Monday, July 11, 2011

Is is a white blood cell? Sculpture seen in Tokyo Midtown Tower.

Today we thought it would be fun to visit some places in Roppongi, which has some of the newest development in Tokyo & is probably the most westernised area of Tokyo as well. I also wanted to buy some manga, so we decided to head back to the area of Shinjuku where we started our trip so I could go to the Kinokuniya book store. Plus, we could go back to Takashimaya’s basement floor & buy yummy stuff for dinner again. 
On our first trip to Japan in 2007, we spent about a week in an apartment in Roppongi. The apartment was really nice, located right around the corner from the Russian Embassy in fact, but we had a hard time feeling like we were actually in Japan there because all of the restaurants & stores nearby were international food places. We couldn’t find Japanese food for anything. And we never really saw any of the sights in Roppongi, although, according to the guidebook, some of the places we visited today were still being built 4 years ago. 
We spent the day riding the Oedo line, which we caught a few blocks away at the Akahanebashi station. It was just 2 stops to the Tokyo Midtown Tower section of Roppongi, full of very tall, glassy buildings.

 We made a short stop at Starbucks there to refuel, then found a map to guide us to the National Art Centre, Tokyo. They had an exhibit of impressionist & post-impressionist paintings on loan from the National Gallery in Washington, DC that we thought looked good. It was! 

First of all, the building is really cool, full of glass facades & cone-shapes.

 The exhibit was wonderful, too, & we saw Manets, Monets, Renoirs, Van Goghs, & Cassats. The gift shop was really fun, too :) 
Some of the cafes were on top of these multi-storey cones.
Taking a break in the museum lobby.
The cafes at the museum really filled-up at lunch time, so we went back to the Midtown Tower & found a tenpura restaurant for lunch. 

Then we found our way back to Roppongi station & rode 4 more stops to Shinjuku. 

We got a bit turned around there, but asked directions at yet another Starbucks & were soon in familiar territory. While I went book shopping Charlie & Brendan went in search of food. By the time we met-up again my feet were getting really tired & I was carrying a lot of heavy books, so we made the long walk back to Shinjuku station, found our platform, & enjoyed the ride back to Akahanebashi station. About 15 minutes later we were back at the apartment & ready to relax. 
We caught up on some of the new anime on my laptop while we rested. I’ve been making mugi cha (cold barley tea) since we got here, & it really hit the spot after our long day out & about. As the sun was setting, Charlie noticed that Fuji-san was visible again, so he got another good picture. 

Tomorrow we’re meeting Momo & her friend Hiroko at Kamakura for a day in that historic town.

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