It was inevitable that this day would come smuch so that I tried to forget that this was it. There is still so much to see and the sands of the hourglass have run out soon it will be time to flip it around and start fresh again. What to do with my time then? I decided to go to the Odaiba district to visit the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation aka Miraikan.
Why did I choose this place above all the other places to go to? Well I read about it and it had displays about science and innovation. It was in the new part of Tokyo and I was interested in what it had to offer. It contained displays not only aimed at children but it was sophisticated enough for adults to appreciate. I needed to fill up my time with something.
Last day of the trip blues kind of hit me hard. This time away from everything back home and my second adopted home culminated in this. I enjoy science and I am curious about where technology will take us. We are living on some kind of cusp of something but we don’t know what that is yet. Is it some kind of singularity where we will become integrated with machines as we augment out biology to extend this life a bit further? Will biotech finally catch up with the diseases that plague us constantly? Will we finally settle on the causes and find solutions to our ever present environmental issues that threaten to destroy the civilization that has developed over the last century? We live in interesting times they say.
I knew where this place was having taken the train past it a few days before. I didn’t have time to visit then. It was easy enough to get to. I didn’t need to go to another design district filled with shops and the other museums would have been nice to visit but I ran out of time. I thought six days would have been enough. Having said that though I am ready to go back. I need to work and make some money and implement some changes that I have been thinking about. It’s hard to do that on the road.
The day was kind of sunny and a bit humid by Japanese standards but certainly a lot cooler than some of the places I’ve been to. The ride was enjoyable enough. I like the ease and comfort of this transit system. Within no time I was there. That’s not to say that I rushed over to get there. I had a couple of coffees along the way and appreciated some of the sights that I passed along the way. Every street has something new and interesting within its bewildering amount of signs and shops.
The Odaiba district is a new district based on the new buildings everywhere. Tall squarish residential buildings and offices indispersed by futuristic looking more experimental ones. There are a lot of shopping places here as well. I must say that shopping here is taken to another level. I’ve seen a lot of shopping malls in my day and here one could really loose themselves with buying things.
The walk from the station to Miraikan took me through a park that has been freshly planted. An instant forest still supported by logs waiting to one day be unwrapped once the roots are strong enough. There was an air of cold sophistication on the quiet path. The few office workers enjoying some fresh air in the designated spots. There weren’t many souls around and little traffic as I crossed the road. The building itself is impressive high with many windows to let the sunshine in. A building like this would has to be futuristic or else it doesn’t inspire like proper architecture should. Form and function follow each other chasing each other’s tail.
I started at the top and made my way down to the bottom floor. I passed on the opportunity to watch the 3D show in the planetarium as it was sold out until way later on in the day. I figured the exhibitions inside would be enough for me. The first theme of the exhibition was the earth and the universe. There were many displays talking about the solar system and our planet. They had a rocket engine on display explaining how it was possible for it to produce so much thrust. The thing isn’t actually that large yet it lifts such a big thing into space. They had a submarine that dives deep underwater. It’s capable of going 6000m under water. That world is just as mysterious as the one above. How life is able to sustain itself at such extreme depths. It’s like the depths of our consciousness unexplored yet so important to understand. They displayed work being conducted on subatomic particles in order to understand the nature of matter.
They had a floor dedicated to robotics and the processes of science. We are on the verge of augmenting ourselves. Our bodies are able to adapt to inputs from electronics and vice versa. Artificial intelligence is being slowly developed and they had a talking robot interacting with the kids. They had a display with the possibility of interacting with a virtual reality world projected on the various surfaces of the space. There were labs that were used to give lectures on the various branches of science as well as conducting experiments that gave evidence of basic physical and biological principles. Their biology display had slides about various cells and a good display on the way modern medicine diagnoses disease and the way medicine is moving toward tailored therapies based on the way our genes shape our response to this treatment. The globe hanging from the ceiling of the open multipurpose space was mesmerizing.
The whole experience inside was somewhat uplifting and motivating as my work in some ways lies at the cutting edge of some of this science. I’m hopeful that I’ll finally get a chance to practice and use my skills to their full potential. The problem in the UK was that this was denied to me. Their regulations are such that I wasn’t able to do that. I should have lied to them and made things up. But I’m not like that and because of that I pay the price in some way. Integrity is a difficult thing to have. I’ve noticed some have lied and got their registration number. I’d probably still be in London now. I’ve made peace with my decisions though even though those intersections keep coming up in my mind every once in a while. That goes with other things as well.
Once I visited all the displays I made my way out through the gift shop and walked through the park to get a picture of the Fuji TV building. This is one of those iconic buildings whose architecture is flamboyant enough to admire from the outside. I made my way through the shopping centre to find a good spot in the adjacent parking lot to capture it. So many shops were found inside. I could t help but browse through it. There is the usual assortment of western brands as well as Japanese shops. I got my shot and then walked to the Ferris wheel in the centre of this island to add to my collection of those shots. A lot of cities have them. Vancouver needs one I think.
I took a different line to get me closer to the hotel. I ended up transferring and taking the monorail that was filled with office workers making their way home after what looked like a long day at the office. That’ll be me soon although I probably won’t look so glum starring at my phone. I hope. As I walked home I passed the American embassy once again and got an illicit shot of it. This is not allowed. There are guards all over the place keeping it safe. You are not allowed to walk on the sidewalk beside it for fear that someone might do some kind of terrorist act. No parking in front either but that is easy to understand.
When I got to my room I stared at the pile of clothes and all the knock knacks that I’ve collected over the last couple of months. I should probably organize it all into some coherent stack and try to fit it all into my pack. Sounds easier said than done. I pondered the many ways in which I could do this along with thinking what I’d wear on my way back. That decision was made easy as I don’t have too many clean clothes left. I’m going to look somewhat comical on the plane but I don’t really care anymore. I wonder what kind of a hassle I’m going to get as I go through customs tomorrow. I have a bunch of stuff already that has to be cleared. Oh the hassle of getting back.
I’m looking forward to seeing everybody when I return. It’ll take a while to visit everyone. I’m returning right in time for the summer. A new era will begin again. I’m somewhat different now I think. Let’s see how all of this works out.