Friday, 1 February 2013

Tokyo: Obaida, Robots, Toyota Mega Web, Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden and Shibuya

I had another epic day today. Today I decided to head over to Obaida which is on a man made island in Tokyo Bay and was amazed at what I got to see.

I even got to see the statue of liberty! The bridge in the background is the Rainbow Bridge and it seems to have funky colours at night.


The Fuji TV building (on the right) looked very cool; even the statue raised her arm in agreement.


Walking through the Symbol Promenade Park there were some great sculptures (and a mammoth robot) to be seen.




Inside the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) there were also other robots on display and an excellent display in multiple languages of their uses. The therapeutic robot was a cool seal that reacted when you patted it in various places or spoke to it due to many sensors it has. It has proven to be useful as a “pet” for people and to make them happier.


This robot is capable of standing up, lying down and maintaining its balance. It could be very useful, and what’s also great is that they have open sourced its platform to enable others to innovate further with it with OpenHRP (Open Architecture Humanoid Robotics Platform).


I then found a couple of geocaches nearby and picked up a trackable to bring back to NZ.

Toyota’s Mega Web was pretty good. It is a bit of a showroom, concept room, history of Toyota, Racing games, simulators and more. There was a huge emphasis on hybrid and electric vehicles and education about how they work.P1040116_020P1040121_025P1040122_026P1040123_027

The Venus Fort shopping complex was almost empty and done in the style of an 18th century European town.


The historical part of the Toyota Mega Web is also in Venus Fort showcasing various old cars. I can’t say I was super excited by it.


I then headed back into townP1040132_036

and went to the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. Since it was closing 40mins after I arrived (it closes at 16:30) I had to rush around but still got to see a fair bit of it. The 200 yen cost was worth it and I can imagine it being beautiful when the cherry blossoms are out.P1040134_038P1040135_039




Some fish even came to say hi.P1040151_055

I then walked into Shibuya (via Harajuka) and saw some more cool sculptures around the Shibuya train station.P1040161_062P1040163_063

For my last evening meal in Tokyo I had some superb yakitori  at a busy restaurant (Yakitori Akivoshi) on the western side of the station (which incidentally has lots of guitar shops nearby. Since I could decide between beer or sake I decide that obvious solution was to have big bottles of each; it worked.

On a Friday night, Shibuya seems to be a great place to be and Shibuya crossing was great. I even took a video of it. Enjoy!