Day 19-21: Farewell China, Hello Tokyo (Odaiba Fun and More)

As I am getting ready for another trip, I realized I better finish up sharing about the last trip!  This time I am traveling for a conference, but there will be plenty of sightseeing before the conference takes places.

At the end of our trip to China we realized neither of us had to be back at work until the following week (Tuesday for me, the following Monday for Ryan), and we were headed to Japan on a Friday, so we thought we would hang out in Tokyo for a few more nights.

Here we are getting ready to board the Maglev train for Pudong airport.  It was pretty quiet at this time of day.
Next stop Tokyo!  And after 2 weeks in China I was ready for the prospects of drinking water from a tap and having a heated toilet seat!  In fact, I told Ryan the first thing I wanted to do was go to a restaurant and order water, complete with a glass and a pitcher, and then I wanted to use the bathroom.  No joke!  So now I confess I am spoiled by living in Japan and I know most of Asia (except South Korea, which is pretty modernized and has safe drinking water) is not even close to the standards of living and cleanliness experienced here (here being Japan, which is where we currently live).  At least I wouldn't need to rely on carrying my own toilet paper and I could go back to flushing it down the toilet!
I didn't have a vegetarian meal on this flight, but I ended up being able to enjoy some of what was on the try...especially the fruit!

We lucked out and there was room at the New Sanno Hotel, which is a US military hotel, so for us the rooms are about the cheapest in town, especially for the quality and size of the room.  Unfortunately we arrived in the rainy season and since we arrived later at night, the hotel was out of umbrellas.  We picked some up at a convenience store nearby, but did get a little wet in the process.  Since it was raining so much we decided to eat dinner nearby.  We found an Okinawan restaurant nearby.  Yes, Okinawan food differs some from mainland Japanese.

Here is a seaweed salad we were served to start.
Well, I ordered this, called tofu cheese...do not, I repeat, do not try this!  When the server took it away and saw the tiny bite out of it she shook her head and told me it was ok, like she expected me to not have liked it.  I can't even explain what this tasted like, but it wasn't good!
These were fried and I think filled with red bean paste.
Ryan had taco rice, which is a very Okinawan thing.
I had veggies with tofu and noodles, made without meat.
The next day we decided to head to Odaiba, which is on a manmade island in the bay.  We were looking for indoor activities because it was heavily raining.  The metro from where our hotel was located took us to Ebisu station where we could catch a JR line for Odaiba.  The good news was that I love Ebisu, and if I could live any where in Tokyo it would be Ebisu, so I was happy to find some lunch in the station.  
You can never go wrong with a Japanese bakery!
I had a vegetable and surimi  salad, which was really good.
I also tried this piece of banana bread.
When we got off the train in Odaiba we made our way to the science museum by way of DiverCity (a large mall).  Out front is a giant Gundam (if you have no idea what Gundam is, find out more HERE).  There was also some sort of event taking place because there were tons of people crowded around in the pouring rain.
After a short walk we arrived at Miraikan, the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation.
Inside was a giant open area, and at ground level you could lay down on chairs or the floor and look up at this globe.  It changed views so it wasn't always the same thing on it, although it was mostly a daytime view of the earth.
You can get an idea of the massive size of this by looking at the walkway behind it and the person standing against the wall.
We saw many cool displays.  Being a weekend and a rainy day, this place was packed!  It was hard to get a glimpse, but this robot was super cool.  It is known as Halluc II and according to the museum website "aims at serving the needs of humans".    

They had a very complex mathematics display, which was impressive because many kids were at this exhibit and it promoted the use of mathematics.  I wonder if the US has many museums like this.  I can see why Japan has many engineers and designers of products that are advancing technology.  The importance of science and math are taught pretty early on and instilled in their values (or at least creativity is fostered and children are given opportunities to learn outside of school).  
Here was another fun robot.  This one was a dog and responded to human interaction.
Pretty cute!
The next exhibit we spent some time looking at was the space exhibit and display of astronauts.  Lots of signatures to be found at this display.


As a dietitian I found this to be very interesting.  This is the Japanese foods designed for astronauts while in space.  Notice the bottle of mayonnaise?  I was not surprised to see that on there!  
Mayo is probably the most used condiment after soy sauce (in Japan).  They put it on everything!


