On my last full day in Tokyo, I went to Odaiba, a coastal part of Tokyo which is known for its iconic Rainbow Bridge, its tiny statue of liberty and beaches.
Soon after exiting the very fancy Tokyo Teleport train station, I found myself on an overhead walkway. Walking on the ground is made redundant, the bridge is well connected to all the important places in Odaiba. The view from the bridge is beautiful. There are sign boards and maps everywhere, for tourists to get more and more excited by all there is to see in the area.
|An aerial view from one of Odaiba’s overhead walkways|
Odaiba, being a coastal area, is much cooler than the rest of the city. With the clear sky and sunny weather, Odaiba reminded me of a little bit of Florida and a lot of Disneyland. There is very little grey to be seen. Buildings are either made of steel or of cement walls painted in bright colors. Many of the buildings in Odaiba are of architectural importance, such as the Fuji TV headquarters, Shinonome Canal Court and Tokyo Big Sight. The pavements are light pink and I saw very few people walking around in black and white suits with briefcases. I frequently saw glimpses of docks and ships. Odaiba seemingly comprises of offices, hotels and entertainment facilities. An interesting fact about Odaiba that shocked/surprised me is that its an artificial island made of garbage. More such islands are coming up for the 2020 Olympics.
|Shinonome Canal Court, an innovative public housing project in Odaiba|
Tokyo Dock, which is a great place for a view of the Rainbow bridge and the mini statue of liberty, is another overhead walkway. It is full of malls, restaurants and entertainment places such as Madame Tussauds and indoor theme parks for kids. The decor of Tokyo dock was the cutest, and there were speakers playing music in the potted plants along the railing.
Rainbow Bridge looked magnificent, and very very long. It is about 800 meters long. Instead of having one curve towering upwards like most other bridges I’ve seen, Rainbow Bridge has two. Also, it had two roads, one on top of the other. The lower road is for the train to go through, and apparently for pedestrians to walk on. The upper one is for regular vehicles. The Rainbow Bridge lights up at night and as per my host mum, is quite a popular destination among couples. Unfortunately I didn’t get to see the lighted up Rainbow bridge which is featured on every other postcard of Tokyo, but I’m happy to have seen it nevertheless.
I took a different train on the way back which was on the Yurikamome Line. I was pleasantly surprised to find the train going through the rainbow bridge. The train was on the bridge for a seemingly long time. At the end of the rainbow bridge, there is a circular loop, which I later learnt is for vehicles to descend from the elevated Rainbow Bridge. The view from the train was amazing even after it had left the Rainbow Bridge behind. It felt more like a joy ride and I considered it a luxury to be taking this train to as a means of transportation. When I got off the train and transferred lines back to one of Tokyo’s subway lines, the contrasting stuffiness and monotony of it struck me.
I’m glad I got to go to Odaiba. It’s so different from the rest of the city. It makes me realize that the sheer size and scale of Tokyo also makes it very diverse. Tokyo’s quirks have jumped at me throughout the past four and a half weeks, and it has surprised me in small ways. While studying the map of Tokyo’s trains and trying to identify areas and train lines that I am now familiar with, I realized that Tokyo is much bigger than I initially thought. Although I was happy to find myself familiar with a fair number of areas of Tokyo, there were train lines I hadn’t heard of and areas in the periphery of the city which I didn’t know existed.
After spending the morning at Odaiba I went to class where we watched the movie Tokyo Waka. Believe it or now, it is a documentary about crows in Tokyo. Crows have been quite a problem in the city. They are huge and fearless. They often attack people. Crows live on garbage which can be quite an issue for city’s cleanliness, since they aren’t very particular about how neatly they eat. A few years ago, the crows’ population was too large and became a problem for the city. So the Tokyo government made active efforts to reduce the population.
|For my second last dinner with the Oi family, I got to eat octopus with Japanese mustard for the first time (top right on the black plate). Among other new dishes were garlic pickle (left top on the black plate) and kanten noodles (slippery transparent noodles on the bottom right-they have a sweetish taste)|