Monday, August 1, 2016

2016 Japan Vacation, Days 10-11: Back to Tokyo, then on to Yokohama

We left beautiful Hokkaido on Sunday, taking the shinkansen (bullet train) back to Tokyo.

When we arrived in Tokyo station, we explored Tokyo Character Street, a portion of the station that has shops of different characters including Pokémon, among others. It was a bit of a culture shock to be back in crowded Tokyo after being in serene Hokkaido for five days. We took a quick look around the Character Street, and then took the subway back to Kai's grandparents' place and relaxed the rest of the evening, eating Domino's pizza and watching Japanese television.

The news show had a discussion of the current American presidential race. They used figures of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in a sumo ring to illustrate their commentary.

It was funny when their commentary talked about their respective strengths and weaknesses, the figures would move forward or backward from the middle of the sumo ring to the edge.

On Monday morning we left the apartment at 7AM to take the subway to Tokyo Skytree where we had a 9AM reservation. As we walked to the subway, Kai turned on phone to play Pokémon Go and found out that the game had been reset and he appeared to have lost all of his Pokemon that he had collected over the past three weeks. Needless to say, he was very upset. I tried to calm him by telling him that I would research to find out what happened and see if we could recover his progress.

We boarded the very crowded subway train. This time, we were careful not to ride on the Women Only car, ha! I wanted to take a picture of how crowded it was, but couldn't really get my camera out to take a good shot. While we were riding, though, I did manage to surf the internet on my phone and found out that Kai wasn't the only one upset about losing their Pokémon Go game. Apparently an upgrade caused the same problem for everyone. But after more searching, I found an apparent solution. I later was able to try the fix on Kai's phone, and fortunately it worked.

Meanwhile, we made it to the Skytree in time for our appointed time. Tokyo Skytree is the tallest tower in the world.

We rode up to the main observation deck and had great 360 degree views of the entire city. The following photo shows Tokyo Dome in the background toward the right, and Tokyo Tower faintly toward the left.

The view from the Skytree was very nice. It is along the Sumida River and I thought the view was better than from Tokyo Tower.

My father-in-law took the following photo of us:

Afterward we explored the adjacent shopping mall.

They had a new Pokémon Center.

Kai enjoyed this store where you can virtually "try on" the face masks they sell.

We found refreshing drinks sold in bottles the shape of the Skytree.

I also had time to apply the fix to the Pokémon Go problem and Kai was very happy.

After that, we went to Kappabashi, a street that is known as Kitchen Town as it is lined with shops that supply restaurants.

The shop below specialises in selling the fake food that restaurants in Japan display in their windows.

There were also shops that sold pots, cutlery, utensils, signs, chairs, tables, aprons, appliances, and Japanese lanterns, among other things.

It's funny, there were tons of shops selling to restaurants but very few actual restaurants in the area. We did find this one small spot where Kai and I had tempura while my wife and father-in-law had sushi.

Later in the afternoon, we all took the train and made the one hour journey to Yokohama, Japan's second largest city.

Yokohama has Japan's largest Chinatown.

We chose a restaurant for dinner. Kai had a lychee drink.

We had a good dinner, having Peking duck, barbecue pork, and fried shrimp, among other things.

Afterward we walked around and popped into some of the shops. Kai was amused by this panda that repeated things that it hears.

Finally, it was time to go to our hotel. We went down to the subway where a train was waiting with the doors open. While the rest of us paused as we were not sure that was the right train, Kai walked on and before we knew it, the doors started to close. My wife was nearest the train and managed to stick her umbrella between the closed doors and started to scream. They opened the door and we pulled Kai out, averting disaster. We were all upset; my wife sternly scolded Kai for walking on the train ahead of us. Kai was upset at nearly being left behind.

I asked Kai what he would have done if the train had left without us. He said he did not know. I told him that he needed to stay calm and think things through. One thing he could do is get off at the next stop and wait for us. Another is to use the phone he uses for Pokémon Go to call us. Hopefully he can remember these things if anything ever does happen.

It took Kai a while to calm down after that near disaster, but we had one other thing we wanted to do that evening. We wanted to ride the giant ferris wheel. We had to rush over there as it was getting near closing time and Kai needed time to calm down first, but we made it in time.

Kai was afraid to ride, but seemed to settle down after awhile. The view was quite spectacular.

Here's a view of the ferris wheel from the ground. The wheel changes color constantly.

It had a been a long day, a hot day, and at times a stressful day. But a good one all in all. Still it was good to finally relax. Back in our hotel room, we enjoyed panda-decorated Japanese pastries while viewing the ferris wheel.


  1. You had a great couple of days. I had heard about the Pokemon debacle on the radio today. I immediately thought of Kai. Fortunately, you were able to fix it. Apparently, the company programmers wanted to keep the third party developers from allowing players to use apps which allow users to shortcut the process of finding the creatures in some fashion.

    The Skytree must have a very beautiful night view. The Ferris Wheel must have been a lot of fun. What a nice hotel room.

    I can hardly wait to hear about more of your Japan adventure.

    1. I hadn't heard the background story of the big glitch with the app so it was interesting to hear what was the reason behind it. Hopefully they will test future updates better.

      The night view at the ferris wheel was quite nice so I imagine that Skytree would be fantastic at night. It was fun to see our hotel from the ferris wheel, and then to see the ferris wheel from the hotel.


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