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A cold day in Tokyo

Some photos have been uploaded. Click on the photo on the left to see the photos.

My plan to spend the day touring museums actually worked out rather well. When I woke up , it was probably about 9:30. I checked my email, grabbed my things, and then left. I saw that it was raining, but as I walked further, it was clear that snow was falling. It was pretty cold.

Today I planned to go the Tokyo National Museum, and then maybe the Leica Gallery. I used the subway to get to Ueno, and then walked. It took a few minutes, but I found the museum, and bought a ticket. I also bought a ticket to the special exhibit, FUKUZAWA Yukichi: Living the Future. I thought it would be a cool exhibit with lots of science or something. I am an idiot though, and I’d be disappointed later. But lets not get too far ahead.

I went inside and the staff asked me to check my tripod. Otherwise, I was free to carry all of my other camera gear with me. Today’s cameras have insanely high ISO ratings, and image stabilization, so actually, tripods are almost uneeded. I’ve handheld shots of over a second and got good results. Anyway, I wasn’t really wanting the tripod except for self portraits.

Photography was mostly allowed except for a few items here and there. Very nice. I think I got some good photos. There was a definite art theme to most of the exhibits, but there was some good stuff. I enjoyed it, and since it was now snowing quite a bit, I thought it was making the best out of a day.

I also had few experiences with Japanese vending machines and other technology. Canned coffee and canned soup comes out hot! Incredible. The toilets had some sort of control panel that electronically flushed the toilet. I’m not sure exactly what all it did, since afterall, many toilets have sensors that automatically flushed the toilet. But this one had other buttons, but all in Japanese. Oh well. The sink had a faucet, and a soap dispenser built into it. No soap spills! Even cooler was the built in blow dryer. This sink probably dia a lot to keep mess down, since one would never need to drip water or soap anywhere else.

 

The special exhibit was a waste of money for me. It was small, and worse, I hadn’t a clue who this guy was. Turns out, he was the founder of Tokyo University. Not really a scientist, just a man who thought ahead of his time.

Afterwards, I went around the grounds with my tripod taking several self portraits. It was pretty but cold, and my cameras were quite wet. I was again slinging two cameras, one with my 35mm lens and the other with my 10-20. Since my backpack makes retrieving lenses or other accessories very difficult, I find it is easier and faster to have both my cameras at the ready, and with whichever two lenses I happen to feel are the best for the situation.  I’d been using the 18-200, but I’m not all that happy with it. Its good for many things, but I find not sharp enough for my tastes. The 35mm f2 was just fine.

I heard a what sounded like a speech so headed over to that, which I believe was in Ueno park. I’ve heard there are homeless people in the park, and there were what appeared to be a lot of homeless listening to some guy. They were almost in rank it seemed.

I was going to head over to the Leica Gallery, but blundered into the Tokyo National Museum of Science and Nature. It was cold and wet, and here was something else to see, so I went inside. Most of the cool stuff was not in what appeared to be the main building, but rather, it was in a side building. They had lots of stuffed animals as well as other science things. It was all and all pretty cool. Lots of interactive demos, but most of it was in Japanese. The volunteer staff was extremely helpful though.

At this museum, I checked my backpack, and wished I’d done it in the other museum. The lockers are free and you can go back to open them up as much as you’d like. They are very big and roomy some of them too. I might just leave the backpack behind in the future as its so heavy.

I was really hungry so I went to the cafeteria and for about a dollar got some Honey Bun thing. It was a bit dry thought so I made a beeline for the sweet nectar of the vending machines. I spotted what looked to be a can of soup, and made by the Coca Cola company. Any other brand, and I’d assume soup, but Coca Cola? It was soup, and it was hot.

After that, I went back to Asakusa, but went up the wrong exit. I did see a stand up noodle bar so I just hit that. It was a fusion of high tech vending machine style and low tech cook behind the counter. You put your money in the machine, and punched the button for the food you wanted. The cook cooked it and served it. You got your own water from a water machine, and even more or less wiped up your counter by yourself. So one guy could run the whole place. The only problem was, the machine had no English, and there weren’t that many pictures. I saw one picture for 360YEN that looked ok, so I pushed one of the 360YEN buttons and in less than a minute, I had a bowl of noodles in front of me. Of course, everyone’s slurping up their noodles, so I slurped mine too. Yum yum. The guy next to me commented that I had good chopstick skills. I of course spent the year in China, and spent months before that using chopsticks in my apartment. Of course I was good with my chopsticks.

I walked back after that, and put up the photos I took over the last few days. If you want to see these photos, go here.

So tomorrow, I’ll be going to Kyoto. In fact, I’ve got a plan for the next few days.

Saturday and Sunday

Use metro to get to Tokyo Station and then take the 6:23AM Shinkansen to Kyoto. It will arrive at 9:14AM After that, I’ll spend two days in Kyoto. Or I can stay longer if I really want to.

Monday

Take the Shinkansen to Nagoya, and then check out their big theme park with some really cool rides. Afterwards, take a “regular” train to Hiroshima. I’m hoping to grab an overnight sleeper train or something and save on a room. 

Tuesday and Wednesday

Tour Hiroshima before probably heading towards Nagasaki on Thursday.

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One Response to “A cold day in Tokyo”

  1. Chenxi says:

    Hey,thanks for showing Japan,photos are amazing! The constipated Statue of Warrior makes me laugh so loud in the office,LOL…