Fields right next to urban area, as seen from train from Narita to Ueno.

Vehicles drive on the left side of the road in Japan. Bikes ride on the sidewalks. Motorcycles weave between cars.

My room at Sakura Ryokan – authentic and traditional, but I'd soon be wishing for a chair.

Man feeding his lunch to stray cats in Ueno Park.

The crows in Japan have giant, thick beaks. They are quite imposing.

A group of gashapon machines in Ueno Park, near the tiny, run-down amusement park.

Fountain in Ueno Park.

Japanese macaques in Ueno Zoo.

Zoo employee making a tapir very, very happy. One of my best photos.

This monkey reminds me of a grumpy old man.

Young bears play-wrestling.

My first encounter with a Japanese-style toilet. I was successful.

I had a hard time finding deodorant in the drugstore at the subway station. I later learned from television commercials that 8x4 is a women's deodorant. Regardless, it worked quite well.

Me in front of the kappa statue on Kappabashi-dori, an entire street filled with stores selling culinary goods.

Colonel Sanders poses outside a KFC near a pachinko parlor.

Ahh, Akihabara... what bliss. I ended up going there five times during my trip.

There are vending machines all over Japan, but these were especially interesting. They're outside a shop in Akihabara, and they seem to have custom artwork on them with mascots of the shop.

Kaminari-mon at Senso-ji temple. The postcard I bought didn't have the guy with the broom.

A friendly dog tied to a post outside one of the unopened shops at Senso-ji.

The five-story pagoda at Senso-ji.

People making an offering by tossing a coin into a box, then praying.

Fish near a bridge.

A takoyaki (octopus dumpling) stand being set up on the grounds of Senso-ji.

I've never found anything funny about coffee.

I arrived at Senso-ji before the crowds did, but stayed long enough to see them.

Outside the window of my hotel room was... the wall of another hotel. No wonder the window was covered by paper panels.

Just one of many tall and stylish buildings in Ginza.

Hanuhinkan Toy Park, the largest toy store in Japan. I spent a fair amount of money here.

The Sapporo Botanical Garden was a nice oasis of peace and nature in Sapporo.

One of hundreds of types of flowers and plants in the greenhouse at the botanical garden.

Duck and ducklings in a small manmade pond at the botanical garden.

No, I didn't pet the cactus; I was just trying to give a sense of scale to the photograph.

These giant plants were found all over the botanical garden. Some of them were four feet across.

A panoramic view of the rose garden.

My room at a business hotel in Sapporo. It was just wide enough that I couldn't touch both side walls at the same time.

One day's haul from a 7-Eleven. I drank lots and lots of Pocari Sweat in Japan. One of the pasta salads was topped with mentaiko, which is salted cod or pollack roe seasoned with red pepper.

One of several fountains in Odori Park, Sapporo.

I spent my second week in Shibuya. This is the first sight I saw when I left the train station. It turned out to be a nicer place than it looks.

Statue of
Hachiko at Shibuya Station.

Cocoa in a can! I was inexplicably amazed at the existence of cocoa in a can.

Taiyaki from a vending machine. The fish-shaped pastry filled with sweet red bean paste was stored frozen in the machine, then was heated when I selected it. Delicious.

Me at Tokyo Big Sight. [Insert pun about how I never saw such a big tool before.]

Me in Venice. OK, not really... it was a shopping center designed to look like Venice.

Panoramic view of Tokyo Bay, as seen while waiting for the boat to arrive for a river cruise.

Odaiba at night.

More Odaiba at night.