It as so bunny cow changing ole wetter on a work man mike a wig difference…. (that originally said “It is so funny how changing one letter in a word can make a big difference….”)
It was humerous to walk around and see the signs, hats, shirts around the city and to listen to the songs. Sometimes it is really difficult to understand what message is trying to be made. Other times it is just shocking.
EXAMPLE: One young girls shirt said “it made my heart best fast”. We had to think about this for a while before figuring it out. Best=Beat… So close, yet it completely changes the meaning.
EXAMPLE: As we walked around a shopping mall. I hear the song “Patron Tequila” by Paradiso Girls featuring Lil John. Doesn’t sound to family-friendly?… Allow me to provide lyrics:…
I’m off Patron Tequila
I’m drunk in margaritas
Hey girl where’s your drink?
We goin’ all get real drunk
Hey girl, I got puff, we can all get f***ed up tonight
And by the end of the night I’ma have you drunk and throwing up
And by the end of the night, I’ma have you so f***ed up!
……Ahhhh…. Good quality lyrics. But the Japanese didn’t know. Please note- the f***s were NOT censored. In fact, you can add s***, a**, and even n***er to that list. They just kept shopping with the kids by their sides….
ANOTHER EXAMPLE: Shopping the flea market in Asakusa, they were selling porcelain cats that had meanings. There was a sign explaining them all. Yellow colored cat meant luck. White colored cat meant happiness. Gleen colored cat meant chance to meet safety. Blown colored cat meant promotion steadiness. Yep… The sign said “gleen” and “blown”. So cute!
There were so so many other examples. Some trash cans were labeled “Dust Bin”. Honestly we appreciated the effort to have things in English. We got the gist.
Granted… We say all of this fully knowing that when we attempted to speak Japanese, we most likely looked COMPLETELY foolish. We were mostly surprised at the songs playing without censorship, but we realize…they just don’t know what they just don’t know!
I love it here!!!
I know….I know… It’s been a while since we have posted, but we have been going non-stop!
As you know, we spent Monday, September 12th at Tokyo DisneySea. We had purchased a 4-day Tokyo Disney tickets. 12th at DisneySea. 13th at Disneyland. And the 14th and 15th were our choice. Tokyo Disneyland was amazing of course. Their level of service in many ways was at a completely different level than ANYthing at Walt Disney World in Florida. However, I truly believe this is due to the culture and how ALL Japanese people are. Like I’ve said, everyone here is so nice and polite. There were great shows and attractions. The parades were definitely the highlight of the Tokyo Disney Parks. Disneyland had two: Disney’s Halloween Street Welcome to Spookyville parade (day) and Disney’s Electrical Parade Dream Lights (night). The Halloween parade had a dance that the parade performers interacted with the crowd. It was cool!! They really have embraced Halloween here in Japan! The Electrical Parade floats were beyond beautiful and had awesome effects.
We went back Tokyo DisneySea on the 14th and Disneyland again for our last day on the 15th. We literally were opening and closing the parks. And by opening I mean Japanese standards: getting to the park at least one hour before park opening and waiting outside in the heat. Add on top of that the 45 minute metro trip to the park and we were basically going to the hotel, sleeping, showering, applying deodorant twice (I mean this place is hot HOT), and doing the parks all over again. But it was all worth it!!!
Overall, to say we were impressed with Tokyo Disney Parks is an understatement. We were completely blown away. The rides were fun! The popcorn was delicious (we had strawberry three times, black pepper twice, caramel once, and honey three times). The shows were entertaining (Mickey Tap-danced!). The parade were amazing. Everything was GREAT!!!
Today was the day we had been waiting for- our first day in Tokyo’s Disney parks. Our first choice was Tokyo DisneySea. Its a huge park with several different themed lands and is right next to the sea. You can literally see the ocean in parts of the park. On our to-do list was of course the park’s major attractions: Journey to the Center of the Earth, Tower of Terror, Indiana Jones and the Curse of the Crystal Skull, and Raging Spirits. We had no idea we would stumble upon the amazing quality entertainment they had there as well.
