On Wednesday morning I awoke to the cawing of the large black ravens that are everywhere in Japan. Some
people think they are a nuisance, but I enjoy the way they add to the surreal aura of the city. We supplemented our
morning toast with some luncheon meat and packaged fried egg from a convenience store, downed a couple of gallons
of coffee, and set out on our destination of the day - Yokohama. We planned to explore the waterfront with our old
friend Jack who was living with his wife Aniko on an army base outside the city.
The trip from Ikebukuro to Yokohama takes about 1 hour on the train. At first the cars were packed, but
suddenly the crowd spilled out the doors and everyone found a seat except for one elderly woman who was
still standing near us. Lisa leaped to her feet saying "Sumimasen" and mentioned to the woman to sit, but
she indicated that she preferred to stand and proceeded to talk to Lisa in Japanese. Encounters like this are
always the highlight of traveling for us, and it's often amazing how far you can get with a small vocabulary.
Fortunately, the woman got off the train before Lisa's Japanese gave out. The day was off to a very good start.
After meeting Jack, we wandered past a large sports stadium and down to the waterfront.
The most impressive thing about Yokohama, to me, is the many art works. In addition to the traditional statues,
like the ones above, there are a number of exceedingly odd constructions like this stairway/fountain installation.
We decided to have lunch in nearby Chinatown. Here are some pictures of the main Chinatown gate and
a very colorful temple that we passed while we were deciding on a restaurant. One thing I noticed as we perused
the plastic food displayed in the restaurant windows was that the price of some of the dishes was what you would
expect, while other dishes that didn't seem to be anything special were surprisingly expensive. I don't know why
this should be, but we were careful to check the prices when we ordered. Later, Aniko told us how she had been
shocked when she received a large bill for an ordinary lunch in Chinatown.
After a pleasant lunch, we wandered along the waterfront to the amusement park where Jack, Lisa, and I
rode on the ferris wheel. In the picture on the right in the row below, there are people sitting around on the roof of
the building wearing robes with their feet in the water so I guess they are at some sort of spa. The picture in the
bottom row on the right was taken when we entered the ferris wheel and sold to us when we exited.
Since it was almost Halloween, the picture came in a folder with a pumpkin design.
On our way to the train station to meet Aniko for dinner, we passed another curious sight outside a shopping
mall. This used to be a drydock for ships, but now people can just walk down there and sit on the steps and enjoy
some solitude like this man is doing. The pictures on the last row are of another large art piece just up the steps from the drydock.
We had planned to dine at Aniko's favorite gyoza restaurant, but, unfortunately, it was closed so we ate at a
small Chinese restaurant in a nearby mall. In order to make good use of our JR passes,
we took the long way back to Ikebukuro, but first we stopped at a Tower Records we had stumbled upon earlier.
Success! It took quite awhile, because the CD's are arranged according to the Hiragana alphabet, but we actually
managed to find the music we wanted.
My pedometer logged 22,939 steps that day, or about 9.2 miles so once again there was much moaning and
whining as we headed back to the hotel, but it had been another wonderful day.