2009 - 2010

Day 6


Today was one of those days we knew we would not fit much in. According to Amy’s list of attractions, we had about 15 sites to see, but amongst those were the Ueno Zoo and the Science Museum - both of which we all wanted to see and are very time consuming!

First stop was the the most important one - the zoo!
We were warned that Ling Ling the giant panda had died, which was a shame because that was the one distinctive aspect of this particular zoo.

When we got to the Ueno, it looked like the zoo, museum, shrines, statues and fountains were all around a giant park - which made it pleasant to walk around, and fairly fast because there were no crazy streets to navigate through.

The zoo was split into 2 sections with a monorail joining them (typically Japanese), but we only saw one section, otherwise we would have completely missed out on the Science Museum (which closed at 5).

The parts of the zoo that we saw had lots of different species of birds (including some pretty cool looking eagles and birds with strange shaped heads!), lions, monkeys, elephants, bats and plenty more.

After the zoo we headed over to the Science Museum. This place was very similar to Science Works. There were lots of insect, animal and plant areas with Japanese text and voice describing them in very elaborate rooms. For such a large amount of displays, they did a very good job of presenting them. The rooms of the museum were all themed and had cool ways of interacting with them.

One of the first things we did at the museum was a “360° Theater”. This reminded Rob and I of the OmniTheater in Bostom, except alot smaller and it actually was 360°. It was a dome room with a bridge down the middle of it. A movie was projected all around us and it felt like the place was actually moving around because our whole peripheral vision was covered. If it wasn’t so pixelated it would have been better, but still very impressive that it can give you a sense of motion.

By the time we got through the museum, it was already dark so we started heading home. On the way we took a different route than on the way in and ended up in a pretty big market. There was all sorts of things from fresh fruit and fish to game arcades and photo booths. We stopped at an electronic store that was about 6 stories tall. There was one level dedicated to photography gear, and I almost bought a tripod, but the prices in these stores are not exactly cheap.
After spending quite a while in this huge shop, by complete fluke, the bottom floor actually lead to a train station and we headed for the hotel.

Once we got back Rob wasn’t feeling the greatest so he stayed at the hotel and got some rest while the others and I went to Roppongi. I had never been and wanted to see Don Quijote and get some dinner.

Don Quijote is a discount chain store that has everything from groceries to bikes to sexy costumes! I ended up buying more Cadbury’s and a neck warmer after seeing Rob use his (these have been absolutely great!)

From here we decided to go get some dinner. We had a look at the Hard Rock Cafe, but it was pretty expensive so we decided to look around. One thing that has been more difficult than expected on this trip is just finding options to have a sit-down meal! This is mainly because they are hidden away on higher levels of other buildings. We saw a couple of places, but weren’t very impressed and eventually I saw a sign that had cheap prices and a picture of red meat (instead of seafood) and suggested we try it.

It turns out the only reason it was cheap was because the portion sizes were tiny! It was like eating at a Tapas place (I hate Tapas). At the end of the day the food was really nice, but there just wasn’t enough of it and we payed too much! Also, it was a really small place, it looked very fancy, but it was very smokey - there was no non-smoking area.

After dinner, Anthony and Lee dared each other to have wasabi on lettuce (which went down well) and we headed home for some rest before Disneyland.