Kyou wa, Peter-san wa Doko?

Where's Peter Today?

22nd Oct 2004: Day 16-- Tokyo Shopping at Shinjuku

Our last full day in Japan. Today was kind of reserved for last minute shopping. We strolled down the road to the JR train station and set off back towards Shinjuku on the other side of town to visit the famous Yodabashi camera district, supposedly the largest camera store in the World. We played with various bits of kit and ogled at the enormity of the place. It was actually a bunch of different shops all branded as being one, rather than one truly massive store. Needless to say, there was every conceivable type and make there, with all the latest stuff but in the end I just bought some new high capacity batteries for my trusty Olympus E-20 SLR (now quite long in the tooth, by Japanese standards) and Antony almost fainted when he found a store that sold nothing but film - all types of film from regular stuff to exotic slide film and even Super-8 movie film.

Having bought my quota of gadgets already, I didn't feel the need for anything else. We made our way back to our part of town and decided to have a rest before going out to meet up with another pen friend of mine, Sanae.

We met Sanae at the Mitsukoshi department store down the road and prior to a bit of sight-seeing, decided to head off in the direction of the giant toy store that we'd seen at on our first day in Tokyo. I wanted to get a bunch of Ghibli stuff to take home--toys and models, and Sanae was quite surprised by the robot cat as well--so it wasn't just us foreigners that found this stuff astonishing!

We then decided to go and see a bit of the Imperial Palace at Marunouchi before going to Ueno to see Rie, who we'd had to cancel our meeting with on Wednesday because of the typhoon.

Walking around in one of the subway stations there was a corridor with a whole load of giant background art from the Ghibli films. Antony found the backdrop for the famous "bus stop" scene from the film "Tonari no Totoro" ("My Neighbor Totoro") and posed for a photo with the little Totoro he bought at the toy shop.

At the entrance to the Imperial Palace grounds it was getting dark so we just hung around and took lots of photos of Tokyo Tower against the setting sun before heading off to Ueno station, where Rie was going to meet us.

Rie took us all to an English pub nearby. It was pretty impressive--a very close replica of a typical large pub in London, except for the baseball showing on the TV screens. After a drink there, we moseyed on out in search of a good restaurant. After dinner we were making our way to the railway station when Sanae pointed out a tiny shop that was crammed full of machines. It was a photo sticker arcade!

The Japanese adore photographs, and none more so than the miniature photo-booth ones that have glue backing, enabling you to cut them out and stick the postage stamp sized images on your phone or schoolbook or whatever. They are highly advanced too, with automatic backdrop curtains that come down in different colours and computer displays for drawing on the resulting pictures. After you've taken your 4 poses, you go outside and use the computer screen with a pen so you can draw borders and names or plant stars or funny clip-art and so on to make your picture special. Then you print them on the sticky backed paper and cut them out.

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Prepare For Take-Off

Day 1 -- Tokyo

Day 2 -- Mikawa-Anjo

Day 3 -- Nagoya

Day 4 -- Suzuka F1

Day 5 -- Kyoto

Day 6 -- Kyoto

Day 7-- Himeji Castle

Day 8 -- Kurashiki

Day 9 -- Hiroshima

Day 10 -- Nagasaki

Day 11 -- Nagasaki

Day 12 -- Kagoshima

Day 13 -- Kagoshima

Day 14 -- Tokyo

Day 15 -- Tokyo

Day 16 -- Tokyo

Homeward Bound

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