A few pics to go along with the last post of our first day in Japan:
ps: you'll be seeing more pics from these sites when I get L's camera so get excited :)
Our first sight: the Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu, a Shinto Shrine in Kamakura (about an hour train ride from downtown Tokyo) was nothing short of spectacular! Who knew that Japan had so many trees!
Closer up, with our tour guides
Japan Day 2:
I awoke to L screaming in the bathroom-she had tried the bidet and was apparently quite surprised.
-as a side note the toilets in Japan are quite elaborate affairs. Wikipedia described them as "advanced".
actually, I saw plenty regular ones too, but with these:
So, after a night with ambien (slept fantastically) I began my day to 5am screams (not really the strangest thing when you know L) and a blazing sun (they have never thought of daylight savings time and so it is bright as noon at about 3 am). We started out visiting a Japanese church (could not read the hymns, not even pretend to sound them out, those Kanji characters are a bit of a mystery), then walked through a great park nearby, then headed over to the Senso-Ji Temple.
as we approached the Temple we were accosted by a group of nice high school age kids who wanted to practice their English and take us on a free tour.
These places are quite honestly amazing. Can you imagine building a structure on this scale in 628?? I thought the same thing when I saw the Pantheon and Grecian Temples in Sicily. People are surprisingly industrious!
btw-we also saw the Beer tower, a famous tower in Japan next to the Temple. I have no idea why it looks like this.
We happened upon a Monkey show while we were there-it was fantastic!! A tiny little monkey (wearing cloths) zipped about and did all sorts of tricks like sitting on a stool and jumping over a very high limbo bar. I cannot describe how cute he was, I was so tempted to reach out and touch him (he was literally about 5 feet in front of me doing his act). Smart little thing, I really wanted one (or thought at the very least Hogle Zoo could get themselves in gear and get a show going). It was an utter delight!
-another side note, we had to secretly eat out snacks (each of us brought 30 snacks) bc no one eats in public, on the trains etc. At the start of the trip we were pretty good but by the end we were so hungry (those chopsticks are pretty hard to use) that we just pulled things out, poured them into our mouths, confirming every stereotype of Americans etc.
We finished up the day with a walk through Ueno park, a visit to the Tokyo National Museum (I know nothing about Japanese art) and a run (fairly literally) through the National Museum of Western Art
(for some reason they have a bunch of Rhodin statues including (one of the many)Thinker, a Tintoretto, paintings by both Jan and Pieter Brueghel (L was mad for those of course), some Rubens (typical mounds of pink flesh), Manet, Monet, Pissaro, Renoir, (who doesn't love a nice Impressionist?), Cezanne, and even a Van Gogh! among their collection. This was followed by curry for dinner (good curry, not quite as good as Thai curry). L's little friend M dropped us off at out hotel and left us for a few days. L and I hung out in the hotel room (which meant we were sitting down on the bed, me trying on the pajamas things that were in every hotel we stayed in) and L sleeping/mumbling about how tired she was etc. Finally (at about 8pm) we gave up and went to bed.
Day 3 to come:
-the mystery of the umbrella is solved-forcibly bowed at the first Shogun's tomb-is it possible to pay too much for a mango-is the queen creeped out by shopping malls or a trip to Coraline's world-why hamburgers are so good.