14 September 2008

zomg tokyo! day 7

Day 7 (12 September)
The day started early with a 930 ikebana class for me. It was a private lesson, arranged through the hotel, with a local master and a translator. Instead of trying to describe such a visual art, I will let pictures describe the class and arrangements for me when I get home. Matt walked over with me, due to my propensity to get lost and hurt, then waited for me in Takashimaya.

With only a 60% chance of rain, we risked life and limb to try our luck a second time with Shinjuku, or Sinjuku as some of the subway signs proclaimed. First things first, I needed to find a bathroom. In Tokyo, finding a bathroom is generally fairly trivial. The subway stations and stores provide plenty of surprisingly clean options. Unfortunately, in some places, there is a lack of western toilets. It was time to hike up my skirt and try out the squat toilet! Like many public toilets, it very politely played a decently loud rushing water sound when use is detected, which was followed by automatic flushing. It was not the worst thing in the world, though I might have characterized it as such if there were only bidet options for cleaning.

After all the bathroom excitement, it was straight to the Pentax Forum! In reality, I saw a sign for Pentax Forum on a building we passed en route. A bit unsure of what to do, we headed to the address given in the guide book. Shockingly, there was no longer anything having to do with Pentax there. Instead, we discovered the Canon repair shop, which had pretty much everything Canon makes on display. This included practically every lens, which customers are more than welcome to try out. Matt asked how long it would take to repair the broken LEDs on the 40D (there is a display inside the viewfinder, so you can see the aperture, ISO, etc as you change settings, without moving your head). Needless to say, our shiny new camera is going to have to be sent in for repairs when we get home.

While Matt talked to the repair people, I wandered around, looking at the various gadgets. Before we left, I wanted to get a portable hard drive with memory card slots for backing up pictures. Silly me, I thought it would exist and be easily findable in any real camera store (I'm looking at you, Bel-Air Camera). The only ones I found were unknown brands for alarmingly low prices on sketchy websites. But now, waiting patiently on an acrylic stand, was the Canon M80. It was everything I wanted, and more. Compact flash and SD card slots. Huge display. Mini-USB port for directly connecting to cameras and printers. And a slightly smaller than desired 80GB harddrive. The only problem? 50,800 yen. Yeah.... no. When they release a one with a larger drive and smaller price tag in America, it's mine.

Matt would like to actually write, instead of just telling me how to spell most of the polysyllabic words. And here he is:

So after walking in a circle to find what turned out to be the Canon shop instead of the Pentax Forum, we began our second circle to get back to the Pentax Forum. Upon arriving, Sharon walked around the gallery portion of the forum, summarily dismissed it, and ventured off to find bubble tea, whilst I put away the camera. Admittedly, the gallery was hardly impressive, with a scant two interesting photographs out of two dozen. Between that and not caring much about lens for cameras we don't own, it was quickly time to move on in our journey. Sharon ditched the amazingly bad bubble tea she had purchased, and we finished our second circle around the same block to move onward.

Next was two different observation areas, the first on the 51st floor of the Shinjuku Sumitomo Building. That amounted to a small open space and a few windows looking over an uninteresting and smoggy view of part of Tokyo. After that disappointment, we invaded building #1 of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Offices to catch a view of the city from their 48th floor. Despite the entire floor being dedicated to observation, the windows with interesting views were taken up by the restaurant up there. Not wanting to eat at some random restaurant up there just for the view (despite our growing hunger and fatigue at the time), we reconnoitered the gift shops, took some pictures of more subpar Tokyo skylines, and went back downstairs.

TICK! TOCK! So went the clock at our next destination; specifically, the 29m pendulum clock in the Shinjuku NS Building. Being the largest pendulum clock in the world, we had to go check it out. It's quite an impressive Seiko in an otherwise typical office building. After taking in some undulations of the pendulum, we ambled over to the Shinjuku Park Tower, which among other things, contains the Park Hyatt Tokyo. We dined at the Park Hyatt Delicatessen, which by any respectable set of criteria, is not a deli. This "deli" consists of display cases of food that they will warm up for you upon ordering and bring to your table. Along all the walls of the place was shelves of Park Hyatt gustatory paraphernalia and memorabilia. Additionally, in some standalone shelves they housed some of their wine selection. Considering the caliber of some of the wines I saw (i.e. decades-old French Bordeaux), I'm surprised they didn't take any precaution against accidental damage or intentional pilfering.

That concluded our trek of the western side of Shinjuku, but there were a couple places on the eastern side that we were interested in. After venturing through the gargantuan Shinjuku subway station, we popped out on to East Shinjuku. Compared to the west side, which was lots of office buildings, the east side was all hustle and bustle with shopkeepers trying to peddle their goods and big lit-up signs everywhere. Unfortunately, amongst all of this, we were unable to correlate the map that the book provided to where we were, despite finding a referenced landmark. After some time trying to figure out where to go and three attempts at getting a stuffed Gloomy Bear from an arcade, we headed back to the subway to get ourselves back to the hotel.

Upon arrival back at the hotel, I went to the 37th floor for a Japanese kiatsu massage, while Matt headed back to the room. I don't recommend that inflexible people, namely Matt, try it, as a lot of stretching is weird positions is involved. While a bit painful, it was very relaxing and my upper back hasn't hurt since.

1 comment:

dreamerj25 said...

1 - I thought you guys threw out the highly inaccurate guidebook.. and I recommend you do so.
2 - No Squat Toilet for Sharon. That's just gross. :/