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Kawasaki & Yokohama.

February 12, 2011

The rest of last week was spent in Kawasaki, which is known as the industrial hub with numerous factories, including Fujitsu plant, as well as Ajinomoto. I was informed that residential housing has been increasing in this area and I thought to myself that “oh, maybe the factories are becoming cleaner and people are more willing to live near them”. Well, the main reason is that plants have been closing down and relocating abroad. So much for green chemistry…

Either way I got a nice tour of our surfactant manufacturing facility, which was super cool. I’m sure glad I’m not an engineer.

Friday was a holiday so I headed to Yokohama, the second largest city in Japan. It has an interesting history, starting out as a small fishing village and then being the first to open it’s port to foreigners at the end of the Edo period. Commodore Matthew Perry arrived in Yokohama in 1853-54 with his fleet of American warships and demanded the opening of Japan’s ports for trade. Seclusion period ended with that and foreign influence grew. Yokohama has a foreigners cemetery, where a sailor from Perry’s fleet was first buried, followed by some obscure Russians.  They say that Japanese wives of foreigners were also buried here. It’s not open during the winter, however, so I couldn’t visit. I did check out the very sophisticated Chinatown, which is completely different from the Flushing or Manhattan Chinatowns. Lots of chestnut stalls, curious shops and good restaurants.  


















Following a good dinner in Chinatown I walked to Minato Mirai 21 urban district to ascend the 69th floor of Yokohama Landmark Tower. This tower has the fastest elevator in Japan, going at max speed of 750 m/min.

I wish they had a transparent balcony or something of the sort as in Toronto Tower or what used to be Sears Tower in Chicago, it would have been a bit more thrilling (maybe I’m just spoiled though).

The building itself is a hotel.










The following day it was lightly snowing. I came back to Minato Mirai 21 to shop (both Kawasaki and Yokohama have huge underground malls that connect between subway and train stations) and also to visit Yokohama Art Museum.


























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