Saturday, 1 August 2009

Escaping Tokyo

I spent the afternoon in Yokohama with a colleague and her friend from university. Yokohama actually isn't much of an escape from the metropolis of Tokyo as it sort of joins on, but is a city in its own right. We got the train there and just wandered around.

We spent a lot of time in China Town - it's the biggest China Town in Japan and certainly the biggest I've ever visited. There were some lovely, very colourful temples and lots and lots of restaurants and food stalls that sold different dim sum and bao tze. Of course, I sampled a few of them (temples and food, that is...).

Yokohama is famous for it's port and this year is celebrating its 150th anniversary. There were a few different events set up, a massive cruise liner anchored in the dock and loads of images of Yokohama's mascot, who appeared to be a potato in a boat.

We came across a few more unusual characters, including a Japanese Colonal Sanders outside KFC.

Tonight was the annual hanabi (fireworks) festival, so I found a wee space to sit (it was so crowded with people!) in one of the parks on the coast and watched the show. Even though I was about 1km away from where the fireworks were actually going off, it was absolutely amazing - I got a fantastic view over the top of the cruise liner in the harbour. They were some of the best fireworks I've ever seen. Every shape and colour imaginable, most of them changing colour three or four times, and on an absolutely huge scale. They went on for well over an hour and were gigantic!

It was a bit mental getting the train back as the thousands of other people who had been out for the hanabi were doing exactly the same thing. Thankfully I brought home an extra large bao tze to snack on when I got in.

Although I did make the mistake of buying a rather dubiously named drink from a vending machine, thinking that it was water, only to find out that it's some strange isotonic thing with a label that reads:

"Pocari Sweat is a healthy beverage that smoothly supplies the lost water and electrolytes during perspiration. With the appropriate density and electrolytes, close to that of human body fluid, it can be easily absorbed into the body."

They make it sound so appetising... It tastes absolutely foul and will now be sitting in my fridge until I'm really desperate for an 'ion supply drink'.

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