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Japan 2023: Day 2

I really need to figure out how people defeat the jet lag from transpacific flights because good lord it kicks the shit out of me. Even after going to bed at 10pm I still managed to wake up at midnight, 1am, 5am, and finally 9am. I was so awake at 5am that I started reading Empires of EVE: Volume 2 to try to fall back asleep.

We chose to start our trip in Yokohama for two major reasons. First, we'd be arriving in Tokyo late in the evening and knew that an immediate 5+ hour Shinkansen to Fukuoka would literally kill us. A quick 20 minute subway to Yokohama from Haneda Airport seemed like the perfect stopover. Second, Yokohama is home to the world's first "moving" Gundam. After dragging Elsie out of bed and grabbing some Blue Bottle coffee, we headed straight to the Gundam Factory Yokohama.

I am obviously incredibly biased because Mobile Suit Gundam Wing was such a formative anime for me, but the Yokahama Gundam was truly impressive. I originally thought it was just going to "walk" a few steps forward and rotate its head but it actually had a ton of articulation especially in its fingers. At one point it effectively fell to its knees, threw its hands up in the air, and yelled into the sky. Its 10 minute show completely vindicated our decision to come to Yokohama.

After finishing with the Gundam Factory it was time for lunch so we made our way to World Porters which we had heard was a good spot to grab some food. Unfortunately this didn't really turn out to be the case as it felt like a typical food court you'd find in any North American mall. We had some "pizza hotdogs" and headed off.

One of the weirdest attractions in Yokohama is the Cup Noodles Museum. I was uncharacteristically excited about this because I could not fathom how there could an entire museum dedicated to Cup Noodles. Well my suspicions were founded because there is only one interesting aspect of the "museum" which is a single room that contains every Cup Noodle product ever made. One of the major selling points was that you could make your own Cup Noodles but even that was a mislead. Once you buy a ticket for the museum you then have to buy a ticket for a 30 minute window where you get to make your cup. But most of that time is you queueing for a seat to get access to some markers and stickers to decorate your cup. The actual selecting of your ingredients only takes a few minutes and afterwards you don't get to eat your noodles! You immediately have to wrap it in cellophane so you can take it home.

Continuing the disappointment, we stopped by Cosmo World next which turned out to be the same type of scummy carnival you'd find anywhere in North America. It did have a Ferris wheel (formerly the tallest one in the world) but it was shut down for the day due to high winds.

The Yokohama Landmark Tower was just around the corner and it has an observatory, called the Sky Garden, so we made a brief stop. Admission was $10 but it really did provide a beautiful view of Yokohama. There was also some really weird collaboration with Warner Bros for their 100th anniversary so the entire observatory was full of art and statues of DC superheroes.

We had hoped to cap off the day with a trip to the Hara Model Railway Museum but it was here we experienced the first major issue due to the language barrier. Tickets for the railway museum were only sold via the "multi-copy machine" in the convenience store on the building's first floor. Try as we might we could not figure out how to purchase tickets as the machine was only in Japanese. After failing for nearly 30 minutes we finally gave up and headed back to our hotel.

After resting up for a bit we headed back out to do our first shopping of the trip. We stopped by the Pokémon Centre to buy a plushie and made our way to Yodobashi Camera so Elsie could buy Super Mario RPG for her Switch.

By now it was dinner time and being the lazy and tired sort that we are we just went to the hotel's buffet. I don't know if this was caused by the pandemic or not but you actually don't go and pick up the food yourself. You scan a QR code which takes you to a website where you can order whatever item you want and it is brought directly to your table. But in typical fashion they really hosed ya on the cost of drinks so we still spent $200 between the two of us.

After dinner it was only 8pm but the jet lag was starting to hit hard and I promptly passed out once making it back to our hotel room.