Trip Start Aug 09, 2008
Trip End Aug 2009

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Flag of Japan  , Kanto,
Monday, November 10, 2008

We left Vancouver with some unfinished business - the van. Two nights before we were scheduled to depart, the side window that I had replaced last year because of a break-in got smashed. It looked like a prank. Needless to say I (Rajiv) was extremely pissed off and frustrated. It was a scramble to find a replacement and we had to leave arrangements for getting it installed with Bobbieīs sister-in-law and her family. They were very accommodating and helpful.

Someone interested in buying the van was planning to see it, hopefully after itīs all fixed up again. It was a relief to leave all the van worries behind, although Iīm not the type to leave worries behind. Hopefully I can learn how to do that on this journey. Looking back on our trip across Canada, the van carried us over 16,000 kilometers in relative comfort, safety,and VW style.

Our first full day in Japan was spent touring the Asakusa region and figuring out our rail pass and how to get to Koyasan. More on Koyasan later. I (Rajiv) wanted to go to the John Lennon museum near Tokyo, but unfortunately it was closed on Tuesdays. The museum was apparently set up by Yoko Ono. One review said it was more hype than anything else, so maybe it was not worth visiting.

The major attractions in Asakusa revolved around the Senso-ji temple, the oldest temple in Tokyo - a very lively area personifying the atmosphere of the traditional downtown Edo (old Tokyo). The main gate to the temple, Kaminarimon Gate, opens up to a 250 meter long market selling traditional goods.

There were also a lot of ceremonies and rituals going on around the temple but unfortunately, almost everything is in Japanese, so we didnīt understand the symbolism behind them. A group of young students on a field trip to improve their conversational English approached us as we were browsing through the stores in the market. They were shy and a little tentative but made the attempt to ask some basic questions about us and where we came from etc. As a thank you, they gave us 2 origami warriors.

We didnīt spend too much time in Tokyo, other than a stroll on the grounds of the Imperial Palace and working our way through the Tokyo subway system.
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