Oh Odaiba!

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day here in Japan as well as at home. The day is celebrated differently here, however. It’s a day on which women give gifts of chocolate or other sweets to men, coworkers as well as husbands. A month later on March 14th, which is known as White Day, the men reciprocate.

Our Valentine’s celebration began with a marriage dinner at the church on Friday evening. The sanctuary was transformed into a beautiful dining room where approximately 45 couples gathered for a catered dinner. It was a wonderful evening.

Yesterday, we spent the day exploring Odaiba, an area in Tokyo that we hadn’t been to before. Odaiba was formed when massive amounts of landfill were used to join several small islands together. A spectacular development project aimed at turning the area into a futuristic residential and business district was started during the extravagant 1980s but the downturn in the economy in the early 90s significantly slowed its development. Despite setbacks, several lavish developments have materialized in recent years giving the area a very modern look. We accessed the island via monorail across the double decked Rainbow Bridge.

Our first stop was Tokyo’s very own Statue of Liberty, a smaller replica of the one that stands in New York! Next we enjoyed a walk along the harbour side where we were fortunate not to be accosted by any walking cigarettes!

Oh, how I love the Japanese use of English!

After enjoying lunch in the food court in one of the area malls, we visited the futuristic Fuji TV building, home of one of Japan’s national television stations.

Fuji Television Broadcast Center

Next, we walked over to Palette Town where riding the 115 meter high ferris wheel was the highlight of my day! Though several have now surpassed it in height, it was the world’s tallest when it was built in the late 1990s.

Telecom Center and Tokyo Big Sight from the ferris wheel

A walk through Venus Fort, a gorgeous shopping mall in the style of an 18th century European town brought our visit to Odaiba to an end. Rather than leaving the island the way we arrived, we took a 20 minute ride on a sightseeing boat that took us under Rainbow Bridge as darkness settled and the city lights began to shine.

We returned to our home area of Kita Narashino for Valentine’s dinner at our favourite sushi restaurant. From there, we headed ‘home’ for the night, walking from the train station to Steve and Shelley’s house in slippery slushy snow! I have given Richard official notice that my next visit to Japan will not be during the winter!

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