Posts Tagged minato mirai

June 25, 2017 – Adventures in Yokohama

Today I got my fist sample of solo travel with a 3 year old. By the end of the day I was exhausted.

Whenever we return to Japan, The Penpal makes some time to check in with her church. The main branch is in Shin-Yokohama, conveniently accessible by shinkansen. We discussed and decided that Tiny Dog likely didn’t have the patience to spend a few hours at church, so we would both take separate trips to Yokohama and meet up for dinner with some of The Penpal’s friends.

The Penpal’s father dropped TD and I off at Mishima station around noon. Before boarding the train, we picked up some ekiben (train station lunch boxes) to eat on the ride to Yokohama. The clerk was surprised that TD thanked him in Japanese. It’s still funny the different reactions people have to TD depending on which parent he is traveling with.

TD munched away on sandwiches and rice balls on the shinkansen ride to Yokohama. His face was pressed against the window, jumping back in delight every time we entered a tunnel. This train ride was a lot more fun than the 15 minute subway ride from Shin-Yokohama to Sakuragicho; with nothing to see out the windows TD got bored quickly. I made a mental note to take above ground trains as much as possible in the future.

From Sakuragicho, we started our long walk towards Landmark Tower, Japan’s tallest building. The entire area around the tower is fantastic to visit: there are stores, restaurants, rides, games, and endless other fun things to do. Even with all of these distractions, TD was most impressed by the walking escalator that took us towards the tower.

We took the elevator to the observation deck on the 69th floor and were greeted by spectacular views of Yokohama, Kawasaki, and Tokyo. TD was impressed with the view for about 5 minutes, and then decided that it would be more fun to run laps around the building. We compromised and got ice cream near one of the windows while I tried to take as many pictures as possible.

On the way down, TD tried to touch the elevator doors as they closed. The elevator attendant said “yubi wo chui kudasai”, which TD translated into English for me as “Daddy be careful your fingers”. Everyone laughed at the sight of a 3 year old wearing Canadian flags translating for his gaijin father.

Instead of taking you back to the entrance, the elevator down from Landmark tower takes you to the 5th floor of a massive shopping center. As we walked through we found possibly the most exciting store ever for a 3 year old kid: The Tomy store. The entire display window was filled with an elaborate display of purarail (plastic train sets) and Tomy car tracks. We pushed our way into the store and TD spent about half an hour looking and playing with the display along with a mob of other children.

I eventually dragged him out of the Tomy Store and we walked to Cosmo World to play games. We wisely avoided the giant ferris wheel and waterslides, and ended up playing medal games (again). Getting him out of Cosmo World involved crying, bargaining, and eventually me having to carry him all the way back to the station. I should note that the humidity was about 6 million percent, and a fussy child is actually a portable space heater. By the time I got him to the station I had sweated through my shirt.

After some very busy Sunday afternoon trains we met up with The Penpal and some of her friends for dinner in a restaurant that was inexplicably not visible on Google Maps. By the time dinner was done, Tiny Dog and I were ready for sleep, but we still had a long trip back to Numazu.

Our adventures in Yokohama were a lot of fun, and my day was a great learning experience. Also, I have nothing but respect for single parents who try to get anything done.

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October 9, 2005 – A day in Yokohama

Yesterday The Penpal and I went to her friend’s wedding in Yokohama. We spent the night in a hotel, and decided to spend today hanging out in Yokohama.

I have been living in Numazu for the past year after spending a year in Kawasaki. I do like Numazu, but I miss being close to a vibrant and fun city like Yokohama. There are lots of things to do, and it doesn’t feel as busy or crowded as Tokyo.

The Penpal and I spent some time exploring Minato Mirai and some of the areas I used to visit often. In the evening we returned to Numazu together. It was a fun day!

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June 30, 2004 – Yokohama

A view of Yokohama from Landmark Tower

A view of Yokohama from Landmark Tower

Today I took my family to Yokohama. We took the Nanbu line from Noborito to Kawasaki, Tokaido Line from Kawasaki to Yokohama, and then switched to the still shiny new Minatomirai line to finish our trip to Minato Mirai station.

