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海の日 — Ocean Day Weekend Part Two

July 21, 2012

I finished Part One at the end of Saturday, after a full day of fun and excitement at Tokyo Disneyland. I’ll start this post with Sunday morning. Since I didn’t get home until 1:00 AM, I decided to sleep in until about 9:00 or so. On the train ride home, Eric, Courteney, and I made plans to meet Rob at the train station at 1:00 PM to head back into Tokyo to Odaiba, where there would be a lantern festival that evening. It was a good thing that we got out of Koga, because on Sunday it was the hottest city in all of Japan!

We all gathered at the train station, and began making our way into Tokyo. We decided that since we were going out that way, we may as well stop and visit some other parts of Tokyo as well. We decided to go to Tokyo Skytree, to go and check out the aquarium since it would definitely have air conditioning.

Once we got to Tokyo Skytree, we quickly had to decide which line we wanted to wait in first– the line for Coldstone or the line for Tokyo Skytree. Our stomachs won that battle, which turned out to be the better choice overall. The line for Coldstone moved pretty fast and after fifteen minutes or so we had our ice cream in hand. The line had more than doubled as we left the store as well!

A lot of people had a similar idea that the aquarium would be a good place to go on a hot day, because it was pretty full! We finished our ice cream as we waited in line, and after paying ¥2000 yen to get in (about $25), we went inside!

The entire experience was awesome, but I think out of the whole aquarium the penguins were my favorite. There was one penguin who just sat and hung out in a corner of the tank, and seemed to enjoy the amount of attention that it was receiving.

Quite the ham.

A close second would be these little strange eels that sit under the sand under the bottom of the tank, but decide to pop out every once in a while. When you have a bunch of them all together, they look like some strange sort of grass. The picture I took is only of a chunk of the group.

Eels.

A lot of people would walk by this particular tank and exclaim, 「キモイ!」(kimoi) which is slang for 「気持ち悪い」, meaning “bad feeling.” In this case, people saying 「キモイ」 when they saw the eels can mean “gross!” but it’s once of those phrases that’s difficult to translate completely.

We finished up in the aquarium, and we went to the gift shop to poke around for a short while. In the end, a stuffed penguin just demanded to come home with me so who was I to argue? It is yet unnamed.

The four of us began making our way to Odaiba, which is where the festival we planned to attend was being held. Since we had some time before the festival officially started, we decided to go and visit a very special statue that arrived in the area this past spring. It’s symbolic of an entire anime franchise, and it’s super popular. Can you guess what is is?

GUNDAM.

That’s right! It’s a Gundam. Standing at 18 meters (59.055 feet) tall, it’s a 1:1 scale model of a Gundam from the classic anime series Mobile Suit Gundam. The statue was unveiled in July 2009 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the anime, but closed at the end of August of that year. The Gundam then was moved to Shizuoka, where is stayed from July 2010 until March 2011. It moved back to Tokyo and reopened April 2012.

An idea of the Gundam’s size.

After our photo session with the Gundam, we stopped in a Lawson to buy some food and then went to see all of the lanterns. They were in the process of being lit when we arrived, so we snagged a spot on the beach (the beach!) and watched the sun set and all of the city lights come to life. Behind us was a jazz duo that kept doing songs in English, which threw me for a loop after every song when the vocalist would thank everyone first in English and then in Japanese and continue her commentary in Japanese. It was a beautiful evening though, and I’m glad that we went!

Lanterns and the Odaiba skyline

Monday, my long-awaited day off, was spent in the comforts of home while I had a thorough cleaning session of the whole apartment. Unfortunately, if you look at it now (less than a week later) you wouldn’t think so. Curse you hardwood floors and dust! Anyway, I also had the chance to Skype a few people, which meant I got to show off my new Mickey Mouse ears.

All in all, it was quite the weekend!

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