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Gishi no Mokusou

Alex Forencich's contemplations on Life, Engineering, and Japan

Archive

Category: Tokyo

Sugamo is a nice, quiet district in Tokyo. It’s widely known in the rest of Tokyo for it’s large population of older people. I decided to run around yesterday and take a few night shots of the city. It’s not full of crazy lights like Shibuya or Shinjuku, but there are still quite a few opportunities to get some nice shots.

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Today, me and Richard went back to Akihabara one more time before leaving for Sendai. I neglected to take any pictures of all the little electronics stores earlier, so I took a quick snapshot as I left the station. It really doesn’t do it justice, though. Someday I’ll have to go through and take pictures of all the vendors inside with a nice wide-angle lens. It’s really quite impressive and I’m willing to bet nothing like it exists in the US.

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Yesterday, me and Richard visited the Tokyo Game Show (東京ゲームショウ) in Chiba (千葉). It was quite an interesting experience. Pretty amazing. Essentially, the show is a forum for video game developers to show off their games to the Japanese market. The show lasts three days and only the second two are open to the public, the first being limited to commercial interests. Almost 200,000 people attended the show in 2009.

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Enoshima

Sep 16

Yesterday I went on a trip to Enoshima (江ノ島), a small island on the Pacific Ocean (太平洋 taiheiyou) in the Kanagawa prefecture (神奈川県). By train, it takes a couple of hours to get there from Tokyo. I left Sugamo with a group of friends from the EAP program, taking the Yamanote line from Sendai to Shinagawa. There, we met Mari, a Japanese student from JWU, and then took the Yokosuka line (横須賀線) through Yokohama all the way to Kamakura station (鎌倉駅).

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Yesterday I visited the Meiji Shrine (明治神宮 meiji jinguu) with a group of Japanese students fro JWU. The shrine was originally built in 1921 to commemorate Emperor Meiji. The shrine was rebuilt in 1958 after being destroyed in WWII. The shrine itself is located in a patch of forest next to Yoyogi park (代々木公園 yoyogi kouen), right in the middle of Shibuya, Tokyo.

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The Tokyo Bay Grand Fireworks Festival (東京湾大華火祭 toukyou wan dai hanabi sai) is one of the last shows of the summer as well as one of the biggest. This year 12,000 fireworks were launched from Harumi Wharf Park (晴海埠頭公園 harumi futou kouen) and from a barge in the bay near the park. It was quite a spectacular show.

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Today I went on a japanese cultural outing put on by some JWU students. We went to a shopping district in Ueno (上野) and from there went through Yanaka (谷中) and Sendagi (千駄木) to visit the Nedu Shrine (根津神社). Shitamachi (下町) refers to the physically low parts of Tokyo and the areas near the Sumida River (隅田川).

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Japan has a tradition of shooting off fireworks in the summertime at events called 花火大会 (hanabi taikai).  There is pretty much one every day somewhere in Japan for the whole summer.  A few of the shows can involve over 100,000 fireworks.  This page has a listing of all the 花火大会 in 2010.  The first fireworks show that I went to this summer was the 江戸川区花火大会 (edogawa-ku hanabi taikai), the show put on by the Tokyo ward Edogawa yesterday.

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I went back to Akihabara today with Richard and Matt to do some window shopping.  Shortly after leaving the station, though, we saw a rather interesting car:

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Today was my first day at Japan Women’s University (JWU). The summer intensive language program will be taking place there starting Friday.  Today, however, I have to take the placement test to determine what level of Japanese class I need to take.  In Japanese, JWU is 日本女子大学, nihon joshi daigaku.  Most Japanese people shorten to to 女子大学 (joshi daigaku) or even just 女子 (joshi).

The first part of the test was about an hour, one part kanji reading and writing and one part grammar.  Both were slightly frustrating as I forgot some of the kanji I should have known and I didn’t have enough time to finish the whole grammar section.  The second part of the test was much longer and consisted of a pile of kanji that I had never seen before and a pile of multiple choice grammar questions that I couldn’t even read, much less understand enough to pick a correct answer.  I understood maybe three questions out of the whole grammar part of that test.  It was really annoying.  But I wasn’t the only one; only the really advanced students figured out some of what was on there.

After the tests, we went to the cafeteria to have lunch.  And we discovered an absolutely classic example of Engrish on the way there.  Perhaps they’re trying to imply that their food has a French flair to it?  Or maybe they’re trying to duplicate the McDonald’s McCafe commercials.  I dunno.  Everyone took the obligatory snapshot and then we got our grub.

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