I had been to Yokohama several times before, but this was the first time I had ever gone inside Landmark Tower, Japan’s tallest building. There is an observation level on the 69th floor that is accessable by one of the world’s fastest elevators. The observation level offers amazing views of Yokohama, Kawasaki, Tokyo and on a clear day, Mt. Fuji. The ocean is on one side, and there is continuous city in every other direction as far as you can see. My family was feeling a bit overwhelmed by the neverending city.

From Landmark Tower we wandered around the Minato Mirai area. My mom bought a Hard Rock Cafe t-shirt, and I made sure to show off the dog walking video game at the nearby game center.

After exploring Minato Mirai, we took the train to Yokohama Chinatown. We spent a long time walking around the streets and enjoying the buildings. My mom and sister requested that we stop in a large tea shop. There were different kinds of tea from around the world from floor to ceiling. While my sister tried to communicate with the store owner, the owner’s young daughter (maybe 5 years old) came up to my mom and started talking to her in Chinese. My mom responded in English, so the conversation really didn’t go anywhere. My mom ended up giving the young girl a Canadian flag pin, which got a nice smile and some thanks from the owner.

My family enjoyed their day in Yokohama. Even though I did a very similar visit with my friends a month ago, I still had fun. Yokohama is a great place to visit.

(2014 Update) In 2014 the Abenobashi Terminal Building opened in Osaka, which is about 4 meters taller than Landmark Tower. Landmark Tower is now number two in Japan.

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May 27, 2004 pt1 – Exploring Yokohama

Near Minato Mirai

Near Minato Mirai

Due to another late night, we got yet another late start on our day. In the morning we did laundry and watched 3 episodes of The Simpsons in the Hello House common room. When we finally got mobile, headed out for Yokohama. We took Nanbu line to Kawasaki, Tokaido line to Yokohama, then changed to the new Minato Mirai line for Minato Mirai station.

We explored the area around Landmark Tower, and then made our way over towards Cosmo Clock. We decided that the five of us didn’t want to divide up and ride the romantic Cosmo Clock ferris wheel in groups. Instead we found ourselves in yet another game center. This one featured the incredibly cool (and incredibly Japanese) dog walking simulator.

Green selecting which virutal dog to walk

Green selecting which virutal dog to walk

The purpose of the game is to successfully walk your virtual dog.The controls are a treadmill and a leash. The treadmill is used to walk your dog at an appropriate pace: too fast and the dog gets upset, but too slow and the dog gets bored. The leash is used to steer your dog away from hazards like other dogs, cars, and food delivery bicycles. It seems simple, but is actually pretty hard and fun to watch your friends fail at.

After getting our fill of the Minato Mirai area, we caught a quick train to Yokohama Chinatown. The area is full of delicious looking restaurants. The problem was that the menus featured Chinese food that I didn’t know how to read in Japanese, and there weren’t many pictures. Also, lunch specials in the area are quite reasonable, but dinner can be pretty expensive. After about 30 minutes of searching we finally found a restaurant with reasonable dinner prices that had enough pictures on the menu so I wasn’t afraid of ordering. The food was fantastic! After eating, we slowly worked our way back towards the station, and took Minato Mirai line back to Yokohama station to meet up with my coworkers for a karaoke adventure.

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December 28, 2003 – Yokohama Redemption

Cosmo Clock in Yokohama at night

Cosmo Clock in Yokohama at night

Today I spent a great day in Yokohama with the Penpal. We started the day off with a trip to the famous Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum. Just like the name would indicate, this museum is dedicated to the history of Japan’s favourite noodle soup. Japan has some unique museum ideas.

The upper level has a history of ramen in Japan, including pictures, videos, old packages, and TV commercials through the years. They also have an impressive collection of ramen bowls from famous ramen shops across Japan. The basement is the truly interesting part. There is a recreation of a city block set up to look like 1958 Tokyo. Within the city block there are 8 different restaurants, each specializing in a different type of ramen. Also, there are long lines. We waited about 45 minutes (the shortest line) to eat some really delicious noodles. The Japan geek in me loved the experience, but the cynical Canadian in me pondered the wisdom of paying to get into a museum so I could wait in line and pay for ramen.

