Kate (kate_nepveu) wrote,

Japan: Tokyo day 4

(Written Monday night, posted Tuesday morning.)

Worldcon ended today but I didn't get to any of it because I was waiting for laundry machines to open up. (Who knew that Monday morning at 9 a.m. was such a popular time to wash clothes in Yokohama?) I missed Chad's blogging panel, which I regret--the topic doesn't interest me, but I expected it to be sparsely attended and he came and helped a lot at my panel.

Instead, we did tourism after lunch.

First we went to the Shin Yokohama Raumen Museum based on secondhand recommendations. This was very peculiar.

Only the top floor is museum-y, and it has no English labels, so I'm afraid I couldn't say whether it was informative. (It wasn't very big.) The bottom two floors are a re-creation, amusement-park style, of a post-War city street containing eight raumen shops and a nostalgia candy shop. You buy a meal ticket in a vending machine outside the shop and then go in and eat.

Believe it or not, this was my first raumen-eating experience. Which was certainly better than the instant stuff, I'm sure. We went with a pretty traditional shop, the parent of which was founded in 1949, whose soup was fish broth with soy sauce. Some of the others sounded very interesting, but a bit much considering we'd already *had* lunch. For instance, the brochure assures us that "A layer of grilled lard masking [one restaurant's] soup will entice you with its thick taste." Err, grilled lard?

Chad also tried fried dough, which was more like a fried dinner roll. Oh, and the gift shop is remarkable and features pigs heavily.

Then we went to Ginza and, since it had turned into a beautiful sunny dry afternoon, went through Hama-rikyu Garden just before it closed. This was the family garden of the Tokuagawa Shoguns and is very nice--not as pretty as Koishikawa Korakuen, the stroll garden of the same era that we saw earlier, but nice. If nothing else, it had jumping fish--perfectly ordinary-looking fish, not koi or anything, about 6" long at most, that just leapt out of the water and traveled up to a couple of feet. I couldn't tell why they were doing it, but it was a lot of fun to watch.

Unfortunately at 4:40 the garden started broadcasting, at great volume, a short classical theme to remind people that it closed at 5:00. On about the twentieth repetition, Chad started composing words to go with it, which included "The fish are leaping in the pond / that means it's getting late."

Then we went to gawk at Ginza, and spent a good hour in Hakuhinkan Toy Park, a four-story store on the corner of the main street. There was much to marvel at: a whole wall of hyponotically nodding . . . dolls, I guess; plushie sting rays; radio-controlled soccer robots; Lego samurai; and lots of other amazingly odd stuff.

A walk down the expensive street, window-shopping and marveling at the buildings and signs, and then a light appetizer-ish dinner in the Ginza Lion, an impressive beer hall.

Tomorrow, we go to Nikko.

ETA: Chad's full Flickr set at http://www.flickr.com/photos/11070535@N08/sets/72157602288906101/

Tags: japan 2007, trips

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