as promised here is part two of my Japan trip. I really should have written it down shortly after I was there, but that can’t be helped now. Let’s go through the highlight reel of the trip:
In the Tokyo subway, they play birds chirping from the loudspeakers, which struck me as weird, but it’s actually quite nice. The funny thing is that since Yokohama is by the sea, those bird sounds are sea gulls in Yokohama. While Chiara was at the conference, Armin and I visited the Mitsubishi Industrial Museum.
They had one of these “stick your head through and take a photo” suits, which of course I had to try. All the pictures with the camera were not as good as the ones taken with the phone: I had the flash on with the camera, so you cannot see that my face was illuminated with blue light that is supposed to be the reflection from the earth.
Since we had a car, we were able to drive around and visit some cool places that don’t get as many tourists. Here we were in Ito, staying at a traditional style hotel.
As you can see, there are tatami mats in the room (which apparently are also used as a unit to measure the size of a flat) and we are having some authentic dinner.
Of course practically sleeping on the floor made me turn every half hour, when one of my limbs had fallen asleep and I needed to get the circulation going again :)
One of the famous old castles, that contained a from the outside hidden “dark” floor without windows.
On this floor, all the ammunition and supplies were kept. Going up, the stairs became progressively steeper, which was a bit of a problem for me in the end.
I guess they didn’t build them for tall people with backpacks.
Snow Monkey Park
My favourite part of the vacation was the snow monkey park. I was taking pictures of the monkeys, that were some five meters away, but when I walked on, I almost stepped on one of the monkeys, who sat right in front of me. I did not expect how close they come.
Since this is a park where it is strictly forbidden to feed the monkeys, they mostly ignore the tourists and do their own things. It was a very cool experience that way.
On the way back, I had a four hour layover in London. That seemed like a lot of time to me, so I took the Paddington Express to meet up with my friend Trent. When I arrived and walked around London, I thought “Oh, wow, I am home again”. After living there for five years, I have now been away for over two years, but it still exerts that pull on me.
Back at the airport, Verona Pooth (German celebrity, who also had a guest role in the 1998 Conan TV series) and her husband sat down opposite of me. Since she was wearing sun glasses, I figured she did not want to be disturbed. It’s kind of funny how celebrities always wear sun glasses as a sort of cloaking device. Of course everybody still recognizes them, but I guess they’ll still not want to be pestered for autographs when they are “in disguise”.
Overall it was a really good vacation, but since few people speak english in Japan, Tokyo has just been removed from my “places where I would like to live” list.