Monday, April 2, 2007

Venus on Planet Tokyo

A shopping centre decked out like an old Italian town, complete with painted sky and uniformed attendants marching with glowing red batons. It's Venus Fort, located in the Odaiba area of Tokyo, adjacent to a multistorey showcase of Toyota cars which includes an automated car driving a indoor circuit. It's quirky Tokyo with a cafe that serves a delicious cup of hot white chocolate.

We arrived at Aomi station in an automated "monorail" on the Yurikamome Line. It's more like a bus constrained to a path as there are no rails as such. Still, the views from the elevated "track" are great, showing off Tokyo's harbour area and Rainbow Bridge (which just looked white to me, even in the evening). It makes a nice change from the lack of views on the subways.

After waking up late in the morning, just in time for the included hot buffet breakfast, we caught the subway to the Ginza area so we could pay a visit to the helpful Japan National Tourism Office (JNTO) for maps and brochures. It beats whipping out the big all-Japan Lonely Planet.

From Ginza we walked past impossibly expensive brand shops down to the Tsukiji Fish Markets. B ate a lunch of mixed sashimi (raw fish) on rice. I've tried sashimi, but would rather not eat it if I can help it. Don't like the taste or texture.

The small produce and fish stalls around the markets were closing by 2:30pm, so we walked to Shiodome and caught the monorail. The rest of the day was spent browsing the clothing stores. I'll get my chance to see electronics soon. And sightseeing begins again shortly, which I am greatly looking forward to.

Star Wars Lego is even cheaper in Japan than Hong Kong. Why is Australia so expensive?

It was strange reading the Sydney Morning Herald this morning and seeing a tsunami warning issued for the Eastern coastline. I'd expect that for here. There was a 6.9 magnitude earthquake last week. Hopefully the plate tectonics will be taking it easy for the next week.