Kong in 2004. They also have things like Fish and Chips (1100 yen). The afternoon tea is 1800 yen. The waiter just put the teapot down and I could smell earl grey immediately. Excellent.

Smoking is allowed in here. I wonder if it is because it is a "pub", or if all restaurants can allow smoking.

They seem to have given me things that would be excellent to dip into coffee, like biscotti and something that looks like a biscuit but is actually harder than biscotti (not easy to do). The tea is very good.

I think I will work through the Sony Building and then wander out into Ginza to see all of the expensive stores.

This is a very nice looking room, this Cardinal Pub (an upscale pub I guess). Wood chairs with red upholstery. Mini booths with red backs (all red actually, not just the backs).

Well, not worth 1800 yen, but it was good. Nice to sit down.

4:03PM in Ginza

Katsumido Camera store. Real film cameras for sale. A Nikon F5 for 67,000 - 78,000 yen. An F4 for 48,000 yen. And a lot more. A Hasselblad 903swc for 588,000 yen! A Canon 400mm F2.8L lense for 735,000 yen!

The rest of the day had me wandering Ginza. Then on to Rippongo Hills. Nothing special to see there, just another bland upscale shopping area. Ginza has more character. Back to the hotel and meeting up with Patty. We wandered around Shinjuku trying to figure out how to get to the other side of Shinjuku Station. Eventually we made it. We were hoping to find one of those sushi on a conveyor belt restaurants where everything is priced the same and you just choose what you want to eat when something looks good as it passes you on the belt. We did not find a place like that so we ate in a small sushi place. The wasabi in my tuna roll almost popped my nose off of my head. Very strong stuff.

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