Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Nov 06 2009

A camera museum, a river cruise and the Ginza

The sun was out again this morning. My destination was the JCII camera museum near the Imperial Palace park. I got off the subway at Kudanshita and walked through the mostly deserted neighborhood, taking pictures of construction crews lifting beams in reflected light, to find the small museum in a basement. Inside, hundreds of cameras, all laid out by date starting in 1908 or so, were housed in glass cases. Obviously there have been a lot more cameras released in the past few years, but they did a pretty good job even though they left out my first camera, the Pentax K1000. They had most of the others, though. They also had some 3D viewers set up for a handful of pictures. It was eerie to see what appeared to be a real-life scene, and yet with nobody in them moving.

The best part of the museum was a line of old cameras laid out on a table by the window, cameras that you could pick up, operate and play with. But aside from that, there wasn’t much else to do, so I went for lunch at a cafe where a strange woman who reeked of urine was standing uncertainly in the aisle and making strange, furtive motions, fingering her purse until the staff asked her just what she needed. She apologized and left. Apparently I had just witnessed the Japanese version of an altercation with a crazy person.

Then I left to walk around the area. Remember when I was saying that there’s always something interesting just around the corner in Tokyo? This area is an exception. It’s all diplomatic quarters and faceless corporate headquarters. After half an hour I felt frustrated and bored with the place, so I walked along the moat back to the subway and took it to Asakusa to take a river cruise. I hadn’t been on the silver modern one, so I bought a ticket for a 3:20pm one-way cruise to Odaiba, using the intervening time to walk around the rather industrial neighborhood on the other side of the Sumida River, near the Giant Golden Turd on the Asahi Beer building. There I found a small group of photographers waiting on a bridge over a canal and under a train bridge, apparently waiting for a certain kind of train to pass so that they could take pictures of it.

The silvery bulbous boat arrived, and we got on to find an equally fancy interior, all wood and white beams. After all of the walking I’ve been doing, it was good to just sit and watch the city go by. We arrived at Odaiba just in time to watch the sun set over the city skyline across the bay. I had taken off my jacket for the first time since I arrived earlier in the day, as it was actually warm, but now it cooled off quickly. I walked around Odaiba a bit, but it is not a real place. Nobody lives there; I find it utterly soulless. I do enjoy the monorail that connects it to downtown, however. I ended up a Shinbashi, recalling on my last trip that it was snowing as I did so. This time the weather was fine, so I decided to take a stroll up the Ginza and take in the sights. I stopped by the Apple Store to check out the new Magic Mouse, which looks like it could take a lot of getting used to, and the new iMacs, which are gorgeous. I walked up the rest of the strip, pausing to take some pictures of a tiny wooden hut amongst the tall glass buildings, with a samurai outfit in the window.

Dinner was mediore curry rice at a ticket restaurant, and then I caught the subway at the fancy rose-colored Ginza Station to Ueno, where I paid Big Gym a visit and got some new comics. Just for the hell of it, I checked out the hotel I stayed at last time. There’s a new building next to it; my old view is gone. Seeing it now, I’m glad I didn’t decided to stay there again; my hotel here in Shinjuku is much nicer and more convenient.

I walked up to the Yobodashi camera store to do yet more fiddling around with the EP1 and GF1, in the light of Olympus’ announcement of the EP2, which is basically an EP1 painted black and with an EV connector and focus tracking. Despite my love for the EP1’s shape and feel, especially the shutter, the GF1 simply trounces it in reaction times.

Tomorrow is Saturday, and I’m going to meet Louis for lunch in his neighborhood. Other than that: no plans as usual. We’ll see. The doughnuts have already gone stale, which is just as well; I think I’ve outgrown such sugary treats.

posted by Poagao at 10:11 pm  

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