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Tokyo's

Fascinations

 

February 2000 - December 2001

(Click on pictures for larger view)

Our home in Tokyo. It is the attached house in the middle of the picture, with our car in front.  We are very lucky to have a whole house with two floors, as well as parking. 

In Japan, waiting for the train is a very organized event.  Train doors always open at the same spots, so the lines begin there.  Workers in white gloves are there to "push" you on the train. 

Shibuya crossing.  An event in itself.  It is a huge five or six way intersection located right outside of the train station in a busy part of town.  When the light changes, be prepared to walk! 

Just past the crossing you find yourself in a major shopping and entertainment area popular with the young crowd and electronic freaks (like my husband!).

Shinjuku station.  The busiest train station in the world!  More people travel through this place everyday than anywhere else in the world. Shinjuku has great shopping....and also is home of the Tokyo red light district.

Yoyogi Park on a Sunday.  All the guide books tell you about it, but you won't believe it until you see it.  Definitely entertaining!  The Japanese dress up as various comic book characters....

             

Takeshita street.  A very POPULAR pedestrian walkway with the young and "hip"!  If you are looking to buy an outfit to hang out with the crowd in the previous pictures, here's where you go.

Kris and our friends, the Hubs,  pose outside in the courtyard of the forum.  

Asakusa is one of the oldest and most traditional parts of town.  Here my brother and I pose in the pedestrian street market leading up to its main attraction....

Kappabashi, the kitchen district of Tokyo.  This is where all restaurants come to buy their dishes, pots, pans, chairs, signs, etc.  Also a great place for everyday people to get a good deal.

             

Akihabara (Electric Town) just outside of the train station.  This is where you go to find any kind of electronics you desire. 

In Akihabara, one can be overwhelmed by the array of merchandise. Here is just one half of the rice cookers on display, the aisle on the other side is completely full of them!

   

Ueno Park is the most famous place in Tokyo for cherry blossom viewing.  People come from all over to see the beautiful trees and to sit amongst them.

   

Companies send setup crews over to Ueno Park to prepare for their "Hanami" (cherry blossom viewing parties). 

   

Here are two vendors making Takoyaki - Octopus balls!  Not like you are thinking...they are balls of dough with octopus, onions, etc. inside. 

    

The Tsukiji fish market is a must on any visitors list.  Unfortunately we're not very keen to take you as you must arrive very, very early.  

No trip to Tsukiji would be complete without sampling a bit of the VERY fresh tuna.  You pass by the freshly purchased 4 foot tuna as you enter this place!  They cut pieces directly from it, and place them on the conveyer belt in front of you.  The Burkhardt's really enjoyed this at 6:30am. 

Another wedding processional, this time we spotted it at the Heiji shrine.  

             

Tokyo Tower.  True to Japanese form, when they copied the Eiffel Tower they made it larger, and Orange!  For some reason this is not on many tourists' "must see" list.  Definitely not mine.

Another bullet train.  The shinkansen averages speeds of 170km/h. 

We live in a residential part of Tokyo on the Western edge of the city.  Here is a picture of our neighborhood shopping street.  It has all the usual stuff: dry cleaners, grocery and drug stores, etc.

Omotesando.  Supposedly the "Champs-Elysees" of the East.  Very large boulevard, with lots of people shopping at the expensive shops, but nothing like the real thing!

There are five large screen TVs and a Starbuck's at Shibuya crossing.  Starbuck's is a great place to people watch, as it overlooks the crosswalk.

The streets of Shibuya are always crowded and are great for people watching.  The outfits of these young Japanese are usually quite amusing.  

Some of that great shopping!  They actually call this "Times Square".  It is a huge department store complex located right next to the train tracks.  Shinjuku is the newest looking part of town and about the only place where you see skyscrapers.

and then just stand around talking and waiting for tourists to take pictures.  Oh and you don't want to miss the "Japanese dancing Elvis'"  (sorry, I don't have a  picture).

              

Tokyo International Forum, consisting of two buildings connected by walkways, showcases this beautiful 60 meter (200 feet) atrium resembling a ship's hull.

Nijubashi (double bridge) on the moat surrounding the Imperial Palace (which is unfortunately not open to tourists).  

Which is Senso-ji.  The largest buddhist temple in Tokyo....also making it one of the biggest tourist attractions in the city.  On any day this place is packed with school kids on field trips.

Kappabashi is also where the owners have their plastic display dishes created.  You can get plastic sushi, curry, pizza, spaghetti, etc. and it all looks good enough to eat. 

              

Needless to say, this is one of Kris' favorite places. Here my brother, Mike, and I pose on the streets of Akihabara. 

No tourists' trip to Akihabara is complete without checking out the array of Japanese toilets.  These things do everything but wipe for you. Many even come with an air dryer.....seriously.

   

Cherry Blossom viewing parties ("Hanami") are quite   popular during the first week of April.  People stake their claim with blue (or any color) tarps.

   

Food vendors are found throughout Ueno Park  Here a vendor is making Okonomiyaki - a kind of flour based omelet.

   

My friend Sara is extremely daring.  She is eating Ayu....a whole fish on a stick (insides and all).  The fish is rolled in salt and then roasted over coals.  Actually very tasty!

   

The tuna auction begins at 5:30 am. Much of the tuna is flash frozen for better travel life.  Here a worker is using an ax to chop up the frozen tuna.  

 

In Japan, most weddings take place at the local shrine.  Quite often a couple has a traditional wedding, with a western celebration.  Here a wedding party poses at the Meiji shrine. A woman's wedding kimono costs thousands of dollars. 

Notice that the wedding party is very traditional, but the guests (standing on the left) are very contemporary.

              

The famous shinkansen, "bullet train".  No longer the fastest train in the world, but certainly the oldest and most famous.  In 30 years of high-speed travel there have never been any fatalities!

 

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