Sunday, September 26, 2010

Friday October 8th

The alarm is set to 3:30. AM.
I am going up real early (after just about one hour sleep). For what? Believe it or not, for a fish market - with a tuna auction.

Not that I am that interested in fish really, but supposedly this Tsukiji fish market (largest in the world) with it's auction, is something to look at.

It has become so popular that they had to limit the tourists to 140 per day (imagine that many people go up this early!).
You have to get in line at an office that opens at 4:30. The first 70-group gets to see the auction from 5:00-5:40 and the next 5:40-6:15. I was there exactly 4:30 - and was #65 in the queue.

Then you moved to this cold warehouse where the tuna is laying on the floor (frozen) and they cut it up a little to reveal the meat.
Men look at it...
...and after a while several auctioneers shouts a lot of stuff. And a few minutes later all the fish has been sold.
This place has been selling fish since the early Edo period (16th century) and is still going at it.

It was really a huge place outside the auction house (which was just a small building).
But was it worth going up this early? Hmmm... ask me again in a few weeks when I have forgotten the pain of going up this early, then I might say yes.

After this, back to the hotel again, sleep for an hour - and out again.

Well, about a week ago, I realized that it would be fun to go to an aircraft museum. I've been to a few, but it would be interesting to see a Japanese take on it (with Japanese aircrafts!).
So I looked it up and found one museum, the Tokorozawa Aviation Museum, just outside Tokyo.

And this is where I was headed now (as the only Westerner I could see :)
Apparently Tokorozawa was the place of Japan's first airfield, which started operations 1911.

It held a lot of exhibitions on the theory behind flight and simulators, which was fun, but I have to admit I was a little disappointed.
Pretty much all signs was in Japanese and there weren't that many airplanes - and certainly not many Japanese.

I especially was hoping to see the famous Mitsubishi Zero, but there was none to be seen. :(

Should you be in Japan - and interested in airplanes, I would still suggest you skip this. If you have been to other similar museums, this is just a waste of time.

This short visit also meant that I had a lot of time before the last thing on my list for today, the Ghibli museum (also situated a bit outside Tokyo) at 16.

I still went there to see if I could get in at 14 instead and save a little time, but no such luck. :(
So I had to kill three long hours, doing nothing.

I did take some pictures on the outside in the meantime:
But eventually the clock finally became four, just as I discovered that the batteries on both my camera and my phone had run out. Grrr!!!

So these are all the pictures you get.

Not that I was allowed to take pictures inside, but there were still incredible places where you could take photos.

So how can I describe what's inside this museum? Simple - I can not.
It was amazing - and details everywhere that just stunned you.
I honestly had tears in my eyes, walking around in some of the places just because it was so brilliant.

The theme for this museum is "Let's lose our way, together" and it was just that. Strange and wonderful things to see, do and discover.
Some exhibitions on how film making come to be - and their take on it. How a painter/writer/drawer's office can look like and everywhere there are characters from the films of Ghibli.

They also showed a special "museum-only" short film (15 minutes) about mice that did sumo wrestling (they have several movies that they swap around with with two weeks intervals, about five or six in total).
A small negative thing was that all was in Japanese (also the movie, but you understood perfectly well what happened anyway - I think they thought about that when they made it).
But it didn't take down the overall impression of this museum.

If you are in Tokyo and like any (or many) of the Ghibli movies, you must go to this museum.
It's a bit complicated to get tickets, but it's all explained here.

One problem can be that it's a little expensive. Not the ticket itself, but the shop inside.
I spent easily 1000 SEK here - and I wanted to buy a lot more.

Coming home to my hotel, tired after a long day with almost no sleep, I noticed that my lights have stopped working.
They came up and fixed it (took them long enough) and were very, very sorry. The reception guy came up a bit later with some free tickets to the Spa they have here (not sure I have time for it though, I am too tired today for instance). But a nice gesture.

Anyway, this ties neatly in my Japan fact of the day. Something interesting is that all hotel room I have stayed in (not counting the capsule) has had a flashlight:

My only guess is that it's a precaution if there is an earthquake and the lights go out, but I am not sure.
Interesting though. I don't think I have ever seen it in any other hotel room I have stayed in.

Another thing is that if there is a Bible in the room (as many hotels have), right next to it, there's another book; "The teachings of Buddha".
I like that. :)

Anyway, tomorrow is my last real day here - and I have one Must thing left to do:
See Mount Fuji.

I didn't see it from the World Trade Center nor from other places in or around Tokyo where you usually can see it - and not even from the train going to & from Osaka/Kyoto.
All because of the weather (too much clouds) .

So as a final attempt, I have decided to do the dirty and go on a tourist tour to the mountain itself. Unfortunate the tour takes me to other places I have no interest on and worse; takes a whole day (12 hours) + it costs like 1200 SEK.
But I have to see the mountain! So this I will do tomorrow.
I figured I can always sleep or read during the couch ride.

That is tomorrow. Now is sleep.

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