I went on a tour around Yokohama today.
I woke up late (heh heh) and took the train to Yokohama Station in order to get a map from the tourist information booth there. I asked them if there were any famous places nearby, and they said only the shopping centers were near, so I took the train to Sakuragi-cho. The top of the Landmark Tower was lost in the clouds, so I didn't bother going up to the sky observatory again.
On the way to the Minato Mirai subway station, I checked out the Sail Training Ship (Nippon Maru) and browsed through the Yokohama Maritime Museum. The maritime museum had animated displays combining projection and real objects. Nice effect.
I was surprised to find a shop devoted to Harry Potter memorabilia in the Minato Mirai subway station, but then again, this is Japan and niche shops do all right. I was sorely tempted to buy a time-turner replica, as the necklace was relatively affordable.
I took the subway to the Nihon Odori station. If the day had been sunny, I might've gotten nice pictures of the distinct architectural styles of the King, Queen and Jack Towers. I took safety shots anyway, as color correction might be able to deal with the cloud cast. I also checked out the Queen's Tower, as admission to the Customs exhibit was free.
From there, I walked to the Red Brick Warehouse Park and took a few pictures, then doubled back along the Shinkobaslit bridge. The Silk Museum was only a short walk away, and had many historical costumes. I remember reading about multiple layers of clothing in the Japanese court novels I'd flipped through before, but seeing them was something else entirely. I wonder what dressing up in court clothes was like. The process probably took a few hours and lots of help!
From the silk museum, I had the choice of going through Yamashita Park or taking the road. We'd walked through Yamashita Park the other day, so I decided to go down Yamashitakoen Dori Avenue instead, passing by the Toda Peace Memorial Hall and Hotel New Grand before going up the Marine Tower.
I went up to the 80th floor of the Marine Tower, took a few pictures, and got a fortune (as in fortune-telling, not money (I wish!)). It was still too cloudy for nice pictures, but seeing the World Square from above made me note it as my next stop.
The tower also housed a few other attractions. The Motion Display museum had a collection of mechanical scenes: moving figurines that advertised a jeweller in the most extraordinary ways. ^_^ A video showed the figurines in motion. The Marine Tower also had an aviary. For a fee, one could go and feed birds. I think I got mobbed by half a dozen parrots at once. Some of them reminded me so much of Picco that I found myself covering my ears in preparation. I didn't get nipped, although the birds really squabbled over the food!
After getting mobbed by birds, I headed over to the Yokohama Doll Museum. It had ethnic dolls from all over, including countries I'd never even heard of. (Must keep up to date with world politics.) The Japanese doll collection and the minature doll house special exhibit were fascinating.
I crossed the French Bridge and trudged uphill to see if I could make it to the Iwasaki Museum before closing time, but as I was there only twenty minutes before it closed, the attendant expressed some concern. It was getting darker, so I changed my plans, dropping the Tin Toy Museum and avoiding the Yokohama Foreign General Cemetery. Who wants to get lost in a cemetery at night, anyway?
Instead, I decided to trek back to the bridge. I followed the Nakamura River to the Motomachi Plaza Shopping Center, wandering down the Motomachi Shopping Street and browsing through the shops. Most of them were fairly standard foreign brands, but here and there I found niche shops. For example, there was a shop with a witch theme. I was thinking of buying myself a small silver ring with a cat, but even the smallest design seemed to call attention to my short fingers. Perhaps a necklace would be nicer.
When I stepped out of the Motomachi shopping center, I found myself near the Ishikawa-cho station. I took the train back to Yokohama station, as I needed to check out the department stores. Our assignment was to go to a restaurant and order some food, so I went to a soba store on the 6th floor of Cial and ordered the momitei set menu. It was cheaper than the outside cost of AOTS meals, although the set was more expensive than the bento boxes available in the basement. It was alright. I need to remember to get hot soba instead of cold soba next time, though! =)
After that, I went through the different floors just getting a feel of what was being sold. I bought a graphic novel. I also bought three pairs of sock-lets to wear over my stockings. I was tempted to buy those really, really, really long, loose socks, but decided I could buy them on my way back to the Philippines.
On the train home, I was pretending to sleep when I overheard a conversation carried out in half-English and half-Filipino. Apparently, three Filipinos were having a bit of a hard time communicating with their Japanese friend. They were trying to tease him about a girl, but didn't quite have the vocabulary for it, as they were only armed with set phrases useful for tourists. They wanted to ask him if he likes this girl, when they're planning to get married, that sort of thing. I translated English to Japanese. He replied in Japanese, and--just to see the look on their faces--I translated that back into Filipino. Their Japanese friend was kind enough to use simple sentences and words I already knew. It was fun to surprise them.
When I got to my room, I did a bit of laundry, filled out my restaurant task sheet, and w