6 Aug

My oldest daughter plays the trumpet in her Jr. High brass band.

Today her school’s brass band participated in the annual 東京都中学校吹奏楽コンクール (Metropolitan Tokyo Junior High School Brass Band Competition).

She did excellent!


After that, we went to 東京ドームシティ (Tokyo Dome City).

It’s an amusement park and shopping center next to the Tokyo Dome (which is the home to the Tokyo Giants baseball team. And many concerts and events are held here, too) and the very tall “Tokyo Dome Hotel“.

Here’s a short video of the area behind the Tokyo Dome:

And here’s another short video I took while looking out a window in the shopping center:

When I walked past the Kentucky Fried Chicken there, I noticed the Col. Sanders statue out front.

KFC” (or 「ケンタッキー」 (“Kentucky”) as it’s known here) in Japan usually have a near life-size statue of Col. Sanders out front. He is often dressed to fit the current season.

Here’s a picture of him from last X-mas:

And here he is today (he’s wearing a Japanese 半被 (Happi coat)…which is a common sight at Japanese summer festivals):

Tokyo Dome City has a few food courts. At lunchtime, we went to the smallest one and ate at an excellent bread shop.

Here’s a short view of that food court:

The “McDonalds” that you can see in that video gets pretty crowded. So they have something I’ve never seen before…for customers who want their food for “Take out” can go through the “Walk Thru Gate” (as opposed to a “Drive Thru”). I was also surprised that the sign for it was written in English:

There’s a wild roller-coaster ride at the Tokyo Dome City that goes through a building.

Here’s a video of it:

In alot of restaurants in Japan, there’s a display out from that shows realistic, plastic models of the menu items.


Yesterday it stormed real hard and there was flash flooding.

Parts of the Tokyo sewage system became flooding and six workers were sent to repair it.

The current was so strong that they got washed away. One man escaped to safety, but two men have been confirmed dead.

The other three are missing, as of today, and feared dead.

When we left Tokyo Dome City today, we walked past 神田川 (Kanda River) on the way to the train station. As we did, we saw the Tokyo Fire Department and Police divers searching the river for the three missing men.

It’d be a miracle…but I hope they find them alive.


Japan has vending machines that sell nearly anything!

From vending machines here, you can get rice, beer, cigarettes, flowers, eggs, candy, cola, tea, coffee (hot or cold), magazines, newspapers, stamps, condoms, underwear, telephone cards, train tickets, bread, etc, etc…

Here’s an 傘の自動販売機 (umbrella vending machine):


Today my 「SUICA 定期券」 (I.C. monthly train pass) expired, so I had to get a new one.

When I first came to Japan, the train lines sold 磁気定期券 (Magnetic monthly train passes).

(This photo is from “JR East”‘s website. It’s not a photo of an actual pass…the name on it is “Tarou Higashinihon (East-Japan)”).

This pass would be inserted into the ticket gate like a regular ticket (and it would come out the other side). The customer would pay for either a one-month, three-month, or a six-month pass between any two stations. Then it could be used between those stations as many times as the owner of the pass wished…until the expiration date (at which it had to be renewed). The three and six month passes offered a greater discount.

If the pass owner went past either of the two stations on the pass, he would pay the fare difference in cash.

But a few years ago, Japan introduced a new Intregrated Circuit (I.C.) card (some countries call it a “smart card”).

The one’s issued by the main train line are green and called “SUICA“. Other train lines, subway lines, and bus companies all use the pink “PASMO” card.

The two are interchangeable…meaning either card can be used to pay for JR train lines, other train lines, subways, buses, as well as some vending machines and shops and restaurants near train and subway stations.

The SUICA card:

This card can be charged at station machines and used by swiping it at the train or store or vending machine sensors.

It doesn’t even need to be removed from your wallet.

But it can also be used, as I do, as a 「SUICA 定期券」 (I.C. monthly train pass). In the same way as the magnetic train pass that I mentioned above, this card can have a 1, 3 or 6 month pass between two stations.