We knew we had to get there early. They have lines and huge crowds waiting outside. The people start lining up over an hour before park opens. We get there at 830 and the lines were already very long. Once inside, we hustle to Tower of Terror to get a FastPass. We were in awe of the elaborate detailing and great theming of each land. After getting our Tower FastPass (literally a golden ticket- they were out by 11am), we went to Journey to the Center of the Earth and waited in standby for our first attraction. The queue was beautiful and the ride was so so much fun. It’s similar to Test Tracks ride system, and again I must say it was awesome! Now began the waiting for our FastPass return times. They all were for much later in the day. We don’t know what was going on but the park was very very busy. The 4 major attractions had wait times between 100-130 minutes most of the day. Thank goodness for FastPass. We were hoping it would be slower as the school were back into session, but that was not the case. If that was smaller crowds, I don’t wanna see a busy day… It just proves the fact that the Japanese LOVE Disney. I mean the are obsessed. I would say 90% of the crowd has some type of Disney merchandise. Backpacks, hats, shirts, Minnie bows, miniature sorcerer Mickey hats clipped to their hair, phone charms (of course), and popcorn buckets are all around. They love it. Speaking of love and popcorn buckets…they have flavored popcorn here. Tons of flavors. Yesterday in DisneySea we saw sea salt, caramel, curry, and milk tea flavors. We tried the black pepper popcorn and the strawberry popcorn twice. So so gooood! I’ve read they also have chocolate, coconut, honey, and cappuccino but we haven’t found them.
The shows in the park were all amazing. Be Magical! is part of their 10th anniversary celebration. Basically, there were floats in the lagoon with tons of characters. They got off the boats and danced in the crowds. Truly magical! Another lagoon show was Legend of Mythica. The storyline was impossible to follow not knowing the language, but it didn’t matter. The floats were extravagant and mythological themed, I’m talking unicorns and dragons. We also saw Mystic Rhythms which was a Cirque type water show which was great. They just started performing Fantasmic! at night and it was really really cool. Our favorite however was Big Band Beat. They played tons of 1920s-1940s American Jazz songs. It was in English!!! Hooray! It had a full band playing- drums, piano, saxophones, trombones, trumpets, and jazz singers. Mickey, Minnie, Daisy, and Marie the cat (random I know but they love her here) all had their own numbers. Mickey “got down” on a drum set! And he and Minnie TAP DANCED! It was brilliant!! It was a very good show. In watching this world-class entertainment we started to notice a trend…. There seemed to always be an empty seat behind me. I was kinda like the old lady with the unnecessarily large hat that blocks everyone’s view. I was that guy….but what could I do about it? Oh well. Sumimasen (which we think means excuse me…). Fantastic rides, amazing shows, and awesome theming in this beautiful park. Tokyo Disneyland is set for tomorrow. Who knows where is in store for us there?! (Technically we already do cause we looked it up on their website, but seeing it in person is better than a computer monitor…)
Yet another day of exploring the wards of Tokyo. On today’s list: Harajuku, Yoyogi Park, and Shinjuku.
Harajuku has an area called Ometesando Hills. It’s kinda like the Rodeo Drive of Tokyo. There were lots of fancy smancy shops all along the street. This part of town seemed to be one where a lot of the younger crowd lives. Nothing really opens until around 11 or noon. But if course cause we wake up around 7 everyday, we were in the area long before anything opened. So basically we walked around and scouted out which shops we wanted to visit. Our first stop was at a Kiddy Land (a toy store). It was filled with wonderful Japanese strange toys. Not all were for kids. We found this one toy…I never thought I would ever see. It is called the Humping Dog… I have a video of it. It’s a simple contraption and is pretty much self explanatory. You plug this little plastic dog into the USB of your computer and he just goes to town on the USB port. It serves no purpose besides humping your computer- there is no memory on it, but I believe you can control the speed. The box says it all “USB meets LOVE”. Jeandy purchased a bug which is simply a little vibrating machine about the size of a quarter with rubber legs attached. Once you put it on the ground, it takes off!! Cutesy damn thing! Our next stop was an underwear shop. I’ve gotten some really cool undies on this trip, but I believe sharing too many details would be concerning…. Especially since our families read this! In this shop however, you could create your own specialized pair. Select the color, band, and even a cool little back pocket. We both went with one of the printed pairs. After shopping in this area, we walked over to nearby Yoyogi Park and Takashita Street.
