Well, we started the day off in rainy Yokohama, without much plan except to check out of the hotel and kill some time before going to Tokyo to check into the next hotel…
Because it was still raining, we decided to find something to do in Yokohama for a few hours. Originally I had thought about going to see the Ramen Museum, which has a re-creation of a Tokyo street from 1958, and which has ramen from all kinds of places around Japan. I figured we’d gawk at the street scenes, then get some cheap lunch (Mr. Ulterior Motive!) and then head to Tokyo. So, we checked out of the Washington Sakuragicho Hotel, walked about 100 yards to the station coin lockers, and locked up our suitcases. I vaguely remember a time when we had such things in the US, but due to fear we’ve almost eliminated them, but the Japanese have embraced the concept with a will that we Americans seem to have lost. Lockers are far too convenient to live without, and I will miss them when we get back.
At any rate, as we were headed to the Landmark Tower to find some breakfast and to hit the Victorinox store to buy a knife, we passed the Nippon Maru, which is part of the Yokohama Maritime Museum. I asked Darrell if he’d prefer to see that, since he’d mentioned it before when passing it, and he said he’d prefer that to seeing ramen. Even my ulterior motives had to agree with that!
We got to the mall in Landmark Tower at just before 10 AM, and discovered that only the restaurants and supermarket were open before 11. So, we sat for a bit, wandered around a little more, then after the stores opened we went to the Victorinox store. Huge selection of Swiss Army Knives, and I bought a 2400 yen 5 blade special (with phillips screwdriver) to carry around. I’m a country boy, and I’ve felt helpless at times here, dealing without a pocket knife (thanks ever so much, Transportation Safety Administration! I feel so safe and secure now! X-(
Once beknifed, we set out for the Nippon Maru. We went to the ticket booth, and when the ticket lady showed the schedule of prices, we all got a laugh when I was able to explain that my brother definitely qualified for being over 65! Of course, being a big kid at 51 didn’t qualify me for the child price…
The Nippon Maru is permanently docked in Yokohama Harbor, but it is still an active ship, with a maintenance crew constantly at work keeping parts in working order. The ticket we bought allowed us to take a walking tour of parts of the ship, which were marked with signs in both languages, and had speakers in certain areas with bilingual explanations of the areas. We then went to the Maritime Museum, which is on one shore of the harbor where the Nippon Maru is docked, and met a gentleman who showed us where the museum entrance was. Turns out he was the Captain of the Nippon Maru! We complimented him on his ship, and then proceeded to wander around the exhibits. Yokohama is where the Commodore Perry sailed the “Black Ships” in, in order to open up Japan to Western trade, and where the first main ports were built. Way too much history, but it was a great place to spend a couple of hours.
Then, off to World Porters, a shopping complex with international stores and an international food court, for a very good, reasonably priced lunch. I have no idea what I ate, but it was served in a hot stone bowl set in a wooden block, which kept the food almost too hot to eat. After getting some soft-serve ice cream (me) and a bowl of frozen yogurt (Darrell) we headed back to the station to get our stuff. It was raining the whole time, but unfortunately it was also very warm, and my heavy leather jacket started dragging me down. It was very nice in cool springtime Hachinohe, but down south from there (about like going from Maine to southern Virginia) it was way overkill. I managed to squeeze it into my suitcase while waiting for the train.
We took a local train into Tokyo, and before we got to Tokyo Station I figured out we could get to the subway line we needed by getting off the train early. Once we did, we had to maneuver our suitcases through the station with limited elevator and escalator access. The blamed things seemed to get heavier as we manhandled them down stairs and up stairs, but we finally managed to get to the subway, and after three stops and one line change, we got to the station near the hotel. Getting out of it was tricky, as the elevator wasn’t easily located, and so we had to carry our bags up one flight of stairs to the street. One short walk later, we were at the hotel, where we both crashed. I got up to do this writeup, but getting ready to zonk out again.
Tomorrow, a rest day.