What makes it better is that it can be quickly swiped as you enter the station and if you go past either of the two stations…it takes the fare balance from the funds that the card owner charged it with.

The 「SUICA 定期券」 (I.C. monthly train pass):

(Once again, this pic is from J.R.’s website)

It’s called “Suica” for a few reasons…スイ (“Sui”) is kinda like “swish” in English. A swiping sound. And カ (ka (or “ca”)) can be easily seen by Japanese as an obvious abbreviation for カード (card). Also, スイカ (Suika) means “watermelon” in Japanese…and the design on the card is train tracks in a circular pattern on a green background. It looks like a watermelon logo.

On the card, the name “Suica” is written with the “ic” a different color…because it’s an “IC” card.

Get it?


At the subway station, I saw this advertisement for the 「東京マラソン2009」 (Tokyo Marathon 2009):

It reminded me of “SF Runner“, so I took a picture of it so he could see it.

8 Responses to “コンクール”

  1. tokyo5 August 16, 2008 at 4:58 pm #


    That’s a good site….he’s got the same umbrella machine that I got on this post.

    I’ve actually seen all of those types of vending machines (in many cases, the exact one that he took a photo of)!


  2. rzapanta August 16, 2008 at 2:48 pm #

    Here is a cool site with pictures of vending machines found in Japan.

    You can certainly find lots of vending machines and convenience stores (Konbini) in Japan!


  3. tokyo5 August 9, 2008 at 11:38 am #

    >wowzers that Tokyo Dome looks amazing! I will definitely have to check that out, especially the roller coaster!

    There are lots of amusement parks in the Tokyo area.

    >Would the SUICA card be a good thing to purchase in Tokyo if one is only there for 3 weeks? Just interested to see if it is worth it for a short duration.

    It depends. Are you just staying in the Tokyo area? SUICA is a “JR East” IC card. Osaka, for instance, is part the JR West network which has the ICOCA card (pronounced “E-ko-ka”. A play on words meaning “IC Operating CArd” and 「行こうか?」 (“Should we go?”)). Other lines and buses use the PASMO card.
    They’re all interchangeable though.
    But they can be used on the 新幹線 (Bullet trains).

    If you’re gonna use the bullet trains and/or go long distances…you shouldn’t use an IC card (like SUICA). You should get a JR Rail Pass from your home country before you leave. They’re more expensive…but save you money if you use the trains to go long distances (Tokyo ←→Osaka, for example).
    Only tourists can buy the JR Rail Pass (I, for example, am ineligible).

    >thank you!

    You’re welcome.


  4. gatherfoundobjects August 8, 2008 at 8:39 pm #

    wowzers that Tokyo Dome looks amazing! I will definitely have to check that out, especially the roller coaster! Would the SUICA card be a good thing to purchase in Tokyo if one is only there for 3 weeks? Just interested to see if it is worth it for a short duration. thank you!


  5. tokyo5 August 8, 2008 at 1:20 am #


    >The food looks good

    The food in Japan IS good. (Check out this post that I just wrote:
    https://tokyo5.wordpress.com/2008/08/08/2008-olympics/ )


  6. Mb August 8, 2008 at 1:04 am #

    I love the rollercoasters; especially the one that goes through a building! The food looks good, too. Seems like fun!! Thanks for showing the videos.


  7. tokyo5 August 7, 2008 at 12:39 pm #

    >Thank you tokyo5. Now, I’m really pumped up again.

    Yeah. I heard that you’ll be notified in November whether or not you’re accepted to run the Tokyo Marathon.
    Let me know.

    >The Tokyo Dome was cool when I took a tour in 2001.

    Where else did you go in Japan?


  8. sfrunner August 7, 2008 at 11:06 am #

    Thank you tokyo5. Now, I’m really pumped up again. The Tokyo Dome was cool when I took a tour in 2001.


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