We did a quick walk through of the Meiji Jingu Temple. It was very pretty and had over 100,000 trees from different parts of Japan and other countries. We saw two traditional Japanese weddings. One was in progress and one was doing group photos. Everyone was dressed very traditionally in mostly black or white. However, there was this one crazy looking lady attending one of the weddings. She had on all red and her hairdo rivaled Cruella DeVil (in style not color). You could definitely tell she was the crazy insane aunt that they had to invite and they really didn’t want to. Every family has got one…
Off to the next stop. All of the books we read in preparation before the trip suggested going to this area on a Sunday or weekend. It was RIGHT!
Takashita Street is a famous street with lots of little shops. It’s also know as an area where people dress up in CosPlay (costumes). You may have seen pictures of Japanese girls dressed like comic book characters. That’s what we saw on Takashita Street. So interesting… For example, one girls was Alice in Wonderland themed. The had a blonde wig on. Her dress was blue was rabbits and playing cards on it, and she had a purse in the shape of a pocket watch. Weekends in Yoyogi Park seem to be a gathering place for friends, family, and….uhhh…social groups? There were little group gatherings all over the park. There was a Hula dancing club practicing, a drumming club, a runners club jogging around, some breakdancing street performers, and a ukulele group (seemed like they would join the hula dancers). These groups were small. Most of the park was friends and families gathered for a lovely yet hot day outside. Believe me my friends… We have saved the best for last. Just outside the park’s entrance…there was another group. By far, this was my favorite- The Greasers. I’m talking John Travola/Olive Newton-John wannabes. In all, there were about 20 of them. At first pass into the park, they were just socializing. Some were combing their Danny-Zucco-greased hair back. They even had lady followers (Rizzo- of you will…). On our way out of the area, they were playing music and dancing. “Nicest Kids in Town” (from the most recent Hairspray movie) was the song that started and so did the dancing and attempts at singing. IT. WAS. HILARIOUS!!!
We arrive at our next stop in Shinjuku. We read that this is the busiest metro station in the world. Over 2 million people go through the station a day…and I believe it!! So very busy with lots of shops! The first place we visited was the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building for the observation deck on the 44th floor. We ran into another group protesting in the streets. The 44th floor was yet another gorgeous view of the packed and busy city. Building as far as the eye could see. We were hoping to get a good view of Mt. Fuji from there, but of course it was too cloudy. We could see a few surrounding ones but there was a clump of clouds and haze right where Fuji’s peak would be. Oh well, the rest of the view was amazing! We left the observation area and headed to the streets. It was another busy area with lots of crowds. This place however had hundreds of police officers and barricades for control. Strange. There may have been something else going on, but we weren’t sure (and couldn’t really ask…). We walked the streets in awe of the tons if signs we couldn’t read. We wandered into the “Red Light District” which was surprisingly just as clean and neat as the rest of the city. They had a Pachinko parlor there so we went in. I’ve been wanting to play Pachinko since I read about it. I think It’s Japan’s version of gambling. I believe it is illegal to gamble here so they have their way around it. Pachinko is a game kinda like pinball but it is vertical. Perhaps more like Plinko on the Price is Right…? Metal balls fall from the top and you hope they fall in certain areas. It is beyond loud. The sound of metal balls hitting metal planks it numbing. Take that and multiply by 400 or so machines… From what I can gather on how the game works, You then take these balls and redeem them for prizes not money. Then you take the prize to a separate location to redeem for money. I believe this is what happens. However, I cannot even begin to figure out where to put the money inside the machine much less PLAY the game. It’s so confusing and I was so excited to try it. It’s probably best I just save the yen.
Our day Shinjuku experience ended with a visit to Yoshinoya for dinner. Basically, it is Japan’s McDonalds but I’m not 100% certain. They’re all over the place! The food is basic and very fast. We were in and out in less than 15 minutes and it gave us slight indigestion. Yet we still plan to revisit before we leave. Yep….definitely sounds like a Japanese McDonalds!! We then called it a night and went to bed early so we could start our Tokyo Disney adventure bright and early the next morning!!!