After the museum, we wandered around Yokohama’s Chinatown. Even though I had been to Chinatown recently, I still saw new things on my second visit. From Chinatown we moved on to Minato Mirai to see the port area. Since we had been walking all day we stopped for karaoke to get a break. I sang Barbie Girl, various Beatles songs, and some Radiohead. The Penpal sang a lot of Sheena Ringo

After karaoke, we headed to Cosmo Clock, the giant Ferris wheel together. About one month earlier I had gone on Cosmo Clock with Asako, misread signals, and ended up making an ass of myself. However, the Penpal and I had been talking to each other often and started to see a bit more than just a friendly connection. Today, I was finally able to interpret signals correctly and made a move that was well received. Redemption in Yokohama!

We walked back to the train station hand in hand, cautiously optimistic that this could be the start of something good. I love Yokohama!

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November 27, 2003 – Cosmo Clock

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(2003 Original post)

I fought off the worst hangover of my time in Japan to go to Yokohama. I wandered around Chinatown and Minato Mirai which is on the waterfront. Minato Mirai has the world`s 3rd largest Ferris Wheel called the “Cosmo Clock” which takes a full 15 minutes for one revolution, and offers views of Mt. Fuji on a clear day. There were amazing Christmas decorations everywhere. Beautiful! I want to move to Yokohama.

(2013 Update)

This is another case where my original post was severely lacking detail at the time for a few different reasons, the main one being that I had a date with Asako from the band I met at the John Lennon museum.

The hangover was from my night out at a bar in Noborito which you can read about in yesterday’s post. After meeting a fairly epic night out with Marshall and some random Japanese guys I was feeling like death warmed over. I managed to get myself rehydrate, showered, and loaded up with ibuprofen so I could meet up with Asako in Yokohama.

Our first stop was Chukagai, Yokohama’s Chinatown. Chukagai is the largest Chinatown in Asia. We went to one of the many restaurants for lunch and had chahan (rice bowls). In Canada there are a lot of Chinese restaurants that serve fried rice, however they are all “Canadian Chinese” food that has been made more palatable for Canadians. Their fried rice is generally cheap and relatively flavourless. The fried rice we ate in Chukagai was simply amazing. It was bright and full of flavour, with chunks of meat and vegetables inside. When we were done eating, Asako literally sprinted to the cash register in order to pay for both of us, evening the score from our lunch in Shibuya a few weeks earlier.

After lunch we wandered around Chinatown and headed over to Minato Mirai 21, a shopping and tourist destination on the waterfront. Minato Mirai is home to Landmark Tower (Japan’s largest building), stores, movie theatres, an amusement park with ride and games, and Cosmo Clock. Standing at 112.5 meters, Cosmo Clock was at one time the largest Ferris Wheel in the world. It is also a very popular date spot. There is always a line of couples waiting to get into one of the 60 cars and make the 15 minute rotation with a great view of Yokohama.

Asako and I were having a fun day together, and she suggested that we go on Cosmo clock together. I took this as a positive sign, and about half way around the wheel I made a move.

For those who don’t know me, I am generally oblivious to signals that females give me. In fact, I am planning an upcoming article about my lack of skill when it comes to my romantic interactions with the opposite sex. The situation started with “awkward guy” as a baseline, added in hangover, homesickness, language barrier, lack of cultural knowledge, and mixed in being on the rebound from a 5 year relationship. This created a perfect recipe for poor timing. Perhaps after a few more dates things would have worked out differently, but the move was too soon.

Things were a little awkward for the rest of the time we spent together that day, and at the station Asako gave my hand a squeeze and walked away for her train. There was no discussion of the situation, but the message was fairly clear, she was not interested in turning our fairly new friendship into a relationship.

As I write this 10 years later I am cringing at the memory. It was a good day in Yokohama, but it could have ended better.

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