Monday, November 22, 2010

Japan: Four Cities, Four Days!

I only have an hour until boarding the ship for ten days at sea before reaching Hawaii on December 3rd so I will make this entry short.  The first day I took the Bullet train to Hiroshima.  Teh Bullet train has so much leg room and only took an hour (at 180mph) instead of 5 hours driving or 3 hours by regular train.  Hiroshima was depressing to take in that much information and see so many artifacts about a tramatic event that the US caused.  The museum is surrounded by a gorgeous park filled with Peace Cranes and gardens and the city of Hiroshima is completely rebuilt.  There is one building that still stands from the bomb and the museum has artifacts from children that parents found and melted roof tiles and doors.  There are pictures of people's skin which literally melted off and the atomic bomb obliterated everything in a 4km radius and killed 200,000 people plus thousands more from radiation poisoning.

Kobe is a beautiful city with mountains in the background and filled with countless unique museums: the fashion museum, earthquake technology museum, and Sake breweries & museum.  The leaves are changing colors and the weather feels and smells like fall which is a great change from the humid & hot weather of previous countries.  I am happy to experience fall, even if just for a few days before returning home to the cold harsh winter.  Japan is my last international port and I am sad to see the voyage coming to an end, however 10 days of class is going to be dreadful, followed by finals.  Everyone in Japan lives underground I am convinced because there are countless shopping malls underground and cute boutiques and the streets are desolate and quiet.  As I sit in Starbucks I have seen four small dogs clothed in jackets, they are adorable.

I went to Tokyo and visited the Harajuku district where there are countless unique boutiques with outlandish intricate ensembles however they are extremely expensive but everything is gorgeous.  In the Shinjuku district is Times Square, a 14 story shopping center with American stores.  Japan copies the US in so many ways, advertisements have western models advertising similar clothes and four-story H&M's & Forever 21's line the streets, much larger than any of their stores in the US.  Starbucks are on every corner as well, however their winter flavors are different: I am drinking a Caramel Eclair Latte.  Also Japan is overly decorated for Christmas and English Christmas music fills the streets.  Bubble Tea in the US tastes the same as the authentic in Asia.  There are Crepe vendors everywhere with delicious crepes, savory or sweet, and wrapped tightly so you can eat them on the go: I had strawberry with vanilla icecream.

Yokohama is home to the Ramen Museum but sadly it is closed on Tuesdays.  The Olympic Stadium is in front of me as I sit at Starbucks and Cosmo World is across town: an amusement park on the harbor with a giant ferris wheel.  The streets are quiet but the city resembles Philadelphia: the old section with brick sidewalks and colonial & renaissance architecture.  I do not feel like I am in a city of 4 million people.

Building that survived the Atomic Bomb: the copper on the rough melted before the bomb detinated.

One of the many Christmas displays: Moby Dick

Hello Kitty Vending Machine: Arcades line the streets in Tokyo.
Entrance to the Harajuku District
One of the many delicious Crepe Vendors

Sample of a boutique in Harajuku

No comments:

Post a Comment