Today we took the train out to Odaiba, a man-made island in Tokyo filled with shopping malls, museums, a huge Ferris wheel, and such. We wandered around floors of shops, mostly without much luck, although the kids were delighted to find a Toys 'R' Us with a huge Pokemon Center. One of the odd things we saw in the store were live elephant beetles. Apparently, because of the popularity of the video game Mushi King where players battle with giant beetles, Japanese kids are collecting real beetles now.

After the toy store, we spent some time at the Sony showroom playing with their cool toys including the very fun Rolly, a little robot MP3 player that dances to the music; it was a neat way to get hands on with some fun technology. I kind of wonder if Microsoft should do something similar.

For lunch we found a bit of heaven - a ramen "theme park". This was a six of small ramen shops representing different styles from around Japan. There were "Iron Chef" style photos of each of the chefs. There was a hawker outside each shop drawing in customers; once we picked one (Tokyo style) we put money into a machine, pushed the buttons for what we wanted, and got some tickets to hand to staff. The gyoza and ramen were absolutely delicious; the ramen was very different from the Kyushu-style we had at Jangara with dark, rich broth.

After lunch we wound up at another mall called Venus Fort which was unremarkable except that it looked like the inside of the Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas. Creepy really.

Iron Chef-like photo of a ramen chef 

Ordering ramen from the machine at the ramen theme park. 

Venus Fort shopping mall in Odaiba Tokyo

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