OK, I guess there's no Midtown
here. But today I took the subway up to the Hibiya station and
visited what I could of the Emperor's palace grounds, and then went
over to Ginza, the high-class shopping district that I had not visited
As I walked toward Kamiyacho station, I noted these three trucks, which
reminded me of the carry-alls I see in India. These are in better shape
and are not decorated nearly as colorfully.
After leaving the station, I walked over to the moat, which surrounds
the whole palace complex. Note how smooth the stone walls are,
they're designed to be very difficult to scale.
The moat is defended by a team of fierce relatives of Gamera, who swam
over to check me out before allowing me entry. Either they have
remote cameras I can't see, or they were hungry. Pretty big too.
Who says America doesn't export anything?
The public area is a very well-maintained park. We weren't
allowed anywhere near the buildings today. The tour book says the main
grounds are only open a couple of days a year, and today was not one of
Can you see the forest in the trees?
At left you can see the wide ramp which leads to a guard house which
enforces one of the few entry points to the grounds.
The view northeast from the park.
One of the palace buildings with the bridge from the guard house in the
I then went to walk to Ginza, which was about a mile. First
stoppe for a refreshment in the outer park, where a statue of Kusunoki
a 14th century samurai. I won't repeat wikipedia here.
Had a Dr. Pepper, and I thought the can art to be quite dramatic.
Where's she keep HER Dr. Pepper?
Around town I've seen various signs, flags and other promotions for
Tokyo's bid to host the 2016 Olympics. Guess that decision is
I was peckish so I stopped at a local McD's for a hamburger. Not a fish
patty. It was good, and I had a Qoo
for a beverage, which
tastes vaguely orangish, and which is pronounced "kuu".
Continuing my walk toward Ginza, I stopped to take a picture of this
building on the left, and then quickly took another picture with the
NTT Docomo blimp in sight.
So what's Ginza? To me it appears to be the 5th Avenue of
Tokyo. All your major high-fashion (or at least high-cost) brands
are here: Bvlgari, Chanel, Burberry, Brooks Brothers.
Since I don't "shop" I didn't really have a destination, but I had
heard there was an Apple store, so I asked a policeman who pointed me
in a vague direction. I finally figured I was close when I saw
the reflection below. The store is 5 floors, and includes a
100-seat theater for demonstrations. Lots more accessories than
stores I've been to, such as musical keyboards and speakers.
This Sapporo sign is a pretty quality landmark.
I wandered around for about an hour looking for somewhere for
dinner. I almost settled on an Irish pub but they were hosting a
wedding reception. I ended up going to an Italian restaurant "Pizzeria
Trattoria Topolino" in the Hakuhinkan Restaurant Park, a multifloor
restaurant building. The building also hosted a sushi restaurant
and Shanghai-style Chinese place. I had prosciutto de parma,
which was tasty, but fatty, and just meat, no melon or anything, and
veal milanese, which was a plate-size pounded-thin breaded veal patty,
served with a salad and lemon wedge. Tasty, but not quite what I
Leaving there to head back, I noted the very large McD sign below.
A shot of the main Ginza street, looking north.
That's it for Saturday.