Day 4: Snow in Nikko, rain in Tokyo

Trip Start Apr 08, 2010
Trip End May 06, 2010

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Flag of Japan  , Kanto,
Monday, April 12, 2010

This is not a japanese phrase, but a summary of our day! According to the plan we imagined, we were supposed to go to Nikko today, but the weather forecast was terrible : heavy rain on Nikko, becoming snow in late afternoon… We thus decided to change plans, and postpone our trip to Nikko to the end of our stay in Japan.

Instead, we headed to Tokyo again, a never-ending interesting city! Considering the weather, we decided to go for inside activities, and thus headed to Odaiba.

But first, we made a pit stop at Akihabara Station to have a hot bowl of soba ! This is definitely a good bargain and very healthy food.

For the record, one should know that the temperature of the soup is directly connected to the distance of the restaurant from the train station: the farther, the hotter! Japanese efficiency one more time...

Let's come back to Odaiba: it is an artificial island in Tokyo bay, connected to the city center by the Rainbow Bridge, where the Maraikan Museum sits. It is a huge museum dedicated to science and technology. We spent an hour and a half there, and it is amazing how the "research and future technologies" area is up to date! Let's cite a few examples of what was exposed in this area: lab-on-a-chip, artificial photosynthesis, high yield synthesis of carbon nanotubes, quantum computers…

Unfortunately, we could not see the star of the museum : Asimo, the human size robot, which can walk and run. The demonstration was cancelled today…
Instead, we went to a special exhibition called "Ghost in the Brain" about fear. Despite the warning for anxious or heart sensitive people, we wandered in a kind of haunted house, which was a bit scary indeed!

After that, we walked back to the metro station, making a quick stop to a gigantic mall looking like "The Venitian" casino in Las Vegas: fake blue sky, fake columns, fake italian restaurants, fake fountains… but real expensive shops and so many chinese people! Surrealistic experience.

On our way back to downtown Tokyo, we stopped at Akihabara," the electric city" as it's called. A heaven for hi-fi geeks, computer nerds and electronics addicts! Let's not mention that O. could not imagine a better place to spend the rest of the day (or the rest of the trip ?!).

We could not miss the sex shops in Akihabara either! One has to be aware of the fact that japanese people do not have the same kind of taboo concerning sex as western people may have. Sex shops are thus numerous and hardly hidden from eyes' sight. The one we entered was in a 8-floor building, making it more look like a supermarket! Another weird and surprising experience in Tokyo.

We finally headed back to Tsukuba with our faithfull TX…
A. was waiting for us at home with a wonderful japanese dinner he prepared. That was a very nice way for us to conclude our first stay in Tsukuba before our journey trough Japan, starting the next day...

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