Our arrival at the Tokyo Dome meant the Yomiuri Giants baseball game was soon approaching. We got there almost 2 hours prior to the game starting. We walked around the shops and entertainment area. The Tokyo Dome has an amusement park called Tokyo Dome City. Most of the attractions have been closed since the earthquake in March. Unfortunately this included the Thunder Dolphin roller coaster. So we browsed the shops outside until we decided to go in. The dome part of the Tokyo Dome is kinda like a parachute. The top part is completely supported by air pressure. The pressure inside the dome is higher than the outside so the top kinda bubbles out. It’s really neat actually.
We walked in the building and noticed concession stands everywhere. The workers were shouting out their offerings just like at an American game (we think…). They had burgers and hotdogs and pretzels, but they were also selling bento boxes, rice, noodles, octopus balls, and chicken on a stick. Yummy!!
We made it to our seats which proved to be quite the task. Finding our two seats in a sea of 55,000 while only having Japanese signs is difficult. We’ve learned to match the symbols, and we are good at it. We find our seats about an hour before first pitch…and slowly but surely the amazement begins to start. Thousands of fans start pouring in the seats. Mostly Giants fans but there were a lot of people supporting the Hiroshima Carp. I guess that’s the nice thing about Japanese baseball, all the teams are fairly close and it is easy to travel to away games. They began announcing players and the crowds to show their support. Even before the game started, the fans were already cheering. In the outfield, each team had a cheering section filling about 5 sections each (I guess 5,000 people or so). They all had on the team colors and the proudly waived 4 or so team flags that were 20feet long. Each team also had a band. They would play along as the entire crowd would sing, chant, and clap. I mean 90% of the fans were participating as they cheered for their tram. The Carp would play this one song where some would chant while others answered, and at the same time they would alternate sitting and standing. I still have NO clue what they were saying, but it looked awesome and like such a workout! The Giants would chant each players name as they were announced. (Clap Clap Clap) Rah! Mir! Ez!! was shouted for Alex Ramirez. There were 7 or so chants in all. Jeandy and I clapped along in awe! Each team would sing, chant, and cheer for their team at they were at bat. The cheering continued as the other was batting. We would clap and shout at each strike and each out. Given any moment of the game, all the fans were very attentive and completely 100% invested in the game- even the women and children. It was amazing.
But the entertainment didn’t stop there. All around the stadium, there were about 200 girls running up and down the stairs. They looked like hundreds of little soldier ants working hard. They were the vendors. The most amazing part?? Some were selling ice cream and snacks, but most were vending beer!!! They had little kegs strapped to their backs with a tap running to the cups they held. It was one of the most amazing and precious process I have ever seen. Each girl would run down the stairs to the front of the section. She would turn around and bow to the crowd (adorable). Then she would raise her hand and cups and start selling away! We bought a couple of beers from a girl and when she came over, sweat was pouring off her face. God bless their hearts. Easily they walked over 5,000 steps during the game. They ran non-stop the entire time. Innings pass, and we are still ahead 1-0. Alex Ramirez hit a solo home-run in the second inning. Yet, the crowd is still chanting. They are still 100% invested in the game. It was fascinating. Its sad to say, but MLB game are an afternoon nap compared to Japanese games. We can’t wait for the next one. We are planning/hoping to get to make it to the Yukult Swallows (another Tokyo team) vs Yokohama BayStars game Saturday night. Stay tuned for details.
There is a “create your own bento box” location near our hotel. (A bento box is a traditional portable meal that consists of rice, fish or meat, and pickled or cooked vegetables.) Granted, we are only 90% sure that is truly what it is… But it has a buffet looking bar with options and boxes to fill. Seems like a bento box store… So we walk in. The selection was plentiful. The food was confusing!! I honestly couldn’t guess half the ingredients in some of the things. We avoid that selection and proceed to pre-made boxes. We both select the fried chicken and rice. There is also a little omelet and teriyaki slaw. It was good, but not too adventurous. After grabbing coffee and pastries at the ChoCoCro, we are off to Ueno and the Ueno Zoo and Ueno Park. We arrive and discover what seems to be the holding place of Tokyo’s homeless. I once described the Imperial Gardens as the Tokyo Central Park. I failed to notice that it was gated and bum-free. Ueno Park was the realistic Central Park. We search for a park bench that wasn’t being used as a bed to enjoy our bento box lunches, and we searched. We finally found one overlooking the pond. We grabbed drinks at a vending machine. I selected Coke Zero (Diet Coke doesn’t exist here!!!) and a surprise coke fell out! Score!! Free bonus coke…or so we thought. After inspection (almost 3 minute), we notice it wasn’t a coke, rather it was a prize that was stored in a coke can… So I won something- even better! It was sound booster you can hook up to an IPod or IPhone.
