Saturday, October 11, 2014

Japan, Tokyo: Tourist Doings

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The Tokyo SkyTree is the city's tallest structure, and also its highest observation deck, with one deck at 350 m and another at 450 m.

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I visited on my last full day in Tokyo, the first day also on which the sky was clear--it rained off and on the rest of the trip, but never enough to really get soaked. The cost to go all the way up was about USD32, plus $10 more for the professional photo, which was as disappointing as the one seen below--it looks like i am standing on the edge of the glass floor, while I am in fact smack dab in the middle of it. Anyway, the views were awesome.

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The photo at top of the SkyTree in the distance was taken from the middle of the river during my riverboat tour. If I remember, this cost about 1,500 Y ($15) and lasted around 50 minutes. The boat leaves from Nihombashi, the bridge at Japan's zero mile marker, and for about 15 minutes or so, all you see is the underside of bridges. For the rest of the tour, you see bridges and buildings, and the occasional waterbird.

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After the boat tour, I finally made my way to the kite museum, which occupies the fifth floor of this popular restaurant in Nihombashi, and which was founded by the restaurant's owner:

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I wanted to visit ever since I first read about it (rather like my feeling for Seoul's kimchi museum). It cost 200 Y and can occupy as much as fifteen minutes of your time--it's quite tiny and has almost no explanatory material, all of it in Japanese. What it does have is kites. lots of 'em:

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To bwe fair, it has some artwork featuring kites, and a life size model of the owner, making a kite:

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I don't know what draws me to places like this, because I'm not really a kite enthusiast. We did fly kites quite a lot when i was a kid growing up in Florida: I remember one breezy day bicycling up to Mel's One Stop twice to get a new ball of kite string to add on to a string already played out--I think we got five whole balls onto it. You couldn't actually see the kite anymore, it was so high up. The end.

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