Friday, September 18, 2009

Odaiba and Sumo

So, I'm sorry for not posting in a few days, but I've been busy, as I'm sure you've guessed. I got to meet the one other exchange student that's going to my college, and the day before yesterday, we went to Odaiba, which is the man-made island out in the bay southeast of here. She was so much fun to be with and I'm glad I found a fellow adventurous soul to hang out with here in one of the most amazing cities in the world. For reference, how to get to Odaiba: Get on the JR Yamanote line bound for Tokyo station and get off at the Shimbashi Station. From there, exit like you're going to the Ginza line, and you'll see signs for the Yurikamome monorail, which will take you over the bay and out to Odaiba (the trains don't run out there). Then, get off at the Odaiba Kaihenkoen exit, and to your right are the malls, amusement parks and Fuji TV, and to the left is the Ferris Wheel (105 km) and the Toyota showroom, which has cars that drive themselves on a track. We went to the dock and saw a magnificent view of Rainbow Bridge, then we took some pictures of the Statue of Liberty that they have there (the same as ours only smaller, and the back of her hair is done like a Geisha's), and then, my favorite part of the trip, we went to the Fuji TV building. You can use the magical escalator (it is steps, then straightens itself out, then goes back to steps without you having to move) to the main entrance at the top. If you pay a small fee, you can go up into the ball thing, where I believe there is a store, though I'm chep, so we didn't. They do have a store on the main level though, too, with merchandise for their various anime, variety shows and dramas (though usually just the current dramas airing), which got me all excited 'cause I'm such a drama nerd. After a purchase there, we exited on different escalators to our right, which take you down to another level, and inside are like halls of information and memorabilia about their various shows, sets for taking fan photos, and even windows where you can overlook sound stages, when they're shooting. That place was really fun, and we spent a lot of time there, and afterwards we wandered over to the left side of the Island where there is the Ferris Wheel (Hello Kitty talks to you in English), the Toyota showroom (worth a breeze through, even if you don't like cars), the Zepp Tokyo concert hall (for all your Jrock concert needs), and a freaking awesome arcade that has absolutely everything. To get back, we took a ferry ($4.60), and got to see the city by night on the top deck of the ferry. It was absolutely breathtaking, but unfortunately, my camera battery had died earlier on, so I didn't get any pics of that. The boat drops you a ways from the station, but if you follow the masses of people, you'll be alright, and you get onto the JR line to get back.

Also, yesterday I went with my host parents to a sumo match, which was quite lucky, because every year they switch where the matches take place, and they only do it for a few months every year, so I was in the right place at the right time. Just a few interesting facts: most Sumo wrestlers nowadays are Mongolian, the stage is made entirely of sand and the Shinto god supposedly resides there, so women are not allowed on stage, also because of this, the sumo wrestlers throw salt out to purify the ring every time before they enter it. Before the matches between very famous wrestlers, boys with banners will come on stage and walk around with their banners, which are actually the names of sponsors who are putting up money (usually $100 I think) for whoever wins the match, and after the match is over, the wrestlers wait in their corners for the next wrestler, and give him water to drink that supposedly passes his power onto the new guy. Anyways, you probably know what sumo looks like, so I won't go into detail, but it was actually quite fun to watch. And afterwards, I got to witness what a real busy train is like. There were so many people that there were no more handles, and you were literally standing upright thanks to everyone around you, so when you lurched because the train starts moving, you can't fall because there are so many people, there's no where to go. I'm not looking forward to ever do that again. Anyways, so that's the news of the last two days, and I'll catch up with everyone again soon. More pics uploaded on my photobucket.

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