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Tuesday, September 26

Doing It City Style

My friend Atlanta and I had planned to meet up and head to Tokyo and spend the day shopping. Downpours beginning at 9 dissuaded us from this plan. As I have mentioned before, there is always something us waiting just around the corner. Instead of Tokyo and the world of outdoor knockoff markets, we left the 'country' and drove to Yokohama for some serious upscale shopping. We spent the day doning our umbrellas to run from one mall to another. I even bought several Christmas presents! In our haste to get to the next buildings, I kept trying to capture the beauty of Yokohama, even in the misty, hard rain, while holding an umbrella against fierce wind that threatened to turn it inside out like so many discarded umbrellas we saw along the sidewalk.

The area of Yokohama we were in is called Minato Mirai 21 (MM21) and includes the famous Landmark Tower. That's the tall building that shrinks in as it reaches up into the sky. Atlanta and I discussed the fact that we have no idea why this building is so famous. But it is. And so I saw it. As I was curious as to the novelty of it, I did some research and it turns out it is the tallest building in Japan.

Huh. Cool.

Moving on... the area called MM21 was previously an area of large shipbuilding docks and port facilities. Approximately two decades ago, an attempt was successfully made to reclaim the land and the open space next to the bay for this "mega development" project that would revitalize Yokohama into the metropolitan city you see today.

This area has a little bit of something for everyone... the businessman in their amazing skyscraping office buildings, the rich housewives with their fancy malls, and the young crowd in search of the best culture and cuisine. (We, of course, ate at the Kirin Beer House. We grunt at culture.) There is even an amusement park in this area that includes the striking ferris wheel, "Cosmo Clock 21" which you have probably seen in a picture or two. Interesting statistics about the clock: it's 369 feet tall and 328 feet in diameter; each of the 60 cars seats 8 people which means 480 people at max capacity; it takes 15 minutes to go around once and on the weekends there is usual about an hour wait. We did not take advantage of the rides due to fear of becoming one of those statistics you here about on the Discovery Channel where two American chicks bit it in front of a surprised audience when the ferris wheel rolled off its stand and into the Yokohama bay during a particularly typhoon-like day. Nor did we choose a ride on the roller coaster. In fact, crossing the bridge was enough of a ride when the wind and rain picked me up and sent me Mary Poppins-ing down the street.

Honestly, it was a perfect and beautiful rainy day. And night. And my face still hurts from laughing.

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