Saturday, December 31, 2005


On New Year's Eve, my gf and I went over to Odaiba. From Shimbashi station, we took the Yurikamome monorail and got off at Odabia Kaihin Koen and took some pictures with Rainbow Bridge as a backdrop. There's a park there and nearby is a big game center called Sega Joypolis. We should've gotten off at Daiba, because that's where Fuji TV is located (we ended up going there later). Click on the images to see them larger.
Anyway, we took this walkway, which is a bridge (Teleport Bridge) from Odaiba Kaihin Koen to where Venusfort, Megaweb (Toyota showcase), and the Odaiba Ferris Wheel is located. The girl near the right wearing the tannish jacket is my gf. :)
The Odaiba Ferris Wheel and Megaweb.
The support cable systems on Teleport Bridge that connect to the pillars.
Later, we went over to Daiba where the Fuji TV building is located. One of the entrances was bright with holiday illumination.
To the left of the Fuji TV building is this view of Rainbow Bridge, Tokyo Tower, and... the Statue of Liberty. We ate at Kua Aina, a Hawaiian hamburger restaurant at the nearby shopping complex.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Hamamatsucho & Shiodome

My gf and I took a stroll at a park in Hamamatsu-cho this past weekend, then walked over to Shiodome... she wanted me to try out the jacket she bought for me for Christmas. ^_^

Pics (click to enlarge)
This is the World Trade Center in Hamamatsucho.
Me at Kyuushiba Rikyuu Garden in Hamamatsu-cho (half a minute walk from JR Hamamatsu-cho station; turn right after you get out of the exit. It's a 150 yen to get in.
More pics from the Kyuushiba Rikyuu Onshi Teien... the conical structures you see are actually support systems for the shaped pine trees in case of heavy snowfall. I heard they do this at major gardens and parks.
Though it be winter, we found a blooming sakura (cherry blossom) tree.
It was a nice day.. I love the reflection on the water
One more pic from the garden
After the garden, we walked toward Shiodome. We liked the curve of the monorail structure.
A pic of the monorail; on the right is an Italian garden.
This was a cute duck jumping house thingie for kids near Nittere (Nippon TV)
One of the cool looking buildings in Shiodome.
Caretta Shiodome is a complex with restaurants, shops, performance theatres, and an Ad museum.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

XMas spirit

Here are some shots while shopping around for Christmas presents (click on the photo to enlarge):
These are tree decorations located at the East exit of Yokohama station; if you go down the stairs, you'll head toward the Porta and Sogo shopping complexes.
At the West end of Yokohama station, there is a department store called Takashimaya; they always have some kind of display over their main entrance.
Takashimaya had this great tree display in the center of their ground floor.
As you can see, the tree is made up of little teddy bears. ^_^
Outdoor lighting at a discount department store called Jusco.
This is a present for one of my friends; every year, the Disney Store sells a special Winnie the Pooh dressed in a costume of the next Chinese zodiac sign; 2006 is the year of the dog.
A Gundam figure for one of my friends.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Some random photos

Here are some photos I took in the past couple of years that don't really fit into a single category.

What's Tokyo without Godzilla? Godzilla and his little tyke welcome visitors (and show them the drink menu) at a bar in Shinagawa. I love their pirate hats. ^_^

I didn't think you could see Mt. Fuji from Yokohama, but I was surprised at how big it looked. This was taken from the 26th floor of the Sky Building in Yokohama (located at the east exit of Yokohama Station).

The Apple Store in Ginza. It has 4 or 5 floors of Apple goodness.

This was at an anime related artshow in Ikebukuro's Sunshine City building. The image on the left was done by Yoshitaka Amano (I love his Vampire Hunter D illustrations).

A sunset cityscape in Kannai, Yokohama. I worked in Kannai for about a year.

A selection of children's masks available for sale at a temple in Kamakura.

A big Spiderman 2 promotion at the NTV (Nippon TV) building in Shinbashi.

The NTV building's exterior.

Bocca della Verita (The Mouth of Truth)... this replica of the famous Roman tourist attraction can be found at the Porta shopping complex at east exit of Yokohama Station. Many Japanese love the Audrey Hepburn movie, "Roman Holiday" and the Mouth of Truth and the Fountain of Trevi scenes seem to have given lasting impressions.

An old phone booth at a park in Yokohama. I don't know if the phone works though...

