Yokohama to Shinagawa

Trip Start Dec 02, 2008
1
6
10
Trip End Jan 20, 2009


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Flag of Japan  , Kanto,
Friday, January 9, 2009

So the seven of us left all went to Shinagawa in two groups. We all checked into the Shinagawa Prince Hotel but this time instead of getting the awesome "western" style room in the big tower I split a closet with Tim. This room was small! The two beds were rather firm, and the window was a little small but it at least came with free green tea and bathrobes. Every hotel I stayed in not only had tea but hot water makers to make it with. What a great Idea! when you think about it's that's like offering coffee but no coffee maker. Anyway, we had a place to lay our heads and that's all that counted.

I did have one serious issue that could cause some problems:
My ATM Card had expired while I was crossing the Pacific. I have never before set up a cash advance before so I didn't have a PIN attached with it. There was no way to generate a PIN unless I could get to a Bank of America Banking Center which does not have a branch in Japan. What a pain. I argued with the card companies over Skype for about an hour but basically, It looked like I was borrowing until Karla got here in four days with my ATM card. Tim lent me a little money and thank god he did because it's so hard to buy anything in Japan without cash. Only one type of quick market accepts credit cards. 7-Elevens are Cash only and so is McDonalds. Visa says that they're "everywhere you want to be" but I remembered from last time I was in Japan how much of a Cash-and-Carry society they really are. Luckily the Shinkansen bullet train and a couple of taxi's would take it so I managed to get around.
Keith, Wayne, took the train around Tokyo that afternoon. Two areas we ended up in were Akihabara and Ochanomisu. Both large districts full of electronics and musical instuments. Unlike other types of cities, Tokyo is set up so that all of one type of store are arranged next to each other. One would think that this would create a lot of competition and drive competion and drive prices down. But perhaps being such a large metropolis, having the right location is everything because the locals know which district sells what. If you're buying fish, go to the fish market, if your buying a computer, go to the electronics district. I guess it makes sense.
Colin had called ahead and touched base with the Nippon Kaiyo guys from the boat and we arranged to meet that evening for beers and dinner. We went to a nice restaurant in the basement of the Prince complex and had some awesome authentic Japanese food. Shabu Shabu, which is a boiled beef and vegitable dish, with miso, udon noodles, saki and several other unidentified delacacies.  It was great to see the Nippon Kaiyo guys again and I really hope that there is future work with them in the near future. After dinner we took a cab to a nightclub area and hung out until the wee hours of the morning. Good times were had by all and by the end of the night we all ended up going our seperate ways. After the nightclub I returned to the hotel. But pretty much everyone woke up with big headaches, mysterious credit card charges, and pictures on their camera phones that only lead to more questions.
The next day we slept in. Wayne caught his plane and went back home to Canada. Keith and Kelly went sight seeing. Tim and I walked around a bit in the afternoon. For dinner that night I met Kelly and Keith with Oda San from Nippon Kaiyo and we went to Sushi by the hotel. I'm not a fan really of sushi but I thought that I'd eat just a little to be polite. It turned out that this sushi was AWESOME! I definately am not a fan of sushi in the states but this fish was so fresh it dissolved in your mouth and you didn't even have to chew it. There were all types, salmon, tuna, sea cucumber (I didn't try that) tempura and a few other types of fish I couldn't identify and we had difficulty finding a word in the translator that Oda San carried around with him. It was a great experience, and very nice of Oda San to take us out like that.
After dinner we stayed in, went bowling in the two-story bowling alley at the Prince hotel. And ended up hanging out making a ruckus in Colin's room all night. The rest of the crew was leaving tomorrow and I was going to Kyoto until Karla got here. We said our good-byes and I packed my bags for an early departure the next day. The Unity job was officially over and done with. I consider it a wonderful success and I really hope to get the chance to do more Williamson jobs in the future. They're a great company to work for and I would go anywhere, any time with Colin and Mike. Thanks guys if you read this!
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