Saturday, June 14, 2008

Trains Can Be Happy, Too (Day 24)

Today was the grand opening of the new Fukutoshin metro line. It goes from Shibuya to Ikebukuro. I actually just happened to be going to Ikebukuro anyway this weekend so ended up riding it (that I had to go out of my way to do so is beside the point, haha). Anyway, it was really cool!

Okay you can't really see me. But look at all the people! And the train in the background! Awesome entertainment for the price of a train ticket. There were personnel, security guards, and press everywhere, and swarms of people just taking it all in. I asked this guy if I could take his picture at the entrance:

The station at Shibuya itself is really cool. It's supposed to be like an underground spacecraft, and its natural ventilation means it's also very eco-friendly. And by natural, I mean, like this:

Yeah and every time a train came in people would all stop and look and the people getting off would have this glow about them. Pretty awesome. It was like a Disney ride, but better, because we know we can ride it every day... until it becomes boring and old... and then no one will really care anymore because it's just another commute. Oh well.

So, the reason I was actually in Ikebukuro was because I wanted to go to the Ancient Orient Museum.

As in, ancient near eastern studies! Yeah! There was very little Egyptian stuff (actually very little of anything at all), but my ancient near eastern studies have armed me with the knowledge to go through it all and be really interested!! I got so excited seeing the rhytons and seals. It was a really small museum, just one floor at the top of this building that took me forever to find (that was my fault though since I didn't know the building was connected to another one). I'm going to try to go back for a lecture that a super-duper awesome Waseda professor is giving on June 27. I'm so serious. I love this stuff.

Afterward I grabbed lunch at (gasp) my first real Japanese restaurant since coming here... A little tempura place. I got vegetable tempura and udon for 850 yen:

The food wasn't particularly amazing but it was SO filling. I would definitely go back. I also sort of went shopping. I bought two pairs of shoes. First I got these cuteee shoes that are a really amazing pink color - like suede pink, but not made of suede. If you know what I mean. Anyway, they were expensive enough that they should actually be comfortable, and they were on sale too! Oh, and after that I went and bought almost the exact same style shoes for 1000 (!!) yen. I couldn't resist. I want to go back and buy more...! Maybe next weekend.

After that my day wasn't over yet because I still had LION KING!!! at 5:30. I ended up at the theater way early, and was exhausted by that time, so I tried to find a cafe or something to sit down in. All I found was the ocean. Pretty cool. There was this restaurant on a yacht and a nice hotel with restaurants and cafes inside, but there was hardly anyone there at all. Kind of weird for a Saturday! Anyway, overall interesting. But, now to the musical:

I haven't even seen the Lion King musical in English, so I was really excited. And it was good. I think watching it in Japanese just draws me in even more, because I have to listen for every word. I really loved the African (I think it's Zulu?) harmonizing - it's so powerful and makes the musical very meaningful.

But yay I love musicals! I'm going to see Cats, Wicked, and Phantom of the Opera too. I kind of have a thing for Phantom. I've seen it 6 times (Las Vegas and London once, New York 4 times hehehe). I have been wanting to see the Japanese version for so long and kept worrying it would stop playing here. But the Osaka run has been going on for at least 2 years now and I will finally be able to see it. Lucky me!! I see it the day before I leave Japan, actually. Which means I'll have something to look forward to up to the very last day. I'm sure it will be amazing.


Anonymous said...

So basically i stalked you until i found your blog.... not really but i found it???

Anyway Tokyo sounds amazing, I'm mad jealous about your internship and everything. 僕は東京に住みたいねん

Phantom of the Opera in Osaka will be awesome just because its in Osaka, a.k.a the best city in Japan.

-Drew Green

Natalie said...

thanks for the comment! Yeah, I'm definitely excited for Osaka!! lol actually i've only ever been to the Osaka airport and Expoland..... maybe i should see more than the phantom theater when i go there, haha