We decide to head out to Machida which geographically is relative to central Tokyo as say Campbelltown is to central Sydney. The comparison ends there though. When we subsequently arrive, Machida feels like three Chatswoods in one.
This time we use the privately owned Odakyu Railway - I think it must be a large company as the Odakyu terminal is under the Odakyu Department store in Shinjuku and the same arrangement is evident in Machida.
At the start of our train trip at Shinjuku we emerge from the terminal straight onto a level crossing.
Apart from the Shinkansen you see this quite a lot in Japan. The fact that the Japanese people seem to actually respect stop signs etc means that level crossings probably aren't such a risk here.
Now you might be wondering why we are going to Machida. There is a '100 Yen' shop we want to check out. Rumi told us about the 100 Yen shops before we left. We have already checked out some of the smaller ones.
100 yen shops sell a wide range of products for 105 yen per item (100 yen plus 5 percent consumption tax). This corresponds to roughly to AUD$1.20 per item. Apparently there are thousands of 100 yen shops across Japan, ranging in size from multi-storey "department stores" to small corners in shopping malls.
The 100 Yen store in Machida is the largest in Japan.
The website advises the store is opposite the railway station. When we arrive we find there are two huge railway terminals (JR plus Odakyu) and numerous multiple storey shops and malls. We head to a Starbucks for a light lunch and I ask the waitress (in basic Japanese) "where is the 100 yen store". There is some conferring and an English speaking staff member indicates the direction. Later as we are eating lunch she reappears with a carefully hand drawn map!! The map proves to be very accurate and we are soon exploring Japan's largest 100 Yen store.
We purchase enough odds and ends to make the visit worthwhile and then spend the rest of the afternoon visiting some really good shops in the area.
We return to Shinjuku and as its getting late in the afternoon we decide to stick with fairly plain fare for dinner. There is a 'Jonathan's' on the way home so we decide to try it out. The large menus feature mostly European style food. Despite the name of the restaurant the menus are in Japanese but the large clear photos make it easy to work out what's being offered. This is a similar concept to Denny's. Interestingly both restaurants feature the calorie count for every thing on the menu. The food proves to be of a similarly high quality to Denny's with similar sensibly sized servings. My hamburger is advertised as '100% Tasmanian beef'!!