Day four in Japan started the same way most of the mornings in Japan started for me (once I made that special discovery in Shinagawa Station.)
After that, Rob, Jason and I caught the train and went in search of BIG EFFIN’ ROBOTS! We found our way to Diver City where the life size Gundam was set up.
That’s right. Life size.
This thing is huge. Check it out:
While walking away, I saw a couple with their two dogs visiting the giant model. It seems that the boyfriend/husband was a huge fan and wanted to take a photo of their two small dogs with the Gundam in the background. I couldn’t resist (being a dog person myself) and I asked if I could get a photo, too. Here it is:
I’m thinking about putting it on I Has A Hot Dog as soon as I think of a caption. 🙂
Afterwards we walked around the area for a while. The architecture in Tokyo is nothing short of breathtaking. The buildings aren’t a consistent series of skyscrapers. Instead, each building has its own personality. It’s fun to just walk around and absorb it all.
As we found our way back to the train, we realized that the parking lot we took a shortcut through had more than one purpose…
That’s right: drift racing. You can see the tire marks and, if you look closely, you can see yellow lines painted over the parking spots showing the track. With the limited amount of space in Japan, the residents really due make use of every square foot in as many ways as possible.
Sadly, I did not get to rent a car and drive like a fool while I was over there. Maybe next time.
Before heading to our next location, we stopped back at Tokyo Big Sight (right nearby) to pull some cash from the ATMs there since we knew they took American cards. I decided to pull 20,000.
20,000 yen. Less than $200 America. I took this photo of the screen to reinforce the concept that almost everything you need to get access to in Japan can be found in English.
We hopped back on the train again and started navigating the various systems to find our way to the Imperial Palace. Along the way, we took a subway that featured this sign:
As I explained earlier, Japanese subways are CROWDED. People are pushed up against each other in a tight space and, it seems, some perverts started taking advantage of this. Men would take upskirt photos of young schoolgirls and grope them in the sea of people. Since so many people are crushed together, ladies aren’t able to identify their assailants. Thus, woman only trains were created to help female travelers feel safer.
Moving along, we eventually found out way to the Imperial Palace. It is a large piece of property (read: we walked a lot) that sits smack dab in the middle of Tokyo. Once you follow a number of pathways, you finally see the main building:
I, of course, took the “me in front of it” photo:
While it wasn’t the most exciting part of our adventures in Japan, it was something I was glad I took the time to do. The grounds reminded me of that out of place vibe that Central Park creates in New York City. It’s a nice balance to the intensity of the city that surrounds it.
We confirmed where we were on a nearby map before hitting the subway. More proof of how much English was in Japan:
Yup. We were there.
Onward to Shibuya and Harajuku…