Thursday, August 12, 2010

Backtracking: Aug. 1st in Yokohama

On Sunday, August 1, Yuwa and I woke up early to go to Yokohama. I was very tired that day, but still glad that we went despite the ridiculous heat. First we went to the Chinatown, which is the biggest one in Japan.

We had a really delicious lunch there.

Here’s Yuwa. :)

 After lunch, we went to the train station so we could go to Minato Mirai, a beautiful district with huge buildings. On the way to the station, we saw a traditional Japanese summer festival celebration!

The funny thing I noticed about this festival was that people were not wearing pants! One old guy, I could really see his bum.

My main goal in Yokohama was to go to the top of the Yokohama Landmark Tower, the highest observatory in Japan. (Currently the Tokyo Sky Tree, which is still being built, is taller, but there is no observatory there yet. It’s set to finish in 2012, so I’ll have to come back!)  It was located in Minato Mirai, a few stops away from Chinatown.

The view was incredible, as I thought it would be!

Isn’t it hard to believe that this is Yokohama and not Tokyo? Then again, Yokohama is Japan’s second largest city.

I saw this pool and I had to take pictures of the people there.  

There were fish tanks on the top floor with exotic fish, so I took some pictures of those.

I even saw a cruise ship. 

People were setting up tarps and blankets for the fireworks show that would be later that night. Soon the whole area got really crowded with people dressed in yukata, the summer version of a kimono.

We went to a pretty and historic red brick building, not a common sight in Japan. It was a mall, but too crowded on the inside to be much fun.

Outside, it was unbearably hot for me and I was wearing much less fabric than they were, so I don’t know how they tolerated it. The heat was actually so rough for me that I asked Yuwa if we could go back home early, and she said yes. I felt bad about that but I really wasn’t in the mood to go exploring or having adventures in such awful weather.

After we finally made it to the station, we got on our trains and then parted at Meguro so I could go to Toyocho to have dinner with my host family.

I saw this ad in the station, loved it. :)

Saying goodbye to my host family that night was really hard. We ate our last dinner together, and we watched the Koto-ku fireworks from their apartment windows. They were really beautiful!

On the way to their apartment, I took a lot of pictures of the walk I took so many times from the station to their apartment. It was a really depressing walk for me that last day.

Namiko made me higashi chu-ka, one of my favorite new foods in Japan. I will try to make it when I get back to the US. I took a picture of it because I always do that when I want to remember how it looks and tastes. :)

After dinner and fireworks, we watched funny game shows, played with Pokémon toys, and played Wii. It reminded me of all the relaxing nights we spent together while I was procrastinating from my homework. :) The comedy shows had fat Japanese men dressed in schoolgirl uniforms, my favorite!

Takumi smoked me at most of the Wii games, but I did pretty well and won some of them. Then we played games with plastic food, which was really fun. Takumi likes to memorize the food and hide while we take one piece away, and then he has to guess which one is gone. He’s really good at that, but I took the tomatoes out of the sandwich and he couldn’t figure that one out!

Here is a picture of the Pokémon towel and tarp that Okano-san gave to Takumi. He loves it and started playing with it immediately. He lined up all of the Pokémon toys he has, which is a ton. Each one is around $1 so his family has a significant investment in plastic Pokémon toys. :)

Then my host family drove me to the Toyocho station even though it was 11pm. Namiko and I hugged and cried, and I was really, really sad. So sad, in fact, that on my way back to Yuwa’s house, I missed my correct train transfer station and had to re-route myself, almost missing the last train of the night back to Oji. That would have been disastrous.

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