日本での一年間

August 31, 2008

Asakusa Samba Festival (Part 2-Spectators)

Filed under: Events — myyearinjapan @ 1:01 pm

As promised, more pictures from the Asakusa Samba festival!
The theme of this post: spectators. The other people who were standing around watching the people in the crazy outfits.
Reminder: my view was not very good. It was packed with people and we got there just before it started. So, the blurs on the edges of the photographs, those are the people in front of me, blocking my view. Sorry about that.
Enjoy!

girl in front of me who was sitting on someones shoulders. She kept turning around to make little side comments to someone.

girl in front of me who was sitting on someone's shoulders. She kept turning around to make little side comments to someone.

Man videotaping the parade

Man videotaping the parade

People watch from the roof of a 100 yen store

People watch from the roof of a 100 yen store

policeman. wearing a plastic bag over his hat in case of rain.

policeman. wearing a plastic bag over his hat in case of rain.

A different rooftop spectator who was on the 100 yen shop sometime after the people in the previous photo

A different rooftop spectator who was on the 100 yen shop sometime after the people in the previous photo

people standing ont he sideline. Note the woman carrying the umbrella who has her face hidden by a fan. It was sorching hot that day. many people had hand towels sitting on their heads.

people standing ont he sideline. Note the woman carrying the umbrella who has her face hidden by a fan. It was sorching hot that day. many people had hand towels sitting on their heads.

man with a telephoto lens SLR

man with a telephoto lens SLR

Asakusa Samba Festival (Part 1)

Filed under: Events — myyearinjapan @ 10:02 am

I went to the Asakusa Samba festival yesterday. (For more on Asakusa, click here.) I’m going to put up the pictures in more than one post because I have a lot of them. This post is mostly people in extravagant costumes. Other pictures to follow as soon as I have time to post them.

By the way, my view was not very good. It was packed with people and we got there just before it started. So, the blurs on the edges of the photographs, those are the people in front of me, blocking my view. Sorry about that.

August 30, 2008

Disater Prevention Center

Filed under: Tokyo places — myyearinjapan @ 3:29 pm

I visited one of the disaster prevention centers in Tokyo recently through my language school to learn about what to do in different types of disasters. (I don’t really have pictures of the actual stuff we did though, just the place. sorry!) We watched a cheesy 3-D movie dramatizing a magnitude 7 earthquake in Tokyo. (I guess it was a 4-D movie actually because our seats shook during the earthquake part of the film.) After that, we experiences simulations of emergencies.
First, a typhoon. We put on some intense rain gear and stood in a room, hanging onto some posts, while we got pelted by lots of water and a wind machine blasted us with air. It was kind of silly.
Second, we crawled through a maze with fake smoke above our heads. Even though it was fake, the smoke still made me cough, but they told us it wasn’t actually harmful. In the maze, if you stood up above a certain height, a woman’s voice would yell at you to crouch lower.
Third, we did an earthquake simulation. We went into a room that was set on a platform and the platform shook to simulate a magnitude 7 earthquake.
Last, we got to use fire extinguishers to put out a fake fire on a TV screen (which I assume had some special insulated glass in front of it to prevent the electronics from getting wet). That was fun.
You can get an idea of what I did a little more from the website of the disaster prevention center. Most of the website is in Japanese, but this page has some short descriptions in English and pictures.
Disaster Prevention Center – Life Safety Learning Center

Some pictures of the outside:

Disaster Prevention Center

Disaster Prevention Center

Disaster Prevention Center

Disaster Prevention Center

Disaster Prevention Center. I think they were testing out the fire truck or training or something.

Disaster Prevention Center. I think they were testing out the fire truck or training or something.

August 29, 2008

How to wash your hands

Filed under: Strange — myyearinjapan @ 7:42 am

I found these rather complicated directions for washing one’s hands at a McDonalds in Ikebukuro.
Sorry that it’s all in Japanese!

The top says: Let’s wash our hands before we eat!

hand washing directions

hand washing directions

August 27, 2008

Packed train

Filed under: seikatsu — myyearinjapan @ 10:46 pm

Yesterday, when I got to the train station on my way to school, I saw huge crowds of people waiting for the train on the platform. Apparently there was an accident somewhere on the line, but I don’t know what kind of accident. Anyway, trains were coming every 7 or 8 minutes instead of every 2 minutes. Usually, while one train leaves the station, the lights go off to say another train is arriving soon. I’d never seen the trains as packed as they were this morning. So many people were stuffing themselves into the train.

People brace themselves to avoid falling out of the rather overstuffed train

People brace themselves to avoid falling out of the rather overstuffed train

the doors to that train somehow manage to close without closing on anyone

the doors to that train somehow manage to close without closing on anyone

The train going the other way, leaving the city. So empty, you could even get a seat...

