Asakusa and Staying with Etsuko

Trip Start Jan 19, 2013
Trip End Apr 12, 2013

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Flag of Japan  , Kanto,
Sunday, March 17, 2013

We checked out of our hotel today and figured we'd go to Asakusa to see the shrine there. We weren't expected to be at Etsuko's until around 2pm so we had plenty of time to fill. At Tokyo station, we put our backpacks into some lockers and then took the train straight to Asakusa.

As soon as we got out of the station, we saw that street was incredibly busy with police scattered around. It seems there is some kind of festival event happening today. We turned the corner and walked through a temple building, following the crowd of people heading towards the main hall. Leading the group was a group of men carrying a purple shrine called a mikiyoshi (I think that's what it was called!). Everyone was loving it and we found out its meant to be lucky to have seen the shrine. Once the crowd parted a little, we walked down the middle of the market stalls, taking in the sights and smells. Rikki bought a couple of sweet cake things and we headed towards the main hall. It was a pretty impressive sight to be fair and I think it was made better by the event that was taking place. Everyone was crowding around and clapping their approval. We have no idea what it was all about but it was cool to experience it.

After looking around the temple, we went back down the main market stall road and went to the visitor centre. Up on the top floor, there is a viewing platform where we got some good photos of the sky tree and the Tokyo skyline.
As we still had time to kill, we headed to Ginza and the Sony Building where you can look at all the upcoming Sony products. We watched a TV that has even better picture display than HD. It was something like 4x clearer. We also tried out these 3d glasses that have the screen in them. That was pretty cool.

Once we'd gone around all the products, it was time to make our way to Etsuko's. we went back to Tokyo station to collect our bags. We had a little bit of trouble locating our lockers again but we found them eventually! It took us about 40 minutes to get to Etsuko's house.

When we got to her house, we were introduced up Etsuko's tea ceremony student. We introduced ourselves and then got straight down to the tea ceremony business. I have to give them credit, it's all very structured and precise. All the bowls and utensils have their own special place and the hand movements are all very intricate. I don't know how to describe the taste of the tea, slightly bitter and slightly salty as well. Nothing like earl grey that's for sure! We ended up making our own tea for them. We had to whisk the power with the water in a specific back and forth motion. I think I did a better job with mine than Rikki did with his!

At about 6pm, we sat down to the dinner that Etsuko had kindly made for us. We had Katsu curry with rice and some salad. The curry was really good, it's fast becoming my favourite Japanese dish! For dessert, we had a slice of Japanese sponge cake, I forget the name of it, with a cup of Japanese tea. We were so full after the meal! We chatted with Etsuko until around 8pm and then set up our beds for the night.
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