After picking up a couple of heavenly sandwiches from the Family Mart downstairs, we enjoyed them in the brisk morning outside an after school classroom names WAC. Then we decided that it wasn’t enough, and had seconds at a 24-7 McDonald’s filled with trendy youngsters who probably didn’t go home all night. I spotted this girl brushing her teeth right at her dining table – it was sure reassuring that Japan’s crazy partiers cared about their dental hygiene.
Today’s destination was Odaiba, an artificial island in Tokyo Bay that had been developed into a vacation hotspot. We took a train to Shimbashi first, and transferred to a special tram on rubber wheels that took us across the famous Rainbow Bridge.
We were short on Yen this morning, and started quite an adventure. Our hotel had a very cool currency exchange vending machine, but it had the stinkiest rate since we left JFK (didn’t I say it was American-like?). Then we found a large post office offering this service, but the banking section was closed on weekends. The PO directed us to a nearby bank that did business on Saturdays but wasn’t gonna open for another hour, and we didn’t feel like sitting around for that long. So when we got off at Odaiba and spotted a large hotel, I was overjoyed that it was willing to exchange money for us despite not having us as a guest. I’d have been a lot happier though if we didn’t walk by a freestanding currency exchange counter in the mall, five minutes later, that offered a better rate…
The three entertainment complexes at Odaiba were named Aqua City, Decks, and Pallette Town, and were the majority of attractions. Two of them were on the shore facing Tokyo, and provided great view of the bay, Rainbow Bridge, and the knock-off Statue of Liberty.
(that’s right… a Statue of Liberty!)
Pallette Town was perhaps the most interesting of them all, complete with a ferris wheel, a Venice-themed shopping mall, and Mega Web, a huge Toyota museum. Mega Web not only had a collection of most vehicles in the Toyota family (except the Lexus LF-A), it also had some concept cars, an auto-drive track, and a motor sports course. Too bad we didn’t speak Japanese, or we might’ve signed up for some of those activities.
(it’s okay to keep a dog in your bag like those silly New Yorkers, just make sure we can’t see it!)
Our lunch was at a tonkatsu specialty restaurant. While I wasn’t a big fan of the Japanese fried pork cutlet, they served thed most delicious salad that I’ve experienced. It was as simple as thin-sliced cabbage topped with a citrus-based sweet dressing, but it was likely the only raw vegetable that I’d happily eat for a whole meal.
Dinner was going to be at Little Hong Kong, two entire floors within Decks decorated like the 1950s HK and filled with supposedly authentic Cantonese restaurants. However, the plan was messed up by the large dessert that we ate in the late afternoon. We’re in Asia now so it’s not unmanly to say this… I LOVE THE DESSERTS HERE! Back in the US I usually labeled myself as disliking sweet stuff, but this trip made me realize that the fact was that American desserts suck! Parfaits in Japan were especially amazing and I cried for them on a daily basis. So when we came across this gigantic parfait complete with an ice cream cone, a pudding (flan), and a pineapple slice, I knew we weren’t leaving the country without it.
(that’s right… this was the only thing besides the Kinkakuji getting three pictures posted :D)