Tokyo and Fuji – 2013
We started our journey to Odaiba by trying to see if we could find the Honda walking robot (ASIMO). We did manage to find the Honda building, but the showings were only twice a day at specific times, and neither were really going to work for us that day. So, JB took a picture of a weird face and we moved on.
Odaiba is in the southern part of Tokyo – kind of the waterfront beyond the waterfront. It is a large man-made island filled with huge retail spaces (read: malls) and waterfront parks amongst businesses such as the Fuji TV building:
On the last leg to Odaiba (you ride another train/monorail type contraption to get there – the Yurikamome), you will notice that the whole area seems like an architect’s competition. Almost no buildings are box-shaped, they all have some kind of architectural twist to make them unique and photo-worthy.
There is a definite surf and sea theme going on in Odaiba, with places named aqua city and diver city. We hung out for a while in the mall areas (which have many beach-themed stores), took pictures of the tiny statue of liberty, and grabbed a Japanese Subway sandwich (teriyaki), before finding a cool little surf bar to grab a drink with a view of the water. We were greeted by the cute little birds while we sipped our highballs.
Oh, and also, I got JB and Brian to pose for their boy band album cover.
What could be sadder than a giant white tear?
I have no idea who these guys are, but it seems cool to be seen with them.
After a little shopping at the H&M to get some cheap digs to wear to the Park Hyatt that evening, we decided to go for a ride on the big wheel.
The entrance is inside palette town and… wait, is that a Hooters?
After a momentary distraction, and a walk through a gigantic Toyota showroom (Mega Web), we jumped on the big wheel. Most of the pods looked like this one, but we opted to wait for a fully clear one, so we could look through the floor as well.
And then we took some pictures of Odaiba and the great architecture. This was only a fraction of it.
One last picture on the way back, this one is of the extraneous support for a small bridge up to the Yurikamome.
Then, after heading home for a short rest, I dressed up in my new H&M gear and we headed back up to the Park Hyatt 52nd floor. By now, we were pros at making it past the many levels of intimidation, and scoffed their at their measly $22 cover charge.
I’ll match your cover charge and raise you two $19 martinis. And they were worth every penny. Just after we arrived we saw a young Japanese girl who looked to be trying to finish her second one of these. She stood up to take a picture out the window, staggered, and dropped her napkin on the floor without noticing. She took another couple sips of her second martini, and then her mother (?) helped her make her exit.
From the 52nd floor you can really get an idea of how large Tokyo is – it is pretty much the largest city in the world by almost every ranking. All you can see are buildings and lights in the horizon, and looking at it, you know that only represents a fraction of the space, since so much of Tokyo exists underground. The pictures don’t do it justice.
And on top of the beautiful view, there was an amazing band. We ended up talking to both the singer later (who was from London), and the piano player (who was from New York, but had been in Tokyo for 18 years). Everyone in the band was incredibly talented and they were a joy to watch.