Tokyo was okay.
I managed to get to Akihabara, the electronics district. Some of the gizmos they have are unbelievable. The best I think I saw was an in car radio, CD player and navigation system that could do a 3D display of the terrain that you were driving over, and when you had stopped, or if the kids were bored, it does TV as well. All in Japanese of course, but I’d love to bring one to Australia and (a) see the terrain map for the salt lakes or around the Simpson Desert, or (b) put in Akihabara as a destination, while in Sydney and see what it suggests is the best route to get there.
Shinjuku, one of the shopping areas has a train station that services 2 million people a day. I think they were all there when I was there. And they moved very fast. Sometimes I felt like I was in either Baraka, Koyanniqatsi or Powaqqatsi (or however they are spelt). This was heightened when every time a JR train leaves a station a bit of music plays, something that Phillip Glass might have inspired. Surreal. Very surreal.
Hama Rikyu Garden was quite good. The sakura (cherry blossoms) were out. It wasn’t as well manicured as I expected the garden to be, but perhaps that was just this garden. I’ve got lots of photos of it, so you’ll have to ask me to see them, as words won’t explain what it looked like. Imagine going to the Botanical Gardens and looking though the eyes of an Eskimo. It was different, beautiful, but not the pristine image of snow covered lakes you’d be used to back home.
Where else? Well I was staying in Suidobashi, which was okay. Not much exciting stuff there. Shops, homes, basket ball courts on roof of building across from the YMCA.
Look, let me put it this way. Tokyo was Tokyo. It was the people, and the things that make it weird and wonderful. Perhaps the photos (if they turn out okay will describe it better.) As I said (I did, didn’t I) I could have spent an entire day just taking portrait shots of people. Even just staying at one place, like Shinjuku train station would have done it. But I really didn’t get to see the “sopts” of Tokyo in the end. Anyway, I’ve got lots more of Japan to see.
And I did get to see the Golden Turd, as described in the Lonely Planet book at Asakusa. And yes, it was golden, and turd shaped. And very, very large.
I think if and when I get back, I will have to stay in Tokyo for about 2 weeks and do it properly. Like Sydney, you couldn’t really do it in a day.