So we find our bench which unfortunately was in the sun, thus why it was vacant. It was hot outside, and I mean HOT!! So we eat quickly, and watch the swan boats in the pond. Of course we have to do one. We got a lovely white swan and paddled around the pond and took some great pictures of the city.
After the swan boat, we were off to the Ueno Zoo to see the pandas. Unfortunately, they were sleeping, but still cool to see. The zoo was very good and English friendly. They had lots of animals there including giraffes, gorillas, jackass penguins, pigmy hippos, elephants, turkeys, and squirrels….yes squirrels. It was at the zoo where we ordered our first Japanese food entirely while speaking Japanese. We both got kaki-gori. It’s Japanese shaved ice. They sell it in EPCOT which is why would could order it, but that’s completely irrelevant….
After Ueno we were off for a quick visit to Akihabara before the Giants baseball game. Akihabara is known as the electric city and it certainly lived up to it’s name. There were buildings filled with arcade games and “claw” vending machines. There were stores selling any and every type of electronic device you could imagine- TVs, DVD players, computers, light bulbs, washing machines, fans, irons, everything! We were blown away with what we did see and can’t imagine all the things we didn’t find. They have a video game here that is controlled by a deck of playing cards. They’re placed on a board. When you move the card on the board, it moves on the screen and in the game. Jeandy played a game where you flipped a table. There was a table that you shook then flipped. He was a bride-villa who flipped the table and wedding cake after some Japanese story line happened. I like to think she found out her fiancé was cheating on her. She was angry! One of the prizes was a Teddy bear named Gloomy: the naughty grizzly. He had blood on his claws and blood pouring out of his mouth…. Whaaaa? This place is so weird so Japanese and we love it!!!
After we were done with Akihabara, we were off to another amazing experience: Japanese Baseball!! Yomuri Giants!! This experience is truly deserving of it’s own blog.
We decided to take our first journey outside the big city. Two stops for the day: Kamakura and Yokohama, but first…a 1.25 hour trip on a crowded metro train. It’s all good- submersion in the culture right? Hundreds of thousands of Japanese citizens do this everyday…and they were all on our train. The first train arrives, and I literally see a man’s face pressed against the glass. Bodies are packed in there so we decide to wait. Same thing on the next train; however, this time we were first in line to enter (as long as two people exited)… We made it in and our long journey began to Kamakura.
This place is known for a temple with “The Great Buddha”. It is a large bronze statue that was built in 1252. It’s impossible to explain how amazing seeing this was. The hands that have touched it and the eyes that have seen it in the hundreds of years of it’s existence is beyond comprehension. We also went to Hase-dera Temple and the local beach. The beach was just ok. The sand was dark grey and seemed muddy and gross. At least we can say we have been to the beach in Japan. I’m sure they have much better ones in the country. The town had several other temples and a couple of hiking trails, but we opted to continue our journey to Yokohama.
Kamakura was very very old and filled with history. Yokohama is a very modern port city. Thus far, I’d say it might be my favorite. We began our visit with a trip to CosmoWorld- another amusement park. We explored the town. We walked to the BayStars stadium (the towns professional baseball team) and stumbled on a street protest (we think) in front of the county government building. We also did a little shopping. It was in our explorations we discovered a street performer. Even though we had NO idea what he was saying, we really enjoyed this random find. We also stumbled upon a ColdStone Creamery. This is a delicious ice creamery where your specialty ice cream is made to order right in front of you. The difference in Japan?? The service. I continue to be blown away by the level of service in this country. Purchases in malls are wrapped by the workers and everyone is so kind. So what happened at ColdStone? We ordered then the little Japanese girls ask, “can we sing for you?…” “Uhhh… If we can film it, then YES!” So they sing as they mixed our ice cream. Yankee Doodle was the song they chose to sing to us. They sang “la la la la la” for a lot of it. Perhaps it didn’t translate or they didn’t know the words. Either way, it was precious!!!
