Sunday, March 16, 2008


On March 8th I packed my bags and headed out to Tokyo Narita airport to continue my trip with a fairly short flight to Seoul, South Korea. Miho was planning to join me for a few days in Korea but the logistics got a bit mixed up so I flew on to Korea on my own with plans to meet her again soon. I will be posting photos from Korea shortly, I am lagging behind on my blog posts and I'm paying the price for it, I'm writing from China where the Chinese internet controls make outside connections rather slow and interestingly I am blocked from reading my own blog but I am able to post to it, it's quite random and makes blogging a bit tough.

Japan Favorite Photos

I sorted through all the photos I took during my month in Japan and created a favorites set in Flickr, it can be found here. I posted a few of the favorites below:

Sick on the road

The day after our Mt. Fuji day trip I started to get sick and within a day or so came down with a really nasty cold. Being sick is never fun, being sick on the road is even less fun. I didn't really do much of anything for the last week of February or the first few days of March, I just laid low and tried to get healthy in Tokyo. I even delayed my departure from Japan by a week, being sick in my next destination, South Korea, a country I had never visited would have been even worse so I waited until I got better before moving on.

Mt. Fuji

Mt. Fuji is very close to Tokyo and I've always loved mountains so I've kind of fallen in love with Mt. Fuji in the time that I have been living in and visiting Japan. I climbed Mt. Fuji a year and a half ago (see and but most of the time that I was living in Tokyo the mountain was not visible. In summer it's cloudy and hazy but in winter the mountain is generally visible most days and it looks really nice with snow on it. Miho and I decided to rent a car so we could take a day trip to the Mt. Fuji five lakes region to check out the view, it was beautiful, it was also very cold. You can see the photos below and the full set here:

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Rainbow Bridge and Odaiba Island

When I was living in Japan I always wanted to walk across the Rainbow Bridge ( to Odaiba Island ( The bridge crosses a part of Tokyo bay and like the Golden Gate Bridge in my hometown you can walk across it. I finally got around to walking across the bridge when the weather became unseasonably warm for February, it was a great walk and the view was fantastic as you can see in the photos below, the full set can be found here:

The bridge as seen from the Tokyo side at the start of the walk, there is an elevator that takes you to the bridge deck:

Tokyo Tower and the city skyline as seen from the bridge:

The Bridge from the far side:

The city of Tokyo brought in lots and lots of sand to make a really nice man made beach on Odaiba Island, it's great looking, unfortunately for sa

Strangely there is a replica of the Statue of Liberty on Odaiba Island, one of the more random things in Toky:
I went up to the top of the FujiTV building into the sphere (see photo below) where you can see them film live TV, I ended up in the audience for an afternoon TV show that was being broadcast live throughout Japan, it was entertaining to watch even if my rudimentary Japanese prevented me from fully understanding what I was watching:

The view of the Tokyo skyline from the top of the FujiTV building after sundown was fantastic:

Random Japanese Stuff in Tokyo

During the time that I was living in Japan I fell in love with some of the quirky things that you find in Japan so I often go looking for them during my visits to Tokyo, here's a few that I found this time around that I really loved:

There is a statue of a peeing child on the yamanote line train platform, it's really random:

I also happened to come across a place on the top floor of the Tokyu Hands (a department store) in Ikebukuro that let's you rent cats, or more precisely rent time with cats. You pay 600 yen for an unlimited amount of time in the "cat house" which is literally three big rooms with 20-25 cats living in them. You can play with, pet and otherwise hang out with the cats for as long as you would like, it's like a cafe except it serves cats instead of coffee. Japanese apartments are very small and often have pet restrictions so you see things like this as solutions

People playing with the rental cats:

There are glassed in areas where the cats can go through cat doors and be away from people when they want a break from all the attention:

I also always laugh about the fact that I am WAY too tall for Japan, as can be seen in the photo of me on a bus below, my knees were about the same height as the head of the woman who had been sitting in front of me:

One thing I also always love to see are the vertical car garages, space is at a premium in Japan so you see a lot of garages like the one shown below. The cars are driven onto an elevator and then automatically put onto big shelves in the garage:

I also saw this sign, I took the photo from a moving train so it's a bit obscured, there are a lot of English speakers in Japan and unlike stereotypes the vast majority are pretty good, but you still do see some funny signs like the one below with reads:

"What is soul?
It's like electricity
We don't really know
what it is."

Around Tokyo Mid Feb

I'm playing catch up on the blog posts so I will group the next few together and make them shorter so I can catch up, the full set of photos for this post can be found here.

Miho and I did a number of things around Tokyo in Mid February, we watched the Tokyo Marathon which was a lot of fun. One of my favorite days in New York has always been marathon day and it was interesting to see a marathon in Japan. It also brought up an interesting possibility. For several years I have been thinking about running the New York City marathon for my 30th birthday, the only problem is that my birthday is in February and the marathon is in November, now that I've discovered that the Tokyo marathon is less than a week after my birthday I may switch my goal to the Tokyo marathon (check back in three years to see if it happens);

We also went and checked out the newly opened (re-opened in a new location) train museum, I've always been a big fan of trains so I had a lot of fun, it's a great museum:

I've always enjoyed photography and one of the things I love is night time photography so I spent some time taking photos in Shibuya:

Also here's a video of the crowds in the famous Shibuya Crossing, which is one of my favorite places in Tokyo:

I spent some time exploring the Tokyo International Forum, a really cool place and then did some more train watching because the forum is right next to Tokyo Station

Tokyo International Forum:

Tokyo Station from Above:

A Shinkansen: