Friday, July 3, 2009

Japan Day 31 - On the way to Tokyo

Well after my last post, I had to pack. I had been putting it off just about as long as possible because I was worried about trying to make all the gifts I bought fit in my. I got it all fit but just barely. If I buy much more, I'm going to have to get another bag. Since I'm not returning to Kyoto like some people are I had to bring all of my luggage with me to Tokyo. Remind me to pack lighter next time...

Japan Day 31

We left at nine thirty for Kyoto Station and caught the 10:30 Shinkansen to Nagoa. This was my first trip ever on a high speed train and it was nice. The ride was very smooth. You don't hear any of "clickity clack" sounds you hear on a normal train but you here a lot of air noise. It was a lot like being in an jumbo jet except with a lot more leg room. The one think I wasn't expecting was for my ears to pop when we went through the longer tunnels. I was curious so I looked up- apparently the trains are going fast that they displace more air than can escape from the tunnel so it compresses and creates an area of high pressure. Another interesting thing was how much you could feel when another train passed us going the other direction. As they approached we would slow down just for a moment and then we would be tilted to the side as it passed. Air pressure again.

In Nagoa we went to see one of Misawa Homes's factories. We put our luggage in lockers at the train station and then took a local train and then short taxi ride to the plant. Unfortunately the local train wasn't operated by JR so we couldn't use our rail pass and had to pay :(

Japan Day 31

Misawa makes modular homes using wood and steel construction. Everyday they build 24 modules which is enough to build 2 homes. They gave us a fantastic tour of the factory. We got to see there automated line were they make the exterior concrete/ceramic panels and then we got to see the line where they assemble all of the modules. Yhey followed Toyota's model of the always moving assembly line. One thing that surprised me was that the Japanese government suppresses them showing how much safer their homes are in earthquakes because it would likely put small conventional construction firms out of business. During the Kobe Earthquake, not one of their homes collapsed. No pics of the factory, they didn't allow us to take pictures.

Then we hoped back on the Shinkansen and headed to Tokyo. We got off and transferred to the JR Yamanoto line which runs in a loop around the city. Oh my was it crowded. we were stuffed in tight, It didn't take long at all for us to get of sense of just how busy Tokyo is. We are staying at the Tokyo Plaza Hotel which is only a block from the train station in Shin-Okubo, which is Korean Town.

Japan Day 31

For dinner we went as a group to a Korean Samgyeopsal restaurant. It was a lot like the yakiniku like we had in Kobe. They lured us in with 1500 all you could eat pork but then you also have to buy a drink too. We grilled all sorts of pieces of pork that looked a lot like bacon. I liked the Japanese Barbecue adaption we had in Kobe better (and lot better for you).

Photos Day 31

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