A horrific discovery was made during the shopping: the Japanese size difference. I couldn’t wear the medium size, so I grab a large and head towards the dressing room. I walk in the room and then I notice the sign and then I heard a worried Japanese voice. I had walked into the room with my shoes on. All the other rooms had shoes neatly placed outside the door, but not mine. MY shoes were still on my large, clumpy, American, inconsiderate, and apparently illiterate feet. Oops! I take them off and profuse apologize…in English. Idiot! So I try on the shirt which was sadly too small. So I graduate to an extra large which was the largest size they carried…. Deep depression. I am purchasing the largest size in the store. It’s like getting a 3XL or 4XL shirt in America. So sad. But the shirt was very comfortable so I was sold.
Then we were back on a train to our hotel. I don’t know how they do it or if it is just a standard for metro systems all over the world, but Japanese people are asleep on the trains all the time. I have no idea how they don’t miss their stops, but without fail, they always wake up just in time. Then they are out of the door. I don’t know how they do it!
Overall, the day was a great success filled with amazing finds!! We saw the old and historic in Kamakura and the new and entertaining in Yokohama.
Arriving in Kamakura
The entrance to the Hasedera Temple
Inside of the Hasedera temple
In the temple with a view of Hase
Inside a cave in the temple
Jeff had to duck a lot in this area
The Great Buddha of Kamakura
Just for you Melissa :-)
Landmark Tower (Tallest in Japan) in MinatoMirai Area in Yokohama
After our Tsukiji Fish Market adventures, we headed to Asakusa to experience a little “old” Tokyo. It’s hard to describe this part of town. It isn’t as modern as the other parts we have seen of Tokyo. It seemed still “set in it’s ways”.
In Asakusa was the Senso-ji Temple which was of course beyond beautiful! It had a 5-story pagoda. There was an large urn burning incense in the middle and an area where you could get a fortune. Jeandy got a “regular fortune”. I, however, got mine and saw bad fortune. Basically it said I would be unhappy and unhappy things would happen to me. So I tied it up! Just like the other bad fortunes, I tied it up to let the wind blow the bad fortune.
After the temple, we went to nearby Hanayashiki Amusement Park (opened 1853). It was a quaint old little park with one roller coaster and a few carnival type rides. The roller coaster was called…. Roller Coaster. It was adorable which typically isn’t how one would describe a thrill ride, but it was built in 1954 so I don’t think they had too much to work with… Overall the park was quite difficult to describe. We rode in some star ride that spun in circles and flipped us up-side-down like 12 times and some buckets that looked like cottages that lifted us up in the air. Overall it was cute and very Japanese!
We went back to the temple for a little shopping where we were approached again by an old man. This spoke so softly, and we couldn’t find his volume button so we listened carefully. Our topics of conversation were quite interesting. We think he talked about Disney and how Halloween was introduced to Japan by Disney, Christmas, dating Japanese women and going to the “disco”, and he taught us a few more Japanese terms. Just like the other man, he was very interested in America and he talked about the earthquake. Very nice man just very very quiet. *Side Note: he had a carton of “Great Value” grape juice like what you buy at Wal-Mart. I found this very interesting…
We were through with Asakusa and off to a river cruise down the Sumida River. Before that we grabbed a beer at the Asahi Sky Bar. It was on the 22nd floor an overlooked Asakusa and Tokyo. We could see how old and random all the buildings were in Asakusa. None matched. We could also see other parts from here. Buildings and city as far as the eye could see…amazing!
The river cruise was intended to take us from old Tokyo/Asakusa to new Tokyo/Shidome area. Jeandy really enjoyed the cruise. He enjoyed seeing Tokyo from a different perspective. I fell asleep…
After being dropped off, we took a train to Odaiba. It’s a new part of town that was built on man-made land. It had lots of shopping malls, a giant ferris wheel and other entertainment- very new and modern. Japanese entertainment is beyond different than ours. They have tons and tons of vending machines. Not just sodas (which are everywhere) but they have the game vending machines- the ones with the claw. We have seen hundreds of them. I also played a game where the prize was a little bucket of popcorn- random but really cool. But the best one we have seen takes your picture and puts it on a lego piece. Then you can purchase a body and put your face in it. So strange yet so brilliant!! And of course…. They are cell phone charms. Japanese people are obsessed with cell phone charms. Everyone has them. I saw a lady with 6 on her phone. I just don’t know what it is…
So that was our Thursday raw fish and weird entertainment. FUN!! We are a little behind on posts but trying to stay up-to-date.
