Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Nov 09 2009


I walked through the brilliant streets this morning to the big Shinjuku JR Station, which, with the smells of restaurants starting up and the rush of passengers on their way to work, reminded me somehow of the first day of elementary school. I was planning on taking the Shonan Line out to Yokohama, but it was down, so I took a train to Tokyo Station and switched there. Other trains ran parallel to ours, and I wondered if they ever race.

At Yokohama Station, I got directions from a friendly garbage collector who spoke remarkably good English, before heading out towards what I hoped was the harbor. As I crossed a bridge over a canal I was surprised to see huge grey fish in the water. They swarmed wherever I paused to look over the railing, their mouths gaping; I suppose people must feed them.

After an interminably long walk along a highway, I eventually reached the Nihon Maru, a sailing boat. It was closed. I should have realized this earlier, but everything is closed on Mondays here. I sat on a bench by the ship, soaking in the sun and watching crewmen climb the ship’s rigging.

Downtown Yohohama was just across another bridge, and I was pleasantly surprised to find tree-lined streets, sidewalk cafes and restored old buildings there. The pavement was spattered with either green or red dots, making a nice effect. I stopped for lunch at a sandwich shop, watching people on the sidewalk as I ate. Artists sat around the older buildings, sketching them on pads of paper. It seems to me that elderly people in Japan have much more taste in fashion than in most countries. It’s cool that the old guys here dress, if not always as snappily as they did when they were young, at least just as hip as anyone else.

The leaves on the trees in the city are beginning to turn; in a week or two they should be brilliant. I came too soon, I suppose. That’s ok, though; leaves are not my forte.

The weather was much warmer, and I didn’t even need my jacket after noon. I walked back to the harbor and along it until I came to the Hikawa Maru, an old ship that began service in the 30’s, served as a hospital ship during WWII, and made the Kessel run in less than…I mean, it did the Seattle run all the way up to 1961, when it was docked permanently at Yokohama. It, too was closed, which is too bad; I would have liked to tour it.

Instead I went up the requisite tower and took some pictures. It was hazy, so the views weren’t terribly good. Then I just walked around the city, including Chinatown, which reminds a bit of the EPCOT version if it were done by the Japanese.

After night fell, I went back to the tower, where the view was much nicer, the whole city and harbor lit up. I helped a couple take a picture without using the flash after they couldn’t figure out what was going wrong with their pictures taken with a Ricoh CX. The tower sways noticably in the wind; I’d hate to be up there during an earthquake.

Yokohama’s a very cool place; laid-back, yet modern, with a great downtown area and just a subway ride from Tokyo. I can see why people like it so much.

Tomorrow’s my last full day in Tokyo this time around. I’m thinking of walking from Nippori to Ueno, and then Roppongi and the Mori Tower. Got to get those twinkling city light shots.

posted by Poagao at 10:18 pm  

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