I didn't consciously mean to, but it looks like I collected a bunch of electronics that were white in color: My Sharp Vodafone mobile phone (has a 2 megapixel camera with 2x optical zoom), Sony Clie PEG TJ25 PDA, Sony PSP, and the 1 GB Apple iPod Shuffle. I'm breaking the trend though... I think black will be my next color of choice; my new digital camera (6 megapixel Panasonic Lumix DMC FX9) is black, and if I get a new iPod, it'll be the black iPod Nano.

Tokyo Institute of Technology

Well, I went to take the Japanese Language Proficiency Test today (level 1); the site this year for me was the Tokyo Institute of Technology. Unfortunately, I hadn't studied much and although I tried to do some last minute cramming, I really struggled. For the past two exams, I did fairly well with the kanji/vocab and listening portions and poorly for the reading comprehension/grammar portions, but this year, I was basically guessing most of the kanji and vocab. I tried not to let myself get down and concentrated on the next two parts. I was pretty confident with the listening portion, and I was surprised with how I managed the reading comp/grammar portion. Usually, I run out of time for that portion and end up wildly guessing, but this time, I not only finished ahead of time (by 3 minutes, lol), but I felt confident with two thirds of that part. However, I don't feel confident enough to think that I passed... I'll try to do a little more studying this time and try again next December (the test is only given once a year, for those who don't know). ^_^;;

Photos of the university:
A building near the main entrance to Tokyo Institute of Technology. TIT is just a stone's throw away from Ookayama Station on the Tokyu Oimachi line.

The Level 1 test takers heading back home after the test. It was really cold today... and it started to rain, to boot.

A statue on the school grounds... don't know who he is though.

Roppongi Hills

In late November, my girlfriend and I went to see "Corpse Bride," the stop-motion animated film by Tim Burton, at Toho Theaters in Roppongi Hills. Below are some photos of the complex and Tokyo Tower.

Tokyo Tower

The Mori Building

The lit garden at night

The outdoor area and entrance to TV Asahi's building

Tokyo Tower at night as seen from Roppongi Hills

Howl's Moving Castle

The DVD for Howl's Moving Castle, the animated movie by Hayao Miyazaki, went on sale with a big fanfare all across Japan in mid November. At Kawasaki Station's underground shopping complex, they had a huge "Howl's" promotion. Photos:

Of course, I bought the special DVD set, which came with 4 DVDs and a 1/24 second film still from the movie. My 1/24:

Kyoto, Fall 2005

Went to Kyoto with my gf in mid November; unfortunately, the autumn foilage was just starting to change and it was overcast most of the time so it wasn't as quite as nice as I'd hoped it would be. However, it was really nice, and I got to see places I hadn't been to before on my first visit 4 years ago.

There were Tezuka Osamu figures on top of information booths at Kyoto Station (the one pictured is Tetsuwan Atom, or Astroboy, as it is known outside Japan).

Nijo-jou (Nijo Castle) was the castle built by the Tokugawa Shoguns in case they needed to visit Kyoto. The buildings themselves were quite low to the ground (I'd imagined a tiered castle), but what was interesting was the beautiful gardens. There are two major gardens: Ninomaru Garden (next to Ninomaru Palace, where the Shogun's quarters were) and Seiryu-en, which is a relatively newly made garden. The above Seiryu-en's bamboo grove and watermill.

The famous Golden Pavillion (Kinkakuji). It was soooo crowded there that it was difficult to enjoy the view. The structure is also a lot smaller than I had imagined (I'd thought it would be huge).
A tree in the wooded area behind Kinkakuji.
Our last stop on our first day in Kyoto was a night visit to Kiyomizu-dera, a beautiful temple that was lit up at night. You wouldn't believe how many people were there on a Sunday night.
The next morning, we went to Heian-jingu, a shrine built during the Meiji era. It's a big complex and the shinto gates (torii) are huge also. Pictured is one wing of the shrine building.
Next, we went to Nanzenji. We were struck by the arched waterway (aquaducts?).
We then went to another temple nearby called Konchi-in, then headed toward Kodaiji, and I saw this beautiful fruiting tree... don't know what these are, though.
From Kodaiji, a temple dedicated to Kita-no-Mandokoro, the wife of the great general Toyotomi Hideyoshi, you can see the giant Kannon statue at a neighboring temple complex... but I don't know the name of the place. ^_^;;
This last photo is of me at Toji, the biggest (I think) pagoda in Japan. The temple buildings next to it hold giant sized Buddhist/Hindu statues.

These are just a few select photos; when I have time, I'll upload the complete collection to my main website,