Trip Start Dec 15, 2009
92Trip End Aug 27, 2010
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With so much left to do in Tokyo we knew we were in for a busy day. Starting the day in a used bookstore, you can imagine Lauren’s delight at finally finding the fifth Harry Potter book in English. We also picked up a book on Japanese that would maybe help to smooth our passage a little? Our next stop was Shibuya, location of the busiest cross-walk in the world. Unfortunately we missed the peak crowds at lunchtime and rush hour but there were still an awful lot of people crossing the road at any one time. At the same crossing there is a memorial to Hachiko, a faithful dog of early last century who would walk his master to the station each morning and return to meet him each evening. When his owner died very suddenly, Hachiko continued to return to the station every evening at the same time, sometimes waiting for several days in the hope that his master would return, until his own death ten years later
This was turning out to be an unusually efficient day for us and so it was on to Yoyogi-koen park; a very large park with many attractions, but for us it was simply a pleasant detour to where we really wanted to go. However, on the way through the park we passed by the entrance to Meiji Shrine where there was a wall of barrels of wine from the Bourgogne region of France, where Derek lived for a while and where we hope to visit friends this summer. Apparently, Emperor Meiji was keen to modernize Japan while keeping its spirit and traditions alive; he cut off his top knot and began wearing western style clothing, but his favourite adopted western ritual was to enjoy a glass of French wine with dinner. The wine barrels were all donated by and stamped with different wineries from Bourgogne to enhance the Japanese-French relationship. The even have Givry, one of Derek's favourites.
Shinjuka-gyoen, a park renowned for its cherry blossoms at this time of year. We arrived with minutes to spare before final entry time and were not disappointed. The cherry blossoms were simply beautiful; from a distance the white ones had the appearance of snow laden branches and the petals on the ground look like a fresh snowfall, the pink ones are even prettier
With a rosy glow to our cheeks (from the cold not sake) it was time to head indoors for a while and so we went to the Sony building. Really not much more than multiple floors of advertising for Sony, but it does provide a chance to play with Sony’s latest technologies, including some that have yet to be released to the market. There was lots of fun playing with cameras, games consoles, mini laptops, etc. but everybody’s favourite had to be the 3D TV / game system….so lifelike you wouldn’t believe it! On the way out there was a normal looking staircase that played ever-descending notes as you walked down each step so it made leaving fun, if delayed.
Our final day in Tokyo was a short one as we were catching a train at noon, so we had but a few hours for our final activity. Not so bright, but certainly early we made our way across the city to the famous Tsukiji fish market. This is at the port where the fish come in and some of the best fish is auctioned off. It’s also where fish is graded, sold and boxed up to be sold locally and shipped to some of the world’s finest sushi restaurants. We wandered through the maze of fish stalls gawping at creatures we had never seen before and wondering just which of these things we had actually eaten. As it happens most of them were gawping back, but in a permanent sort of way
Next up is Nagoya the home of Toyota…. hope the train accelerator doesn't stick!