We’ve been really busy lately. I’m writing from an airplane flying over South East Asia from Bangkok to a mountain town in Laos where monks walk the streets and there is a cave full of golden Buddhas. But—I will have to get to that later, as we have not yet even landed there and I have more stories from Tokyo to tell.
A few days ago, we decided to go visit an area (actually a man-made island) where there are many malls and things like a giant ferris wheel, car shows, and motorcycle races. It was a three day holiday so there were lots of people– families mostly– wandering around this crazy mall-island-park, most of them dressed up to go shopping.
We were approaching one of these huge malls, when suddenly we looked up to see a giant robot looming over us in front of the mall. Giant like three or four stories tall. Giant like bigger around than some of the biggest, oldest redwood trees in the forests around where we live. It was seriously huge.
Next to the giant robot, was an in-progress upper part of another robot, however this one was made of flowers. it was all irrigated and everything. I think it’s to support the “Green Tokyo” plan because Japan might host the 2020 Olympics, so they are working on being more green. If you think this is crazy though, let me tell you about the inside of the mall!
It was like we just stepped into a mall designed to be Disneyland or a stage set. I think it was supposed to look like Italy with painted sky, balconies, window boxes with flowers. There were many details. Except that at the “street level” there were totally normal mall stores. We came to a square that had a giant fountain at it’s center and stopped to get a doughnut. It was so good. I will never tire of donuts.
Upon exiting the mall after a satisfactory experience, I decided to sit and take pictures of people. Suddenly I heard bizarre music start to play near the robot. I got up and ventured over to where a huge crowd had formed looking up and taking pictures. Everyone had a camera out and were taking pictures of something far above our heads. I looked up to see that the giant robot was moving and steaming and doing other robotic things.
The crowd was enraptured and started a picture-taking frenzy. I used this moment to my advantage an wandered throughout the crowd, taking pictures of interesting people.
After a while the robot stopped moving and the theme music ceased to play, but people still took pictures, and had others take pictures of them standing in front of the robot. The unexpected surprise put on by the robot was too exciting! Eventually the crowd thinned and started to wander off in search of lunch or entertainment inside the malls. We then called it a day and returned on the train and subway.
Speaking of the subway, we got these marvelous cards called Suica cards which you deposit money on and then just scan your wallet on your way in and out of the subway or train. Then you don’t have to buy tickets all the time! Also, it makes you seem like you live there because everyone has a Suica or Pasmo card and that is definitely a plus.
Updates from Laos soon!