Monday, April 2, 2018

Monday, April 2nd, Tokyo, Japan


We started out for Tokyo on Saturday night, staying up until 2am, checking out of the hotel, taking a taxi to the Changi Airport, checking into the flight, hanging out at the gate until 6pm, and then flying to Tokyo until 2pm on Sunday.

Our guide met us at the Tokyo airport, and helped us get our luggage and us to our hotel in downtown Tokyo (bus and a taxi).  Checking into the hotel, we decided to stay up as late as we could to reset our bionic clocks.  At 8pm, we went out and found a small ramen restaurant a few blocks away, had one of the best meals ever (very talented chef), and hit the sack at 10pm.

Today, we joined our new tour's briefing after breakfast at 9am.  Fifteen seasoned travelers from England, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the US.  Our guide, Kosue, has led these 22-day tours of the Best of Japan for many years.  We were given audio devices to wear around our necks, to which we attached our personal ear phones or headsets.  I have poo-pooed these things as I saw them being used by Japanese tour groups in SF before now.  Now i see the value.  Stragglers and wayward photographers, who don't stay close enough to hear the words of the lead guide, often miss half the walking tour commentary.  These devices allow the group to not do what they do naturally (stretch out from the speedy to the slow walkers, but keep everyone within hearing range easy to find.

The group walked to a nearby buddhist temple (Zojo-Ji), to the top of the Tokyo Tower, and then by subway to a very expensive shopping district (Ginza - $10,000/square foot).   What a contrast!  The first helps you rid yourself of want, the second broadens your vision, and the third encourages and fulfills your desires.

While Pat spent her time in a bookstore (surprise), I chose the most popular cross-street in Tokyo to photograph people (another surprise).  One of the odd visuals of the day was the large number of young people wearing black suits that all seemed to look the same.  These are the salaried employees, who beginning this week are undergoing a kind of fraternity/sorority pledge system, being trained for a freshman year in workplace etiquette and discipline.  Looked a little like an employee probationary army with good-looking outfits.

We then took the subway to the Asakusa Shrine (Senso-Ji), where we walked the riverbank to see our first closeups of the Cherry Blossom Sakura.  Appreciating and celebrating the blossoming of the flowers is a national past-time, and it's been happening here this week. 

Finally, we returned by subways to the hotel, and made plans for tomorrow's adventures.  Three temples await.  After resting a bit, we went out to a nearby small restaurant, similar to the one we visited yesterday.  Pat asked me to photograph tonight's meal (pork cutlets, rice, and miso soup), and we swung by last night's site for photos of it.

To see all of the photos taken today, click on: Monday, April 2nd, Tokyo, Japan

1 comment:

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