This shows the room of an astronaut.  I believe this is a replica of life on the International Space Station.
The next fun exhibit we went to was on health and here you could control a robot as it simulates a surgery.
I wasn't that good!  Good thing I changed my career to dietitian from the original plan of surgeon!
This was our "patient".
If I remember correctly this was part of an engine from a space shuttle.
After the museum we headed to another large mall called Aqua City.  We were super excited when we walked in to discover Lemson's, a frozen yogurt shop.  
It was pricey, but so worth it!  Where we live there are no frozen yogurt shops like this, so it is rare we get to enjoy some.
We walked around the mall for a little bit, looking for dinner before heading to the movies.  One of the largest movie theaters in Tokyo is located here, at least that was what we found in our research, so we decided to see a movie here as a good rainy day activity.

We found the Pirates of the Caribbean restaurant, but they wanted to charge us an admission price or some sort of service charge, so we passed.
It would have been a good view, but we didn't want the extra cost, especially when we couldn't get a window seat and would miss out on this view.  Out there is Tokyo Bay and the Rainbow Bridge.  You can't see the colors now, but there is a reason why this is called the rainbow bridge.


Complete with a Statue of Liberty!

For dinner we ended up picking To the Herbs for Italian food.
I couldn't resist the olives!
We also had some bread to start.
Then we split a pizza.
And yes, we had a table with a view.  It was raining so it wasn't really clear, but it was a nice view nonetheless.  I'll take it!
Dinner was light so a few hours later, after some slot machines at the hotel (yes, there are video slots...most US military bases overseas have these), we decided to have some nachos, which by the way we also can't really get where we live unless we make them ourselves.
For our final day we planned to see an art museum because it was still rainy.  On our way to lunch we stopped by this cute park in Hiroo, near the hotel.  It is actually a large park, but we only looked around one area because it was pretty wet.  It was definitely nice and peaceful.

For lunch we went to one of our favorite spots, Soup Stock Tokyo.  I almost always get the lobster bisque, so this day was no exception.
Here we are at the art museum in Roppongi.  I took a picture of the building from the outside, but they didn't allow photography inside.
I loved this idea for umbrellas.  You can store it here, outside of the museum, and then it locks and you take the little key with you.  From this location to the front door you walk under a covering.  Smart way to protect the art inside!
We had never been to Roppongi Hills so we thought since we were in the area it would be good to check out.  It is known for shopping (lots of stores) and then also known for nightlife- restaurants and places to drink.  I am so glad we ended up here because when we were looking at a map of the place we noticed Roy's, which is probably our favorite restaurant in the States (sadly it seems to have closed on July 13th, just after we were there).
Little towels to wipe our hands.  They expand when water is poured on them.
Edamame, which is done a little differently here than in the US.
The restaurant has an excellent view of Tokyo Tower.

Ryan started with a chilled green apple soup.
I had an appetizer of crab and shrimp.
Yum!
Here I am with Ryan, getting ready to enjoy our meal.  We were definitely treating this meal as a special occasion- Ryan's graduation, our anniversary, and my birthday too since that was the following week.
Some bread, which they seriously wanted to keep bringing out so you had to remember not to finish it all.
Ryan and I split this sushi, which was amazing.  I mean truly amazing!  It had crispies on the outside and was fried.  There was fish inside and some vegetables.  It was amazing!
For the entree, Ryan had the tuna.
I had the butterfish, which was awesome!
And for dessert, which we all know is the real reason we ate dinner here, we both had the chocolate soufflé.  So yummy!  
The next morning we headed back to up north to Misawa and got back into our normal routines and attempted to get back to life at home rather than on the road.  It is definitely nice to be back home now and we have done a lot since the time we came home from China (I am so far behind in posting that we have actually been home now for 2 months) and I will get all of that posted, but after my next trip and blogging about those travels.  Looks like I can't stay away from China too long as we are getting ready to head to Taiwan soon.

Thanks for reading along with our 3 week trip covering Tokyo (twice!) and China!

QUESTIONS:  What is your favorite rainy day activity?  What toppings do you like on your frozen yogurt?  When is your next trip?