Small in Japan

Adventures in Far East Asia


Day 1 Part 1
Day 3 Part 1
Day 5 Part 1
Day 7 Part 1
Day 1 Part 2
Day 3 Part 2
Day 5 Part 2
Day 7 Part 2
Day 2 Part 1
Day 4 Part 1
Day 6 Part 1
Day 8 Part 1
Day 2 Part 2
Day 4 Part 2
Day 6 Part 2

Day 3 Part 1

Monorail, monorail, monorail!

The third day, we were heading out to Odaiba island. It's kind of an artificial penninsula, and the best way to get there would be the monorail called Yurikamome. But first things first. The day always begins with us collecting Sven from his hotel and then heading out to "his" supermarket. He buys algae-rice-fish and beer, we just wonder about the other products (see pic) and then we go down to the station. This particular morning, it was raining for the first time since our arrival. I took it like a man and got wet - after all, it was no rainstorm - and Sven decided to buy an umbrella (ella, ella, eh, eh) at a tiny store that looked like a warehouse. Like an abandoned warehouse. In China. Or worse. However, the umbrella was very cheap (100 Yen), and so he was protected. Oliver decided to make an idiot out of himself by using the hood of his jacket and pulling it into his face as far as could be. Only his glasses stuck out. In the light rain, he looked like a complete moron, especially when positioned next to someone without any protection at all and a man with a small, rosé-coloured umbrella. Unluckily, I didn't take a photo of him that morning; at least, Sven and I had a good laugh (without him noticing, of course).

odd stuffcheap stuff

A little stray from the original road: Did I tell you about the tininess of Japanese trucks? In fact, in this picture, this is a dump truck. But it's only the size of a van. I thought this was pretty clever, as you never drive around with a machine too big for the task. But, as a Japanese salesman told me, it's only because some of the roads are too narrow for "real" trucks to pass through. So, he destroyed my view of Japan that everything is just adequate to the task. I even started to like the small cars with the powerless engines, because they felt quite right in the middle of a city where speeding is something you just would not do. (I would, actually ;-) )

smaller is better

When we arrived at Ueno station, we had to take a walk to reach the monorail station. This, or we had to pay extra for the next ride. But we were fit, healthy and eager to see Tokyo, and so we took a walk through the flashier district of the town. We passed a great deal of high-class stores, but since it was 10 am, none of them had opened yet. And then we had the pleasure to see just another construction site. THe road workers were busily waving their lightsabers, and about 2 of the 8 people there really worked. Amazingy enough, today I know that this is typical of Tokyo, not of Japan. In other cities, there is not that much time pressure and therefore less workers.

I am your father Luke

We finally found the Yurikamome railway station and boarded the monorail. It was pretty packed, and we even had to stand on our way to Odaiba. The people on that train, especially, used their mobile phones or Sony PSPs to watch TV. In subways, they don't, I think it's a reception thing. On our way out of the city and onto the island, we could have a nice look around, although it was a rather cloudy and slightly rainy morning. We passed high-rise buildings as well as some storehouses lose to the harbor. Some buildings of Odaiba came into view, but I'll tell you about that later. First and foremost, we were headed to the Tokyo Big Sight, because Sven had to collect some stuff for the marathon from an exhibition there. The Big Sight is a convention center with rather unusual architecture. The coolest thing about it was, although looking kind of big, it is much bigger on the inside, as it stretches over some ground floors in several wings. When we first entered it and wanted to go to the Tokyo marathon exhibition, we got lost!

on the train we watch TVtrain kept a rollin all morning longarchitecture in helsinki

Sven was registered for the marathon and got some stuff, and then he wanted to spend some money on running equipment. We were bored and hungry and decided to leave the marathon expo and went beack to the entrance of Big Site. There, we remembered, was a restaurant. But on our way, we stumbled across another cool vending machine. This time, there were no drinks on offer but food. The picture gives away the product range:

make me hot

It goes like this: You insert a certain amount of money (around 3 Euros), and then the macine microwaves frozen food for you. There is a counter display at the front, telling the customers how many seconds are left until they get their meal. It really works, as we got some hot food out of it. But it's quite annoying when you're third in line, and everyone in front of you waits for 120 seconds each. But I absolutely wanted to use the machine - in fact, there were two of them next to each other - and we took our time. Oliver got some noodles, and I took seasoned chicken balls. They had the exact same taste as the ones that were on sale at McDonald's some years ago. A little disgusting, but not too much. I managed to use the chopsticks properly and was satisfied. We then took a look around until we met Sven again.

eating is good

Then, we went to the Anime fair that was held at Big Site on that day, too. Sven was quite interested, but we only knew very little about One Piece and Yu-Gi-Oh and all this stuff. We decided to split up again, and Oliver and I went thorugh quite quickly, taking some photos of the booth girls.Since I am not infected with "yellow fever," these girls had a hard time turning me on. At least I think that was their job. Here's a little run-down of the photos we took, and then we headed out to have a look at the rest of the island - more about that in part 2 of day 3.

you got yellow fever yet?