Monday, August 25, 2008

Japanaventures 3: Day 2 - Yokohama in the Rain

We spent the morning in the air conditioned comfort of a giant mall at Kawasaki with A & T (A being Diana’s twin sister and T being her soon-to-be husband) and had lunch at the food court. Fortunately A & T were there to decipher the Japanese menus and help us fend off a thousand young Japanese women with their strollers for a table. We bought some fabulous clothes at Uniqlo, looked at all the crazy cell phones only available in Japan, and wandered through a gigantic toy store.

Then Diana and I struck out on our own to enjoy the sights of Yokohama. The JR train to Yokohama runs above ground and about 2 stops away, we noticed, as we looked out the window, that it was raining. No. No, it wasn’t raining. The air had suddenly turned into solid sheets of water. And us without our scuba gear, let along an umbrella.

We got off the train and looked around the station for a place to buy a wet suit, but settled for an umbrella at the tourist information shop. Now, I don’t claim to be an expert in umbrellas, but I have bought a few in my day, even a few really nice ones. This was a damn fine umbrella. Damn fine enough to haul on the plane with us back to the states.

Safely tucked away under our new best friend, we crossed a large open courtyard and made our way to the Landmark Tower: The tallest building in Japan at 70 stories. Rather then spend the money on going up to the observation deck on the 70th, we went up to the hotel, which occupies the top floors, and enjoyed some tea and cake on the 69th floor.

I’m a sucker for great views. I’m sure the view from the 69th floor is breath taking on a clear day. Unfortunately, because of the rain, when we got up there, we couldn’t see a damned thing. (I was reminded of the time as a kid a friend of mine and I went up to the top of the Sears Tower even though it said “Zero Visibility”. They didn’t lie.) It was just white out the windows. Then the lightning started.

If you like thunderstorms, like I do, I highly recommend begin up in the clouds during one, as long as you’re inside at the time.

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