Wandering Around Tokyo

I spent the day today just wandering around to a few places that I’d wanted to see. It also gave me a chance to get a greater feel for the city.

There are so many people! Everywhere you go, everyone is bustling around, going here and there, shopping, cramming onto the trains, you name it. But for some strange reason, I don’t feel bothered by it at all. Everyone is so polite and goes about their own business. I’ve also never felt safer in such a big city with so many people—that’s a wonderful byproduct of such a homogeneous society, I think. You sort of just have to let the wave of humanity wash over you and around you as you go about your own business. It was actually a lot of fun and very interesting.

I went first to Shinjuku—Japan’s busiest railway station. And it is. Then I went to Shibuya, prime shopping area and home of the “in crowd”. It’s also the spot where 3 different attractions are: the famous Shibuya 109 department store building (which usually pops up in anime as the “108” building); the multi-street intersection where waves of people cross this way and that when the “little blue man” is lit; and the statue of Hachiko, the faithful dog where everyone meets. Hachiko was an Akita owned by a professor living in the area in the 1920s; every day Hachiko would walk to the station to meet her master—including for eleven years after the professor passed away in 1925 until she herself passed away. A classic tale of Japanese faithfulness and sense of duty, and deserving of a monument.

Then it was on to the Nihon Ki’in, or headquarters of the Japan Go Association. It was really exciting to be there—both for the anime connection (Hikaru no Go is my favorite anime) and for my own go playing connections. There’s a small museum there with lots of interesting artifacts. The building and the various floors and areas were immediately recognizable from the HikaGo anime episodes, and I felt like I’d already been there. I bought a few gifts and souvenirs—including the object of my quest, my very own sensu (fan).

The last stop on the itinerary was the Amgen Tokyo Office. It was really fun! I met With Kato-san, and Kimura-san and it was fun speaking with them in my rudimentary Japanese (thanks for your patience—arigatou gozaimashita). I met several other people in the office and even spent a while doing an impromptu EDM Teams Q & A session! It sure would be fun to come visit again on business in an official capacity—all part of my cunning plan…

So that was about it. Tomorrow is the last day for my rail pass, so I’m trying to figure out how to get as far as possible and see some sights—since I’ve already been in the south, I’m going north!

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