May 26, 2004 pt2 – Toyota Megaweb

Smart car 1

After dinner at Saizeriya, we decided to continue our Odaiba adventures with a visit to the Pallet Town shopping area. Pallet Town is an upscale shopping area with a cool European theme. The shopping area was okay, but for us the big attraction was MegaWeb, a giant Toyota showroom and “automobile theme park”. We got to look at and sit in all of the current and upcoming Toyota models including a tiny smart car model. The smart car was a comfortable fit for Code Red and I, but Flounder literally could not fit in the car at all. We got dirty looks from one of the employees while we laughed at Flounder.

Smartcars are not for everyone

Smartcars are not built for everyone

MegaWeb also had several driving simulator games. Normally the driving simulators cost 600 yen, but today they were all FREE! We took full advantage of the simulators, with our favourite being the off-road simulator that we were all terrible at.

While the guys were enjoying the games, I ended up talking with one of the female employees who was looking to practice her English. She started with the standard question – asking if we were American. I explained that we were all Canadian, and I was living in Japan teaching English. It turns out she was a NOVA student from the Chiba area. We chatted for a few minutes and then surprisingly she gave me her email address and phone number. This earned me some praise from the guys and a nice ego boost. If I was single I would have definitely called her, but I decided to be a faithful boyfriend and dispose of the contact info when I got home.

At the end of a long day in Odaiba, we made a point of riding the Yurikamome back towards home, mistakenly believing that it was the Tokyo Monorail. The Yurikamome is an automated train that offers spectacular views of Tokyo Bay. Thinking we were on the monorail, we all started singing the Monorail song from the fantastic Simpsons episode “Marge vs. the Monorail”. We got off at Shiodome station to walk to the JR lines, stopping at an area with hand and face prints from Japanese sports figures and TV personalities. I recognized a few pro wrestlers, but we didn’t know any of the other names.

Sometimes the best vacation experiences come not from the major tourist destinations, but just from being around a fun group of people away from home. Monorail! Monoraaaail! MONORAAAAAAIL!

Mono… d’oh!

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