Sunday, February 28, 2010

Visiting the future in the Ginza in Tokyo

This building is the Sony building in the Ginza in Tokyo. Photos are allowed in many places of the building, but not in the most interesting part. They have on display three different 3-D televisions. After seeing the televisions, I can say that I'm not interested in having a 3-D television in the home, though I'm a bit of a Luddite. They did have a gaming system set up that was neat. Each of the systems required special glasses and the people showing the systems kept telling us to move more to the center so that we could see it in 3-D.

The television above was 2.2 centimeters. It spins around so you can measure it for yourself.
Visitors are encouraged to try out many of the products. I liked trying the waterproof camera above. I tried it out several times.
This was a camera that took video 360-degrees. It had a funny name... "Bloggie".
I couldn't make many of these cameras do much of anything.
Some kind of GPS thingy.
These are musical stairs. When we first got there, the stairs played different animal noises for each stair. The video I took was after it switched to musical notes.

On one of the floors they had home theaters set up with various things playing. That floor was kind of fun, but not very visual. It's free to roam about the multi-level building.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Tokyo at night

Tokyo skyline at dusk.
Lady Liberty keeping watch over Tokyo. I have this very photo 6 zillion times, but it's never been so pretty!
I've posted photos of these places before, but they were all daytime pictures. I finally went out at night. Turns out Tokyo's kind of pretty at night. Above is right outside of Big Site.
Hachiko, the loyal doggie.
Shibuya Crossing.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Olympic Pride in Tokyo

We were in the Ginza area of Tokyo today when we saw a rather large group of people gathered outside in the rain. They were watching the Olympics on a television screen outside.
I thought it was neat because I don't recall seeing the same thing in America. I think they were watching a Japanese figure skater. I couldn't get close enough to see.

Tokyo Marathon Expo 2010

So, here we are again... one year later for the Tokyo Marathon 2010 Expo. It's at the Big Site in the Tokyo. This is also where the finish is for Sunday's race.
Raisins will be available at various points along the race courtesy of the "Raisin Administrative Committee." I didn't know there was such a think until I looked them up online and an English site popped up.

The map above is really cool... it's rubber like and 3-d. You just have to show your race number to get it. On the other side of the booth is a 3-d map you use with 3-d glasses.
Marathon treats complete with the 2010 Marathon logo. Sweet!
Several of the shoe companies had really complex looking biomechanics analysis machines to analyze various ways that their shoes can fix what ails you.
Shoe tying competition. It doesn't matter if you win or lose, everyone gets a prize for trying. The prize is a cardboard train car box with a prize inside. Our prize was a microwave pasta cooker.
My thought was, get my picture taken here and skip the pain of Sunday! No one will ever know!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Beautiful Oshima.... part of it at least.

These pictures are from two days traveling to Oshima in the Nagasaki Prefecture. We first found it on a drive there, liked it so much that we went back the next day!

It costs 300-yen, each way, to cross the bridge over to Oshima. I took the photo above from a good size park on the Oshima side of the bridge.
That first picture on the blog was taken from a children's forest... or something like that. There was the beautiful overlook and a .4 kilometer trail down to a beautiful beach. Just remember that what goes down, must hike back up!
Almost to the beach!
Oysters on the rock.
The beach.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

いこいの広場 Ikoi no Hiroba

The drive to reach Ikoi no Hiroba is beautiful. You'll see signs for it if you drive south just past Kawatana Town. There is construction up that way, so I wasn't sure where exactly the area is.
I took the two photos above from the road and kept driving in search of parking to get a better look.
I ended up parking about 800 meters down the road in front of a trail map. There was what looked like a very overgrown road that kind of matched up with the trail map. The map showed a 1.2 kilometer hike down to the river, but I couldn't figure it out. It may have been over my skill level of hiking, or it wasn't really the right trail.
I went home and researched it more. Apparently, there was a typhoon that came through the area in 2004 and destroyed Ikoi no Hiroba and they have been working to restore it ever since there. There was a sign pointing down to the river and that it was a 10 minute hike. I think that sign was posted pre-typhoon because there was no trail there.

Like I mentioned before, the drive was gorgeous! You'll drive through many tea fields like the ones above.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Nice day for two nice parks.

I think the forecast was originally for rain today. Glad it was wrong. We went hunting for parks today. The first one is the Nagasaki Prefecture Athletic Park in Ishahaya. It is close to Megane Bashi (megane meaning eyeglasses and bashi meaning bridge). We had seen the park coming home from Unzen last weekend but couldn't check it out because there was a road race going through the park.
It is a very nice park. There are fields for many sports from Gate Ball to Baseball.
The playground is okay by Japan's standards, but nothing spectacular.
There is a full size locomotive as well as smaller size firetrucks that are open for kids (and adults) to climb all over.

The park features a pretty nice looking swimming pool complete with a water slide and what looked to be a lazy river.
The park above is Central Park in Kawatana Cho in the Nagasaki Prefecture.
This park has walking trails, ball fields, tennis courts, and a playground as well. It was such a beautiful day today that this park gets high marks just for being there. It was very nice to walk around.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Unzen National Park and Ropeway

"Mt. Unzendake is a mountain comprised of several volcanoes." That is according to a sign that greets visitors to the National Park Unzen. Unzen was also designated Japan's first national park.
You can walk all throughout the park on these paths. It was cold the day we visited, but the walking paths were heated... naturally. I could be wrong, but it looked as if the Visitor Center was harnessing the natural power of the steam to heat the center. I didn't see anyone working in the center, but it was still open to look around.
Unzen is a relatively short, and very beautiful, drive from Nagasaki, Japan. Once you reach the top of the mountain, you'll need to find parking. Parking was kind of hard to come by and not very cheap. There are plenty of alternative ways to get up the mountain that may be a better alternative in the heavy tourist seasons. The road up there was also very narrow and winding.
This park is huge!!! I don't know how many walking trails the park has, but you could spend the better part of the day there. This being said, the scenery doesn't change that much from area to area. It is all beautiful.
There are many onsens and hotels in the area.
Hungry? Why not try some fresh steam cooked eggs or potatoes?
When we tried the black sulfur cooked eggs up at Hakone, we were told they brought good luck. These may too... why not try some?
Dei Kazan (Muddy Volcano) where muddy soil pushed up from the gas pressure in the steam vents. According the descriptive sign, it shows you on a small scale how a volcano is formed.
The money offerings here were tarnished from the sulfur.
Up the road from the walkways is the Unzen Rope way at Nita Pass. For 610-yen one way, or 1220-yen (if you want to come back down), you can enjoy the ride. The price for kids is half that.
There were low clouds swallowing the cable car, so we opted the skip the ride this time. The woman in the ticket booth told me there was no visibility at the top.
The photo above is a view of Mt. Heisei Shinzan. That is a volcano that last erupted from 1990 - 1995.
I'm a sucker for the above souvenir, so I was happy to find the machine in the rope way ticket building. For 300-yen you buy a coin of your liking. For 30-yen you put it in the stamping machine next to it and stamp your name and the date you visited into the coin. If I ever find my other coins, I'll know that they were money well spent.

Leaving Unzen. You may want to bring a change of clothes. The ones you wear will carry that sulfur smell.
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