Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Japan Trip - Day 7 - Tokyo

There is an incredible amount to see in Tokyo, so even with a few days to sight see, we knew we'd only scratch the surface. However, we hoped to travel the city and get a sense of many of the different areas.

We started our first day early, heading to Ebisu, home to Yebisu Garden Place mall. Unfortunately, we quickly found out that most of the shops didn't open until 10am. (It was 8:30 or 9am at the time.)

So... change of plans. We headed instead to Odaibo and Tokyo Bay. To get there, we took a cool, driver-less monorail and had a great view. Our first stop was the crazy-looking Fuji-TV building. It looks like it was put together with pieces from an erector-set. (Hmm... I'm not sure they make erector-sets any more - probably my brother will be the only person to get that reference...)

We also saw the statue of liberty. Though I never did figure out what it was doing there.

From there we headed to Decks Tokyo Beach - a boardwalk-themed mall.

Here's one interesting shop, called "Trap!" whose motto seems to be "Sound which can't finish being held,mixing feelings, and time which can't finish being supported. Anyway, let's soend every day happily." Yes, let's.

After shopping around (I found a great dress for $10), we decided to eat lunch here. And by "we decided" I guess I mean that my Mom and Mamie gave in to my pleas to eat at the great looking sushi restaurant, though neither of them really like sushi.

The food was amazing though - I got a set course and tried octopus shashimi for the first time. (And there was udon soup for Mom and Mamie.)

The restaurant also had cool views of Tokyo Bay and the Rainbow Bridge. (Interesting side note - the bridge in my earlier picture of Nagasaki Wharf is a replica of the Tokyo Rainbow Bridge, but 1/2 it's size.)

From there we headed to Venus Fort - a mall that mimics 17th century Rome and has ceilings that change from day to night. Definitely the most surreal mall I've ever been to.

After seeing Venus Fort, we made our way back to Ebisu. We decided we'd had enough shopping for the day, so we instead headed to the Beer Museum Yebisu.

The museum was short, but interesting - particulary the various adds the beer company used from the 1920s through the present. And, best of all, it had a tasting room at the end.

Mamie, my Mom, and I shared the sampler. They were all good.

From there, we walked around the corner to the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography. Mamie decided to sit and enjoy a coffee while my Mom and I went to an exhibit of an international photography competition. It was an amazing exhibit - there were photos of current events, wars, disasters, sports, and every-day people, and the photos varied from interesting to shocking or upsetting to some that were even funny. I was wavering on whether or not to go to this museum, but after seeing this exhibit, I'd highly recommend it.

Our last stop of the day was in Roppongi Hills, another giant shopping complex. We ate dinner at a teppenyaki restaurant there. It was cool to watch them cook the food in front of us.

They didn't really do tricks and quick cutting like teppenyaki places do in the U.S., but the food was amazing, and that's what counts.

Though Roppongi Hills is a mall, we didn't do much shopping, and instead we spent most of our time seeing the Mori Art Museum, which showcases contemporary art. The current exhibition featured art that can be experienced with mulitple senses - my favorite was a room with speakers all along the walls and an old wooden table in the middle. Depending on where you touched the table, different sounds and voices would come from different speakers - really interesting.

We also saw a great night view of Tokyo from the top of the building, which was included with our Mori Art Museum ticket. Tokyo has a building called the "Tokyo Tower" that's modeled on the Eiffel Tower, and is all lit up at night.

Before heading back to the hotel we stopped for one of the best-tasting cream puffs I've ever had in my life (other than Mamie's home-made ones, of course) at a little French cafe. My mom and I both went back and bought a second one.

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