The train going the other way, leaving the city. So empty, you could even get a seat...

August 26, 2008

Penguins in Akihabara

Filed under: Strange, Yamanote-Sen — myyearinjapan @ 1:21 pm

I kept hearing people reference “the penguins in Akihabara,” and found it strange. Penguins? In the electronics district?

I finally asked someone to show me the penguins and it’s true! An ice cream shop keeps some penguins in their front window. I doubt it’s the best place to keep penguins though…

penguins

penguins

August 24, 2008

Tokyo Dome

Filed under: Tokyo places — myyearinjapan @ 2:55 pm

The other day I went to the Tokyo Dome, where the Yomiuri Giants baseball team plays and where there are also many concerts.

Some things I saw at Tokyo Dome:

A 7-11 and a starbucks. American commercialims is inescapable..

A 7-11 and a starbucks. American commercialism is inescapable..

Tokyo dome hotel

Tokyo dome hotel

The Tokyo Dome itself

The Tokyo Dome itself

The amusement park at the Tokyo Dome

The amusement park at the Tokyo Dome

A red carpet...

A red carpet...

Hancock is coming out in Japan soon. Apparently, a few hours after we were there, Will Smith and the other actors from Hancock made an appearance at Tokyo Dome!

Hancock is coming out in Japan soon. Apparently, a few hours after we were there, Will Smith and the other actors from Hancock made an appearance at Tokyo Dome!

This doesnt exactly fit with the Tokyo Dome pictures, but it was right across the street. Its called the Tokyo Green Hotel, but it seems to need a new coat of paint...

This doesn't exactly fit with the Tokyo Dome pictures, but it was right across the street. It's called the Tokyo Green Hotel, but it seems to need a new coat of paint...

Kabuki

Filed under: Events, Tokyo places — myyearinjapan @ 8:48 am

I went to see a kabuki play! (2 actually. And Kabuki is a kind of traditional Japanese theatre performance, by the way.) My Japanese isn’t good enough to understand it (of course), but I had a little earphone that told me what was going on in English. The earphone thing wasn’t all that great though because instead of translating what the actors were saying, it summarized their lines and actions. And it had no emotion, so it made the whole play feel flatter. And for the second play, the English was not timed right and it kept telling me what was gong to happen long before it happened on stage. I was actually kind of falling asleep at parts, but I’m glad I went and had the experience. I still enjoyed it.

Anyway, I don’t have any pictures of the plays, but I have some pictures of the theatre.

Kabuki stage

Kabuki stage

August 23, 2008

Vending machines

Filed under: Interesting, Strange, vending machines — myyearinjapan @ 9:31 am

Japan has vending machines for all kinds of things. Of course, it has the expected drink vending machines and food vending machines. (Although, unlike in the states, the drink vending machines don’t just sell soda and water. They also sell various teas, canned coffee, and alcohol too.) I also see a lot of ice cream vending machines and cigarette vending machines. I’ve heard of (but never seen) all sorts of vending machines selling things such as fresh flowers or groceries. If I ever see one of these, I’ll certainly post pictures here.

These are a couple of the interesting vending machines that I have seen.

Umbrella vending machine

Umbrella vending machine

Battery vending machine

Battery vending machine

Battery vending machine close-up

Battery vending machine close-up

August 20, 2008

Crowded Odaiba

Filed under: Events, Tokyo places — myyearinjapan @ 1:36 pm

Odaiba is a newer area of Tokyo built on an artificial island. One of the major TV stations (Fuji TV) has their headquarters there and, during the second half of July and all of August, they have a big festival. You can pose with (statues of) characters from your favorite TV shows, buy merchandise, wait in long lines to play games based on the shows, hear live music, etc. Despite the fact that I went on a weekday, it was insanely crowded. And that didn’t really make the 33 degree heat (91 F) and blazing hot sun any more comfortable. We paid about $15 each to get the privilege to walk through these crazy crowds and wait in lines and bake in the sun.

On the way to Odaiba, we rode the Mag Lev train. No conductor, no tracks ( or at least not in the same sense as other trains). The train is moved along by magnets.
The view from the train:

Rainbow Bridge on the way to Odaiba

Rainbow Bridge on the way to Odaiba

Rainbow Bridge again

Rainbow Bridge again

View from the train

View from the train

Fuji TV building

Fuji TV building

Crowds at Fuji TV - this picture doesnt even begin to show how packed that place was

Crowds at Fuji TV - this picture doesn't even begin to show how packed that place was

The Colonel at Fuji TV. KFC is all over Japan, along with McDonalds

The Colonel at Fuji TV. KFC is all over Japan, along with McDonalds

Back of Fuji TV Building

Back of Fuji TV Building

Miniature Statue of Liberty with Rainbow Bridge in the background

Miniature Statue of Liberty with Rainbow Bridge in the background

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