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Here you'll find some personal notes I took during my trip.
I didn't really write this to be read by others, but you can take a look if you like. This is about what happened in London during the week or so I was there.
*Diary written between September and October of 2000
First Off, I Take a Walk AroundEven though the weather was fine in the morning, as I write this rain is falling. The time is 6 pm. It's summer time, so in Japan now it's 10 am of the same day. If we consider the time difference, it comes to about 9 hours.
It was a clear morning, but in the afternoon it would periodically start raining then suddenly clear up. Rather a funny climate. The weather forecast had said today would be clear with occasional cloudy periods, which I suppose was accurate enough. Thinking about this, I got my feet in motion and took myself to the British Museum. The museum was a brisk 10 minute walk from my hotel.
I'm digressing here, but it takes less than a minute to reach the nearest tube station from the hotel I'm staying at. It's incredibly convenient.
When I entered the museum, first and foremost I was amazed by the amount of plunder from China and other Asian countries. I was truly astonished by the sheer number of magnificent items, all so generously displayed. Everything from white porcelain jars to pale blue ones, and copper mirrors, and on and on. Anyways, it was all quite wonderful. There were many items, for examples statues of Buddha and the like, which were considerably larger than the items I saw at the Egypt exhibition at a museum in Ueno, Tokyo. It was amazing! I started to feel a bit envious. I saw so many things that made me think I want that! I started to feel irritated and almost uneasy. Why must I come all the way to Europe to see these valuable artefacts from Asia? Heads-up, Japan. We need to work on our collections.
I spent nearly 2 hours looking at this and that. I decided to save the rest for another day, and returned to the hotel for the time being. Perhaps because it was still the first day since my arrival, I would suddenly need to go to the washroom at rather inconvenient times. Although I wanted nothing more that to relieve myself, there was not a toilet to be found anywhere. Such being the case, I had to make a special trip all the way back to my hotel room just to use the toilet.
When I returned to my room, there was a godsend under the door. It was a fax from Y. On the road it's always a real pain not to be able to check e-mail, so I had borrowed a PC from Y, but no matter how hard I tried I couldn't access the internet. I had actually just been wondering what could possibly be wrong. On the fax, instructions for connecting were written very clearly and that helped for the time being. (Actually, after that there was still a bit of trouble, but I was able to borrow a line from the hotel conference room, and that's what I connected with in the end.)
I left my hotel again, and took the tube to Piccadilly Circus. I wasn't sure what would be there but I decided to go and check it out anyways. It turned out to be what you might call a shopping district. There were a lot of big electric signs and also many old traditional buildings, giving the area the feeling of what would remain if you added up the Shibuya and Yurakucho districts of Tokyo and divided by three. It's something of a strange comparison, I'm not sure if I understand myself, but that was about the atmosphere.
There was McDonald's and Burger King, and incidentally Tower Records as well. I made do with lunch at McD's, which was surprisingly quite delicious. Tower Records is cheaper in Japan than England. In the past, an American contributing to the T. Rex mailing list complained "Why are CDs and stuff so much more expensive in England? Isn't it strange?" Actually, it's enough to make me want to protest too. It's expensive! It's definitely cheaper to buy in Japan. On top of which there is nothing much on the shelves in England. Thinking that as expected shopping in a place rather like Ginza is no-good, I continued my stroll and took in all the beautiful old streets.
After a while, when I wasn't sure if I was taking a walk or simply totally lost, suddenly I really had to go again. Luckily, I saw a Mitsukoshi department store so I relieved myself there. Of course I didn't buy anything.
Mitsukoshi is very popular with Japanese, and everywhere I looked I saw country oba-chans (grandmas) on vacation. Strangely impressed that these oba-chans who couldn't speak a word of English were there shopping, I took a look at the products on offer. Oh, finally a cheap store! (lol) Just as expect from oba-chans. Regardless of whether or not the clerk spoke Japanese, they shopped at the stores with the lowest prices. I must give them my utmost respect.
After a reasonable time at Mitsukoshi I returned to Russell Square, where I'm staying, and went to buy some dinner.
And that brings us to now, dinner time. As expected being on my own is a little lonely, but I feel at ease. Well, I think I'll go eat now.