Wow, it’s been a really long week this time around. Today is already the last day of living with my host family, so I thoroughly enjoyed all the time we spent together speaking in Japanese (and the dinner, as always). However, a weekly report is also in order today, so here we go!
Today Kevin and I decided to pay another visit to Odaiba. Seeing as how our last attempt to go to the Mirai-kan ended up with us spending the whole day on the beach, we decided to go for it and try again. The Mirai-kan is a science museum showcasing all the latest cutting edge technology in Japan, and a great place to imagine what the world will be like when robots take over humanity. But before worrying about the small stuff, I needed to take care of my stomach. Kevin and I decided to meet at the DiverCity Mall (remember that place?) in Odaiba to grab some quick ramen:
After a short walk, what awaited us at the Mirai-kan was indeed very high-tech: a gigantic sphere covered in smart-screens greeted us at the door, and we felt like we jumped a couple decades into the future.
After examining the many scientific advances in the past years like quantum cells and stem computing, we stumbled across perhaps the most mind-blowing discovery yet:
It seems instead of robots, the future is now post-it notes. I am ok with this.
Just kidding. I want my robots. And as expected of Japan, there were some pretty human-looking robots in attendance today. These robots looked extremely similar to humans, and I think I even walked by them a couple times without noticing!
After seeing so much technology, I felt like today I’d better balance it out with some nature. So after eating lunch, I set out on a long walk towards the south of Tokyo. Following a route littered with small parks and rivers, I was able to re-hydrate at water fountains in a bunch of pretty places:
I noticed one interesting thing about water fountains in Japan. Normally in the US, the water comes out in an arc to the side, and you can just drink it from the top of the arc. In Japan, however, it shoots straight up vertically into the air. Sometimes surprisingly high. I think during this trip I got blasted in face at least 3 times from accidentally turning the water strength up too high and bad positioning. However, each time woke me up a little more, so I wasn’t that upset.
Actually I was pretty upset, but after getting hit in the face over and over again, I finally reached Kasai Rinkai park after about 3 hours of walking.
After enjoying the nature of the park some more, my legs finally gave out and I collapsed near the beach and rested.
After staring at the sea, relaxing, pondering life’s many questions, and getting sneak-attacked by random bugs crawling towards me, I eventually decided to start heading home.
This time I took the bus.
Enjoying some nature part 2. Everybody looked pretty tired today, so we decided to visit another famous garden in Tokyo: the Hamarikyu Gardens. A nice zen garden near the very center of Tokyo, it was short subway trip away (thank god) and we strolled through the garden enjoying the plants and pavilions.
After sitting down and enjoying the view for a good length of time, we decided to head home and catch up on some rest.
Having felt like I spent too much time outside this time, it was time to do some touristing indoors again. Finding out about a famous museum called the Edo-Tokyo Museum, we decided to stop by. No robots this time, but again, just like the last museum trip, ramen came first:
The Edo-Tokyo Museum is a history museum dedicated to the recent history of Japan, from the start of the Tokugawa shogunate to modern times. It houses a bunch of cool recreations of the past, including miniature models of old Edo (Tokyo).
They even reconstructed old Edo food-stands, and I decided to take a closer inspection at a sushi stand.
The museum had buildings from every age of Tokyo, including ones during the Meiji period when Japan began to modernize and adopt western architecture:
At this point I had tackled it all. Inside, outside. Nature, technology. At a loss as to where to go next, my instinct kicked in and I found myself (and Kevin) in the only place I could theoretically end up in: Akiba (again).
However, this time we decided to explore the finer parts of Akiba. We would avoid the strong urge of anime and manga and look at the hidden parts of Tokyo’s electric town. We ended up getting somewhat lost and sneaking into a fair that was trying to recruit foreign students to come study in Tokyo.
To resolve this dilemma, we once again entrusted the problem to our instincts, and we ended up in a more familiar location.
The plan to avoid anime and manga kind of flew out the window, but for some reason we were still satisfied. After losing track of time and entering shop after shop looking for cool stuff, we finally headed home because there was a thunderstorm approaching.
But to be fair, this trip wasn’t completely anime and manga. We found a cool store that had a free virtual reality sample headset, and spent some time playing a racing game that felt a little too real. I actually got slightly carsick, so I left most of the racing to Kevin.
Today I found out that we had a mid-term tomorrow! 😉 hehe
I wish I had found out that we had a mid-term a little bit earlier, but no time for sadness because today is the last day with my host family! The time really did fly by super fast, and by the time I realized it I was already playing my last game of stuffed-animal-baseball with Sho. This is a complicated game and I am not sure if I explained the basic rules for this game yet, but here they are: you throw stuffed animals and hit them. There is also the offside rule, but that’s a little bit more advanced so I will leave it at that.
This officially ends the first half of my summer abroad in Tokyo! I would certainly take more time to reflect here on my time in Japan, but there’s a game of stuffed-anima-baseball going on and I’m down by 2 runs. But, as always, thank you again for continuing to read this blog, and I hope you will continue to find it interesting! See you next week!