Japan: What Else - saturday 2006-08-12 1652 last modified 2006-08-12 1653
Categories: Daily Grind, Photography
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Aside from the food and my brief observations about the Japanese and their country; but really aside from the food. Well, no, a little more about food.

I had to try McDonald's. I guess it's less of a beacon for obesity and hallmark of the underpaid, but not much less ubiquitous in this city. I had a Shrimp Tempura McBurger and found that it was actually decent. I'm not going back, but it was worth a try. Other recognizable fast food places I won't be entering include Wendy's, KFC, and Yoshinoya. The equivalent of Qwik-E-Mart's here are even better. The ungodly rack of mysterious hot dogs expected in 7-11's? Replaced by shelves of ramen, sandwiches, and other recognizably real foods. 7-11 is now a Japanese holding, one can only hope the food and otherwise more upscale bearing crosses back over the Pacific.

Ok, enough of food. I'm staying near Tokyo Dome, home field to the Yomiuri Giants. Just about everything of interest to a tourist is around half an hour away by subway. The system here is privatized instead of municipal and subject to all the inconsistencies you would expect to see in competitive commercial systems. It's also very, very large to cover the city it serves.

I ran into the Imperial Grounds, which is a bit of a shock when you don't expect it. It's probably larger than Vatican City and completely surrounded by a wide moat. Most of it is off limits, and you can't even see the real grounds from the public facets - which are extremely well groomed.

Imperial guardhouse and major bridge

Hibya Park is just south of the Imperial home, and Ginza just to the east. Ginza is high end. I didn't stay long.

I went to Shibuya in the evening. It's shiny and still crowded at night.

Shibuya crossing

This volume of foot traffic continues for the entire minute people are given to cross the streets.

I went to Tsukiji early in the morning (see post on breakfast), then on to Akihabara afterwords. Before the Internet, Akihabara probably would have been one of the most amazing electronic markets in the world. Now I'm pretty sure I can find everything on eBay for cheaper. But it is an impressive place. I ran across a vendor selling tube amplifiers - technology from the turn of the century.

And then Roppongi Hills, a modern and upscale entertainment area. Supposedly there are clubs in the wider Roppongi area, but I didn't find them.

Rose sculpture outside Mori Tower

On to Day Four.

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