Kaminarimon Gate @ Senso-ji Temple
So beautiful, still the same gate (entrance to the temple)
Asakusa/Senso-ji: A street full of shopping kiosks leading up to the temple
Asakusa/Senso-ji: The Hanzomon Gate right before the temple.
Asakusa/Senso-ji: the beautiful 5-story pagoda in the temple
Asakusa/Senso-ji: Jeff trying to pull out his fortune stick
Asakusa/Senso-ji: He was finally able to figure it out.
Our day began with breakfast at the Hotel. We both had the American Breakfast…imagine that (dinner last night was at a McDonalds- gimme a break! I needed it!!) For breakfast, Jeandy had fried eggs and ham. I had fried eggs and bacon- to say the bacon was cooked limp would be an understatement. If you could order your bacon cooked like a steak, I’d say mine was cooked rare. Therefore, I cut it with a knife like a steak… Breakfast was good though!! Then we began our journey with a walk to the Imperial Gardens. Basically, there is the Imperial Palace which is off limits to everyone except two days a year and there is the Imperial Gardens (viewable and free admission- SOLD!). The gardens were beautiful. Lots and lots and lots of history. It was quiet and very peaceful in a lot of the places. This was a nice break from the busy hustle of the city streets- kinda like Central Park. It was towards the end of our journey that we met an elderly man. He overheard our conversation and politely (imagine that…everyone here is polite) asked where we were from. We explained the United States. Which then led to a conversation about why we were visiting and what was appealing about Japan. We talked about so many topics from Japan’s history, baseball, September 11th, New York City, Disney, and the Japan earthquake. It was an amazing intellectual conversation which I enjoyed. It was great to chat with him and learn his views of America and our culture. He had never been to the USA but his English was very good! At the end, he gave us a bow. AWESOME!
After that, we were off to finish our tour. We were on a walking tour which we found on the Internet. Next stop was the Science Museum. Upon walking in the door, we were met by two workers telling us to not enter “we are closed”. Clearly they were not cause the door was opened (and our walking tour said they should be open). Moments later, about 14 fire trucks, 4 police cars, a couple of ambulances, and 2 helicopters arrived on scene. Whaaaaaaaaaa??…. After about 5 minutes of standing across the street, we decided to skip it and move on. I searched the Internet and cannot find out what happened. Maybe just a fire alarm?? Oh well, we continued the tour. We looked at a few buildings. Then we made it to a shrine dedicated to those lost in wars. It wasn’t very English friendly, but was still very pretty. After the tour, we went to Ginza to the Sony showroom and Tokyo International Forum (kinda like their BEAUTIFUL convention center). We spent about 30minutes looking for somewhere for lunch. Finding a understandable place to eat has become quite the challenge for us! Finally we settled for a place we found in a basement…an Italian place. I know…we aren’t exactly diving into the Japanese culture, but I’d say this place was Itialian-ese? I’m talking pizzas with octopus…. So it was a little Japanese…
Back to the hotel to decide where to spend the evening. We decide on Shibuya again. We looked around some more and found some really good souvenir stores. We finally had some Japanese food for dinner- meat on a stick!
Now it’s off to bed for an early morning at the fish market!
We haven’t been here too long but I must share one of the most amazing experiences we have had thus far…our toilet! The experience is amazing. So much so, that I am writing while I am experiencing it…
The toilet has a control panel next to it. It has a bidet, spray, deodorizer, and heated seat!! The seat has sensors that know when you sit down. At that point, deodorizer it automatically dispensed. Theeennn, there was the seat. Its truly an incredible experience having the seat heated. It may sound simple but it is wonderful! I didn’t do the bidet or spray. That is too weird!!
Now off to experience some of the city.