Shinjuku, Tokyo - Japan
Today we headed out to Shinjuku, Tokyo's major commercial and administrative centre. Shinjuku Station is the busiest train station in the world. Once again, as in our previous days out in Tokyo, we had to do little more than travel a short distance on the Yamanote subway line to get to our destination. We left after 10pm to miss the rush hour - we didn't sleep in (again) - honest.
Today the rain had gone and it was sunny and warm but not too humid. Taking lots of photos of the impressive skyscrapers on the way, our first point of call was the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. At 243m high this was the tallest building (by roof height) in Tokyo until 2006 (source Wikipedia). The building splits into two no the 33rd floor and its free to go to the top of either of the twin towers from which you get wonderful views of Tokyo city. There are also gift shops and a cafe at the top.
Close by is Shinjuku Central Park and that's where we went when we left the Government Buildings. Just like Ueno Park there were quite a few homeless people to be seen and on our walk we met a reporter/photographer looking to take pictures of them. The park was peaceful with a nice waterfall. On our walk we saw lots of brightly coloured spiders in huge webs in the bushes and took some photos being careful not to get entangled in the webs as we leant over.
Staying in Shinjuku we headed for the NTT Intercommunications Center (Nippon Telegraph and Telephone). On the way we met one of the many Japanese who hand out leaflets or tissues promoting stores or other services. In this case it was for haircuts, something I needed so I entered and got a decent haircut for just ¥1,000 (£5). I can only describe the NTT Communications Center as an art gallery with exhibits to stimulate the senses. The staff spoke English and were able to explain how to 'use' the exhibits, many of which were interactive. Some fell short of the mark being little more than images or software running on computer screens which I could program myself. However this was more than made up by other more impressive exhibits which I will try to explain.
Exhibit: a dark room had a strobe light hitting an animation made of real sculptures rotating at high speed. The effect was to see many wire frame men juggling objects which morphed into other objects as they arced.
Exhibit: a 3D monochrome interactive display using polarising glasses. You literally stand within a 3D display which is all around you and use a novel control device allowing you to zoom in/out and twist and turn an interactive wire frame display.
Exhibit: a whole room full of touch pads which when walked and jumped upon generate earthquakes on a high wire frame landscape displayed in front of you.
Exhibit: a single closed off and sound proofed and sound absorbing room. Two speakers blast white noise at you and you can stand between them and move around creating strange effects on your ears.
Exhibit: an interactive pad where you can create music and drum beats. Quite an impressive device. Two were available with 2 sets of headphones for the operator and a friend to listen to the effects.
This concluded our day and after spending over 7 hours on our feet we returned to Shinjuku Station and took the subway back to the hotel.