What a trip it has been!!! Hiroshima, Kyoto, Fuji, Tokyo, Osaka, and everything in between, I could not have asked for more. Alas, all good things must come to an end. I let the girls sleep in as late as possible this morning before surrendering their room to Marriott.
We were all happy, still sore from the Fuji climb (except Mami cause she is just weird), and sad to be parting ways. Mari was going to stay a night with Mami in Fussa while I completed one final day of sightseeing. I went with them to Tokyo station where we said our final goodbyes.
Truly sad, I am not sure when I will see them again, Mami and I possibly might hang out on vacation in Hawaii next year, but that isnt confirmed yet at all. Mari MIGHT be traveling to the US and thus has promised to visit me if she is nearby, so well see. One thing is for sure, I wont be going back to Japan for pleasure for a few years.
Once I parted ways with the girls, I headed for the mecha of geekdom: Akihabara or Akiba. This center of all things anime is a place I always make a point to visit when I am in Japan. Where else could a place like ‘Gundam Café’ actually survive more then a week
And, it being the center of geekdom, a Yodobashi Camera is required
I was able to purchase a new digital photo frame to hold the pictures from this trip. I always make it a point to make one large electronics purchase when I am in Japan, since its cheaper then the States in most cases, since a lot of the electronics are literally made in Japan, not China.
Afterwards, I did some walking around Electric Town and got some pics of the various shops in the area include a Maid Café. For the unaware, a recent trend in Japanese dining is a small café that features pretty Japanese girls dressed in maid outfits serving you drinks and beverages. I guess this is to live out some mental fantasy guys have, but this is Japan, weirdness is part of the culture
As I journeyed to the Tokyo Metro station for the Hibiya line I accidentally found something really cool: an Anime figure display. Anime, being so popular in Japan, has a deep cult following and people will be meticulous in models of various mechs or characters from these animes. My favorite figurine was of the VF-25 ‘Messiah’ Custom, flown by Alto Saotome in the Macross Frontier series.
I love Macross, it has some of the best combat scenes in any anime EVER!!! And the whole three stage transformation of the VF fighters is just sick. See Macross Zero if you don’t believe me.
So after I geeked out in Akiba, I headed back to the hotel to plan for the final stage of sightseeing. Many tourists fall into the trap of visiting the Tokyo Tower to get a view of Tokyo from high up. But there is another place, and its free, that you can get a good view of Tokyo: The Tokyo Metropolitan Government building in Shinjuku. 45 stories high, the top floor is available to tourists and provides breathtaking views.
Unfortunately, there is one draw back to taking pictures here. In the day time its not a problem, but they don’t keep the interior dark so taking pictures at night is very difficult cause of the light inside the tower vs the outside. I don’t know if Tokyo Tower is better for night, I have never tried. I do know that next year, the point will be moot with the completion of the Tokyo Sky Tree. It’s a new tower, that is replacing Tokyo Tower as the main transmission line for city communications. The reason: the buildings in the city haven’t gotten so tall they affect the signals and communications ability within the city.
So, I learned last year about Odaiba. This is the portion of Tokyo that is comprised of recovered land, or land that was created in Tokyo bay to meet the ever expanding real estate needs of Tokyo. This year I learned that not only is the place cool as hell still, but Tokyo has made it easy for us guys to know where to take a girl on a date. This place is absolutely perfect and seems designed for it, honestly, I felt out of place being by myself surrounded by couples. But how can I complain, I just spent the last week hanging out with two pretty Japanese girls in Mami and Mari
But, the biggest reason I go to Odaiba is the scenery, it gives you some perfectly unobstructed views from Tokyo Bay of the coast around Minato-ku and the Rainbow Bridge. It also shows off United States of Odaiba, which is a running joke among the Japanese. I still say unless you make the place totally bankrupt and full of itself, it doesn’t represent the US well enough.
This concluded the sightseeing that I wanted to accomplish and so I returned to the hotel ready to head back to America and return to life. I feel kind of sad to be leaving, I really love it here, but I suppose you are not supposed to want to leave a vacation, if it’s a good one, and this one was beyond good.
I don’t know when I will return to Tokyo, but I know that I will in the future. There is just too much I love about the city to never come back. I really want to see Mami and Mari again and the view from the Sky Tree is going to be awesome. Also, while my camera was more then adequate for my picture taking needs, it is clear that I need more lenses, more equipment, and a better understanding if I want to capture the pictures I want to capture. These are all good, but they just don’t capture what the eye see’s; perhaps that impossible but I want to get as close as I can.