Thursday, 26 July 2007, 11.00 am JST
For the first time on this blog, I’m going to recap events of last weekend as a photoblog. It’s what sites like these are meant for, and it’s about time I got on top of things. Good thing I’ve got all the pictures uploaded.
Friday, July 20
Our epic journey begins, like most, with my customary 1.5-hour drive to Miki. After getting dinner, Kristine and I showered, cleaned, and finished packing, before heading out in the muggy rain to Shijimi Station. Roughly 60 minutes later, we walked into the Sannomiya Bus Terminal, joining our travel companions Heather and Dylan. Boarding the awfully cramped, slightly uncomfortable 青春ドリーム bus at 10:00, we were off for the Great Kanto Plain. Our only relief from the bus came around midnight, when we pulled into the Kusatsu Parking Area of the Meishin Expressway in Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture. Hooray for Mini Stop.
Yo yo yo highway style.
Saturday, July 21
At approximately 7:30 in the morning, feeling not at all rested, we thus arrived at the one, the only, JR Tokyo Station.
Ah, city life.
From here, our two couples split up, Kristine and I opting to shoot immediately for Ikebukuro and reunite with a long-lost love: Burger King.
Three minutes before we Had It Our Way.
Remembering that the point of our trip was not to camp out in the middle of Tokyo sprawl, we jumped back on the train and headed for Yokohama.
Swiftly escaping from the mess of the underground exit, we passed through Sogo and headed over the pedestrian walkway to the Yokohama Bay Quarter.
This generic facade belies the plethora of Hawaiiana inside.
Once there, we immediately found ourselves drawn to the smell of fresh-baked malasadas, courtesy of this odd-looking Ford van:
And then we chowed down:
We even had lunch at a place with stuff like this:
Afterwards, we headed to Sakuragicho to find our hotel:
And then set off for the Yokohama Arena:
To rock out for three straight hours with thousands of our best friends to m-flo and almost everyone who’s appeared in the Loves series.
Afterwards we walked down the street to the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum, to have some ramen:
And show off our shirts:
And then we took the subway back to our hotel and slept very well.
Sunday, July 22
After we checked out of our hotel, we started with breakfast at Cafe de Crie.
We then went to Chinatown:
Where we saw this giant temple in the middle of everything:
And met this crazy-looking guy:
After grabbing a reasonable buffet lunch in Chinatown, we walked over to the Motomachi shopping area to see the shops:
And head up the hill to the Yamate area (read: Foreigner Area) to see some of the old buildings and lookouts.
We also got to see Taka’s school, St. Maur International School.
And after that, we walked over to the 港の見える丘公園 (Minato no Mieru Oka Koen, Park on the Hill from which you can see the Bay):
The Yokohama Bay Bridge.
And after that, we came back down towards the bay to see 山下公園 (Yamashita Park) and enjoy the bay for a bit:
Shipping container art.
The Hikawa Maru.
At the end of the park we came upon this curiosity:
I was at a loss for words.
Inside, Taka demonstrates about 57 reasons why this kind of establishment could not exist in America:
Yeah, that’s a gin and tonic he’s holding in front of the kids’ playground.
After that delightful stop, we made our way to the 横浜赤レンガ倉庫, the Yokohama Red Brick Warehouses. Originally constructed as a symbol of the modernization and development of the port of Yokohama, today they are nothing but. . . a shopping mall.
After this, we headed back to Sakuragicho area, where we got to see the famous graffitti wall that is located on the back side of the station.
After viewing the wall, we got one last look at the Landmark Tower
And then pretty much headed back to Tokyo.
Having been taken back by Taka to Yurakucho, one of the “locals” areas of Tokyo, we wandered around a bit until finally settling in at a pretty awesome yakitori stand.
We also went [were taken] to Hub, this time the Yurakucho branch.
From there, we left, Taka heading back to his house, and the two of us heading back to Tokyo Station to get on the cramped, uncomfortable 青春ドリーム神戸号 night bus. All in all though, an incredibly AMAZING weekend. And hey: yay for pictures. All the above and more can be found here.