DAY 9 - LOCAL MARKET, AKIHABRA, ROPPONGI & MIDTOWN

Some of the essentials required touristing when it up in Tokyo, minus my camera. The mobile wifi dongle thing was a life saver. Being able to use data on the go where ever and whenever made getting about and finding places easy, almost like being at home.

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I got up early Sunday morning and went for a walk, I wanted to check out the Yoyogi National Gymnasium which is famous for its suspension roof design. It was designed by Kenzo Tange and built between 1961 and 1964 to house swimming and diving events in the 1964 Summer Olympics. Tange also designed a cathedral which is built in a similar way, but I wasn't able to plan in time to check it out, so a stroll around the National Gymnasium would have to do instead.

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I stumbled across a street party / local market which was filled with families and people out for the day. There were plenty of stalls selling food and other items, whilst a group of older people in kimonos were preparing for performance.

 

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Sunday league football in the park, like being back at home.
Below: Two guys wearing wacky shirts and bandanas, bashing dough with a giant mallet. Less like home.

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I ended up back at Harajuku station, where Otis Deley from the gadget show was filming, and I also saw this epic bus on my way back to the apartment.

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A late breakfast was consumed and we headed off to Akihabara to check out the geek temples.

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Each building stretches across many floors, with each floor having its own theme; collectors cards, vinyl toys, computer games, manga books and comics. Every kind of collectable is represented here, whatever you can think of you can get.

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You would never see this many young guys in bookshop in England. Not sure if its to do with the subject matter of these books?!

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Other things that Akihabara has plenty of is Maid Cafes and Pachinko Parlours. Heading into a Pachinko Parlour we didn't last very long, the noise is crazy and the game (if you can call it that) is incomprehensible.

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A tomato conference. No further comment.
Now time to board another train, and we headed over to Roppongi and Midtown.

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Designed by the internationally renowned architect, Kisho Kurokawa, the undulating glass façade of the National Art Center is extremely impressive.

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Moving from the muesum we stumbled across the gardens of the The Park Residences at The Ritz-Carlton, with everyone sat outside in the sunshine. All very civilised, and unexpected right in the centre of the city.

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So this happened next. The full set of mario kart characters racing down the main road in go-karts. Amazing.
Also make sure you always carry your dog in carrier bags when tarvelling in lifts.

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Another day, another skyscraper to go up! Went up to the roof/helipad this time and it really is a completely different experience being outside, on the very top of the building. Windy and cold. Rewarded ourselves afterwards with a couple of beers in the bar downstairs.

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