Today we had a trek. We trekked, complete with our backpacks, probably a mile or two in the wrong direction. That then meant we had to trek BACK with our backpacks in the right direction, and then carry on to our destination - the number one hostel in Japan.
Safely offloading our weights, we soon moved onto Odaibo, a man-made island in Tokyo Bay. There was loads here; most of it was mad, post-modern architechture - think buildings with balls in them and missing sections and bridges, all serving little purpose other than as eye-candy. Fantastic.
The other huge attraction of Odaibo were its many shopping malls; they were more like theme parks, each based on something different. One was man-themed with lots of cars, one was woman-themed, made up to look like Venice and containing high-end female fashion, one was surf-themed with, wait for it, loads of surfer gear, and one was deck-themed (surprisingly called Decks) where the floor was made up of decking and there was a strong beach theme to it.
So, the man-themed mall. It had inside it (in fact was mostly made up of) a Toyota factory. There you could test drive cars and eco-cars, and look at cars; there was also a motor-racing simulator in which the brake was ultra sensitive, so I spent much of my go not moving (until the assistant pointed out that I was leaning on the brake ever so slightly). Good fun though.
The best part was the Universal Design Studio, which had all the clever things that Toyota had created over the years. Most was car based. Some was robot based. Yeah; robots. There was one that played a trumpet; there were huge robot suits to help the elderly move around; there were little go-kart ones that aimed to reduce traffic accidents. They were fantastic, especially the trumpeteer. There was also a "Historic Garage", which featured tons of classic cars, which was pretty cool to look around.
Other features of the island were a life-sized Gundam robot (which we couldn't find sadly); and most of the malls were based in Pallette Town. Pallette Town. I looked, but could find neither Professor Oak, nor the road to Vermillion City :(
Apart from these setbacks, the day has been really fun. Tomorrow is our last full day; any requests for souvenirs had better come thick and fast, because before you know it, I'll be home :o