Since it’s Golden week, only Tuesday and Wednesday are workdays. Thursday I head to Kappabashi, a strange district of Tokyo where you can buy everything you need to start a restaurant. Everything from the tacky plastic fishes to put above your storefront, to furniture, menus (complete with prices and all!), cookware, bowls, chopsticks, plastic food to put on display, knives. If it’s related to a restaurant, they pretty much have it in Kappabashi! After a lot of browsing I manage to buy a beautiful Gyaku meat knife in Damascus steel. There is also a very well-equipped coffee store with some of the most serious coffee brewing equipment I’ve ever seen.
Come Friday I go to Odaiba, the man made island in Tokyo bay. It turns out that about a million Japanese had the same idea as I did though… Odaiba is mostly a bunch of big malls and every one of them is filled to the brim with people. I pass by lines to H&M that are 30 meters, just to get into the store! I do manage to visit a Hello Kitty store which is pretty fun, that kitten sure is a valuable trademark! But the number one sight in Odaiba is the live-sized Gundam Wing robot standing in front of one of the malls. Where else than in Japan could you see such a thing!?
The weather isn’t very nice though, it’s pouring down and I’m feeling a bit ill as well, so it takes a bit of fun out of the exploring. I do make it to the Toyota exhibition hall though which is really impressive with elevators carrying the cars between floors as well as a lot of simulators and games so that the kids can enjoy themselves while mom and dad go look at cars.
Saturday I go to Kamakura, the town south of Tokyo, well known for its temples and huge Buddha statue. I spend most of the day just wandering around, and in the end I’m not terribly impressed. The Buddha statue is really cool though. My cold is getting worse also and on the way back to Tokyo I have to get off the packed train just to sit down for a while. After that I decide it’s probably best if I go home and sleep it off instead. The most memorable thing about my Kamakura excursion remains the purple sweet potato ice cream I had. Not bad, but not something I’m longing for to try again…
After sleeping it off all the way to Sunday, I’m mostly okay and go to Shibuya for some shopping. All over the place are people dressed as Sadako from Ringu coming out of a television, it seems to be a promotion for a Ringu 3D movie coming out. I shop a pair of nice pants and is pleasantly surprised that shortening the legs will cost me 525 yen and be done in under an hour! This doesn’t rhyme with the expensive Tokyo I know… The bag also gets a carefully crafted rain cover, very nice!