Tokyo So Far

So far it's been a great trip here in Tokyo.  Although the temperature has been really hot (90+) we are having a great time.

The flight over wasn't as boring as I thought, but I had Monster Hunter 2 to play on my PSP. I really suck at video games the older I get. Once the battery died I was ready for 7 hours of boredom (14 hour flight) but then I discovered power outlets in the seats.

They had lots of free movies which was good for Kelly but also bad for us as we didn't sleep that much and when we arrived we had a crazy 2 hour bus ride around Tokyo to get to our hotel.  We slept on that trip okay.

the hotel is great, very nice and has a great breakfast.  There's all the free green tea you want to drink in the room.  Also, free internet via DSL modem which they gave me at the main desk. So we ate a bit and slept a lot.  Skype works great from here and the bandwidth is superb - better video call picture quality here

the next day we got up very early excited to wander Tokyo. First we promptly went to the rail station and accidentally bought 30 dollars worth of train tickets so we are set for traveling by rail to and from the city center for the next month.

Secondly, we are the only foreigners we see in most places, which is an interesting experience, especially on the subway or in the train where everyone is trying their best not to look at you.

On the very crowded subway yesterday I still had about a foot of space around me, which I felt sort of strange about.

The food has been amazing as we figured it would be.  I will post some pictures tomorrow of our favorite breakfast items - fish paste, grilled fish, and pickled anchovy-like fish.  Lots of fish here.

We have spent most of our time in the beautiful parks, checking out the koi ponds and the birds, stuff like that.

Yesterday we went to the Imperial Palace which was sort of ironic since it was the day of recognizing the bombing of Hiroshima.  I like to think of our trip there as some sort of ironic recognition of the day, but in all actuality we just happened to be there.

There were a few protesters out in the city, campaigning against nuclear weapons - from what I could figure out - and they were having many spirited conversations and speeches near the train stations.

After the trip to the palace, Kelly wanted to get some shoes, so I took her to the fashion district, which was crazy - it was the stereotype of Tokyo that I had in the back of my head.  People were everywhere shopping and looking very very trendy. It reminded me a lot of Times Square or 5th avenue in New York if MTV had designed it.  We went to a crazy mall called Shibuya 109, and it was out of control.

Today we are going to tour the Shinjuku region with my good friend, and then have sushi for lunch - later today it's off to the electronics district for the purchasing of useless cool gadgets. I am looking for a tiny tiny PC, or internet device of some kind.

I think this is a great city, with great food and great people, however I think it's a good idea to learn some Japanese before you come.  We've had good luck in communicating what we want with people but it would be easier if I knew a few key phrases.  But nothing is more inspiring than a trip abroad to encourage you to work on your language skills!

More later in the week as the JDA Argumentation conference starts. I hope to take some videos of some of the panels and the keynotes.