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Pictures of Tokyo and environs, in the hot and sticky month of May, 2001.

Vending machines outside Dean's place

Dean and I return from singing カラオケ — its 5:30am, we have instant noodles, and God's Own Vending Machines are about to bring us Manna in the form of Tea. You can see “LeoPalace” in the background.

Dean's place, LeoPalace Outside Dean's place, LeoPalace, view of the railway

Dean's is the second from the right, on the bottom. Its called “LeoPalace”. Dean begs to differ ;-) You can see how close we are to the railway in the second shot.

A Makuharihongō street

This is a typical Japanese suburban street, complete with those signature powerlines and no pavement! We're in Makuharihongō (マクハリホンゴウ), the stop before Makuhari. No one seems to know what ‘hongo’ means, but judging by the huge depot, its “place where trains go to sleep”. Is that earthquake damage on the right, or was it caused by the 8:30 Narita (ナリタ) Airport express? Sometimes, it's damn hard to tell one from the other…

A Traditional House in Makuharihongō

Just down the road, a traditional Japanese style house with funky trees.

Dean and Emi in the restaurant Lou and me in the restaurant

Dean, his girlfirend Emi, me and Dean's next door neighbour Lou (another English teacher). We've just eaten a huge meal of yakitori (grilled chicken) while sat on the floor cross-legged, hence the big grins.

Emi on TV The Fuji TV building observatory from below The Fuji TV building, far enough away to be able to see the shape

Here's Emi Itō-san reading the news on TV! Actually, its a blue-screen booth at the Fuji TV (フジテレビ) headquarters in Odaiba (オダイバ). We're inside the big ball you can see on the right, which is the 25th floor observatory.

Part of the FujiTV Building Part of the FujiTV Building
Part of the FujiTV Building Part of the FujiTV Building

This is one of the maddest buildings I've ever seen. It feels like some kind of space ship.

View of a ferris wheel The Rainbow Bridge The Rainbow Bridge, shot from a boat

Odaiba (オダイバ) is a new district build on a reclaimed island in Tokyo bay. A lot more ostentatiously modern than most of Tokyo – it lends a sense of space and freedom to a city which has traditionally ignored its waterfront. The wheel is the 3rd largest in the world (the second largest is about a mile away, and the largest is in London). DisneyLand Tokyo is about three stops up the line, if you take the Tokyo Teleport station from here (Yes, I swear that's what its called :) That's the huge Rainbow Bridge which links the island to Tokyo proper.

A mini Statue of Liberty in Odaiba

No, this didn't escape from the New York page! This is the 3rd largest Statute of Liberty in the world, a copy of the model was used back in the 1800s to do fund raising and sell the concept for the “real” statue in New York. It usually stands on the banks of the Seine, but in 1998 it was moved to in Odaiba for a year as a celebration of Franco-Japanese relations. The original went home in Paris in 1999 but the mini-statue proved so popular with the Japanese that the French decided to give them a copy of their own, which was unveiled in December 2000.

A big crow approaches me A big crow approaches me The crow is now in my seat
The crow poses for the camera

The crows in Ueno (ウエノ) Park are completely fearless. Actually, they own the place; this one came and sat beside me, then he hopped down behind me, then up close on the other side of me. Then behind me again. I took the hint, and gave up my seat. See him posing in the last picture?

Big  Orange Koi Carp Koi and friends

These are the guard fish in the Imperial Palace moat. Each is longer than your forearm. They swim right up to the edge to look at you. Don't lean over too far or else…

Unforutnately the palace itself is only open 2 days a year; it hides behind high walls.

You can click the images to make them larger

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