Tokyo Continued...

Trip Start Jun 07, 2006
Trip End Jul 04, 2006

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Sunday, June 11, 2006

Saturday AM and Sunny!

It's a bright sunny day and I hit the fish market early in the morning. There is lots of frenzied activity walking outside as carts whiz by (within barely and inch of you) carrying loads of fish from the warehouse to the market and back. The warehouse is fish at is freshest. Giant tuna from the previous nights catch is brought right off the boats, on to the docs and to the giant warehouse where it get sliced and diced and either sold there for wholesale or moved off to other destinations. After the fish market the thing to do is to go get sushi! So i headed into a little sushi place down one of the alley ways in the heart of the fish market. It was the freshest sushi by far i have ever had. After breakfast I plan to head out to Nikko.

Nikko is the name of small town located in the Tochigi Prefecture Mountains. It houses the Nikko National Park which contains the Toshogu Shrine, the largest shrine in Japan. Everyone I talked to before coming to Tokyo said that it is a must see. So I went. I took a train 2 hours through the country side of Japan and heads into the mountains.

The scenery on the train ride out starts out pretty interesting with the many rice paddy fields and Japanse architecture, but grows repetitive really fast.

The temples of Nikko are indescribably beautiful. They are ornate, lavish buildings full of bright colors and sculptured imagery. This is also the home of the famous see no evil, here no evil, speak no evil monkeys.

I have attached some pictures, which don't do Toshogu Shrine justice. First, you can't photograph inside the shrines, which houses some of the most interesting and lavish items including three 25 foot golden Buddhas in one of the temples. Second, the camera just cannot capture the magnitude of the temples.

I headed back to the city to meet up with James, my friend Carries brother who is Japan for work. After some amazing luck finding the spot where I was supposed to meet him and a few of his co-workers, we decided to head down to Shibuya to check out the 'scene'.

Shibuya is the area of Tokyo that looks like what Americans picture Tokyo to look like. Skyscrapers, video projections, neon lights, total glitz. Its times square times 1000. It's also *crowded*. The main intersection fills with 500 people when the walk light turns green. This is not one of my exaggerations. It's a giant mesh of people from all directions that fill the streets until you can't see the street and then they all somehow get across and the cars have room to drive again.

We walk through the streets absorbing the frenetic scene. This is the style capital of Tokyo with the guys having the look of brit pop stars, sort of reminiscent of Liam Gallager. And the girls... well long dyed hair, fake tans and copious amounts of make up seems to be the look.

Most of the restaurants were full or too small to accommodate 5 of us but we finally found a Japanese "tapas" place with a waiter that spoke enough English so that we didn't end up ketchup spaghetti. And of course giant beers were had by all.

I leave tomorrow for Thailand. Japan has been fun, but I am to head to the next place.
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