Sumo fighters, Baseball fans, Rollercoasters, Palak Paneer & other Random sights in the Neon City

Tokyo Travel Blog

 › entry 8 of 12 › view all entries
An insane rollercoaster and ferris wheel across the street from the Tokyo dome.

The next morning we woke up early and went to the Edo Tokyo Museum, which was very impressive. They had everything from Jomon-era pottery and Samurai swords to an amazing exhibit on Japan's role in World War II. There was a whole section dedicated to the artwork of school children in Hiroshima during the time of the bombing which was paired with a documentary that was playing on a screen next to it. This had an overwhelming effect on me, and actually caused my eyes to tear up. I really must emphasize that this museum is fantastic and exceptionally comprehensive when it comes to covering the entire span of Japan's history. All of the exhibits are very impressive and I highly recommend visiting this museum while visiting Tokyo.

After we were done exploring the museum several hours later, we decided to check out the Tokyo Dome area. This turned out to be yet another big highlight of our trip and a huge cultural revelation. It was here that we uncovered several traits unique to the 21st century Japanese. Although the Japanese are often stereotyped as serious workaholics that spend their lives consumed by their work, it is places like the Tokyo Dome where you realized that they have a very fun-loving side as well. As we approached the dome, we were surrounded by hundreds of people in line to go see a baseball game that was taking place. There were loud voices, laughter and a general sense of chaos as a rollercoaster plunged down to street level seemingly out of nowhere and then went up again, disappearing into a tunnel that happened to go through a building. There were also ferris wheels, haunted houses and countless other rides, comic/anime/manga stores which fused together with a large shopping structure called "LaQua" and a large outdoor food court. This area is truly a play ground for both young and old. I loved it! I must have spent at least 45 minutes browsing through a large store dedicated to the art and movies of Hayao Miyazaki. They had everything from boxed dvd sets to erasers, pencils and t-shirts with characters from Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castles, as well as his older anime feature films. We then went on a couple of rides, including a rollercoaster that simulated earthquakes called "Geopanic" and the haunted house.

I do not recall seeing much about this area in the tourist guides I had bought in order to prepare for this trip, but it was definitely a place worth seeing. We spent hours on the rides, browsing through the shops and wandering the Baseball Hall of Fame. Prior to this experience, I had no idea that the Japanese were baseball fanatics. It was interesting to see the different types of people attending this sporting event- people of all ages, wearing sporty attire, suits and ties, and even kimonos! As we observed the crowds in somewhat of a bewildered state, sumo fighters zipped by on bicycles. It all felt very surreal.

As the sun began to set we decided to go on the ferris wheel, which I regretted soon after getting on. This was by far the tallest ferris wheel I had ever seen and, considering that I not only have a severe phobia of heights but also vertigo problems, it turned out to be the most uncomfortable 20 minutes of my life. To make matters worse, there was a little radio in our compartment, which Nicole and Alex were fiddling with to the point where it was extremely annoying, but even worse- once they realized how scared I was they started pushing the compartment so that we were rocking back and forth hundreds of feet above the Tokyo skyline!

Afterward, we were all pretty hungry so we decided to try an Indian restaurant that caught our eye. I had noticed that there were a lot of Indian people in Tokyo. In fact, this was the largest other ethnic group in this city that I had observed besides the Japanese, so I figured the food at this restaurant would be pretty authentic. I was right! In fact, the Indian food at this restaurant was better than a lot of the food I have eaten at Indian restaurants in California. After our meal, we were exhausted so we just got back on the subway and went back to Iidabashi and pretty much straight to bed. Yasu had been waiting for us because he had bought some manju (Japanese sweets) from a bakery down the street that he wanted to share with us. This was the perfect ending to a perfect day.


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photo by: maka77