Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Tokyo pt.2

A few good friends have lived in Japan but frankly I had never given much thought to visiting and Lost in Translation was, well completely lost on me.

But simply put, I am now a convert. I LOVE Tokyo!

There is nowhere I've been that has felt more foreign (mostly bec. of an inability to read signs) and yet safe, interesting and comfortable at the same time. And I was fascinated by many parts of the culture.

From a touristy point of view, I got to see the Yasukuni Shrine and the Shibuya part of town.

I was fascinated by the shrine because I've just never seen something like that before. (Okay, well maybe it reminded me of Japan at Epcot Center but I knew this was the real deal;-)) As I think about it, I am more used to touring churches and I guess this is the first country I've been to that isn't predominantly Christian.

The Shinto shrine is dedicated to the spirits of soldiers who died fighting on behalf of the Emperor of Japan. I visited because I happened upon it while on a walk. But visits by others have been much more controversial. I later read that there are war criminals enshrined there and "many in the international and Asian community see visits by politicians as support for or complicity with Japanese nationalism, and denial of the events of World War II."

Statue of Ōmura Masujirō, which is Japan's first Western-style bronze statue. It honors Ōmura Masujirō, the "Father of the Modern Japanese Army."

























Mr. Fish's GIANT Japanese cousin









The Shibuya crossing area is sometimes called Times Square Tokyo because of all of the lights, but only about 1/2 of them were on to conserve power as a result of the disaster.


The crossing is famous because vehicles stop in all directions, which means that pedestrians can cross in all directions. Ready, Set...







GO!!!! I walked diagonally across the inter- section just because I could.





I was psyched to be more adventurous with sushi but decided against it after convincing myself that while winds carrying anything from the Fukashima nuclear reactor out to sea was good news for people, it probably wasn't so great for the fish (my unscientific but firmly held belief:-)) I did, however, get adventuresome when I stopped for lunch at a little noodle shop and the waitress took me outside and had me point to the very realistic plastic model of which dish I wanted. (The only other thing she was able to communicate was her happiness when she saw the Yasukuni shrine brochure.) And did I go a whole week without pizza? OF COURSE NOT! We went to Pizza Mia and it was a very decent wood fired, Italian style pizza. Just what I needed!

In many ways this trip reminded me of going to Ulm, Germany for the first time-- quite an adventure but I realize that I've just scratched the surface... and I can't wait to go back!

Super Moon as seen from Tokyo. Do you see the Tokyo TV Tower in the background?

Important cultural observations tomorrow...

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

ET, I think you need to see more of Asia. Thailand in 2012 with JJY and me?

AB

1:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I LIKE this idea! As you know, it would be a summer long celebration of me (hopefully) getting that PhD! JJY

3:20 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

Wouldn't that be fun!!!

9:53 PM  

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