February 6, 2011

東京: Day 6: Shinjuku, Odaiba, Pokemon Center, Shibuya, Akihabara

I've been pretty neglecting to most of Shinjuku (not counting the Ni-chome area), but with more years ahead of me I'll surely acquiring more confidence to roam all over.

As I've mentioned before, the morning streets of eastern Shinjuku are quiet. Making a trip to the western side of the area I found out why. As you can see people are running frantically from the major train station to their working facilities in those skyscrapers.

It's funny too because everybody's on the same side of the sidewalk.

With the day being so clear I decided to make a trip to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building.

One city block in western Shinjuku is about equivalent to two or three in Manhattan. There are also various platforms and tunnels you can walk through to make confuse yourself. Never walked around in circles so much in my entire life!

Finally, I arrived in front of the Tokyo Tocho (Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building). The architecture is so concrete and plain yet so elegant. Thanks Mr. Kenzo Tange!

I was afraid of leaving Japan without a chance to see the infamous Fujisan. Luckily the day was clear enough to catch a breathtaking view of the beast. I've also uploaded pictures not featured on my blog to my flickr.

The morning was going so smooth until I decided to make a long and tiring trip to the Square Enix store - only to be greeted with this. Apparently new stuff is coming in or they're doing redesigns or whatever. But this, this truly pissed me off. If I knew this would of happened (because I did check in advance) I would of been less cautious on my spending at the Ghibli Museum. Thank you Square Enix.

Next stop, Odaiba! The best way to get there is by the Yurikamome monorail, a driverless computer-driven system. Talk about ultimate technology! The ride is smooth and very beautiful.

Palette Town is so damn huge it's not even funny. I hardly covered the surface but I made sure to cover a substantial part of this complex.

Palette Town houses many things, such as the Daikanransha Ferris Wheel, the Toyota City Showcase (a car-based theme park of Toyota cars) and the VenusFort shopping mall.

It's way bigger than what you think.
The outside of the VenusFort shopping arcade looks like arranged metal scraps but the inside is beyond amazing.

Yes, that's Starbucks. Yes, those are clouds illustrated on the ceiling.
Yes, that's me being a scaredy-cat on the Daikanransha.
Afterwards I travelled to the Hamamatsucho area (for the umpteenth time) in order to get inside the Pokemon Center.

Along the way I saw this - a collection of parked bicycles and motorcycles but without chains and locks. You'll never see something like this in New York City so I apologize if I seem naïve.

POM POM-POM POM! Thankfully I was allowed to take pictures inside too:

Spent cash like a Trump!
Sweet, sweet Shibuya and the crossing. Yes, it's just as how you see it depicted everywhere. The JR Shibuya station entrance and exits link directly 8 or 9 cross walkings. People run, people walk and people get to where they're going but without shoving or pushing. I walked through it multiple times (yeah, I looked insane) and was able to take some beautiful video footage - give me a couple of months and I'll have videos flying out.

A street performer acting as two little puppets
I love Hachiko!
I went into the Tower Records complex in Shibuya after stopping at Hachiko and it made me really miss the Virgin Megastores in New York City. There aren't many music suppliers in New York City anymore thanks to gentrification and materialization. There are private ones, like in Williamsburg (ruined by hipsters obviously) and lower Manhattan but not any large suppliers that I know of. Shibuya's Tower Records dedicates each floor to a specific genre (about eight floors worth of music). It's overwhelming but if you have a day to spare go very early.

Yes, Akihabara again. After all the arcade playing I went to Yodobashi Camera and had a blast there too. I was going to go to one of those maid-cafes afterwards but I decided to spend mostly everything on IIDX.

6000 yen well spent!
The last picture, in Shinjuku.
Tokyo is a beautiful place. My eyes are wide and open to the rest of the world thanks to this trip. When you're stuck in New York City and comfortable you tend to become stubborn. I didn't want to return home. Wanting to come back to city for all its goods and glories wasn't enough. As a kid I would always get tired by the fifth day of a seven day trip and want to go back home, for the lights and all that jazz. I can't leave this post on a sour note because I had an amazing time - a phenomenal time experiencing a different culture, meeting new people and strangers.

Japanese people are kind, interesting and most of all sexy./storage

February 1, 2011

東京: Day 5, Ginza

This was the (second) most disappointing part of my trip because I woke up terribly late. There's nothing wrong with Ginza - in fact it reminded me so much of 5th Ave (the New York City shopping district for those who don't know) that I was purposely pinpointing what made 5th Ave better... and the only thing that makes 5th Ave better place is that the streets are bigger, way bigger. But this is Japan - if it doesn't need to be big it shouldn't.