Posted by: Laura | December 13, 2008

Round up of week 2

So, to catch you up on my stay here, here’s a quick round up of the second week – so then I can get to the 3rd week, and oh yeah, this past week too…  Sorry for my delinquency in posting, I’ve been having fun!

The 2nd week was a bit of a lazy week for me, but I am on vacation after all.

Hama-rikyu Gardens

Hama-rikyu Gardens from the apartment window

Hama-rikyu Gardens from the apartment window

Mandy and I headed down and across the street to go to the Hama-rikyu Gardens – also known as the Hama Detached Palace Gardens (the ones you can see out the windows of the apartment – the other side from Tokyo Tower).  It was a really nice park.  The sun was starting to set as we went in, so we wanted to hurry off to see as much as we could.  A man came up to us and asked if we spoke English (in perfect English himself I might add – and no, that was not meant to be sarcastic, his English was really good).  Anyways, he told us that the announcement that had just come on (in Japanese) had said there was a performance of some sorts over on the other side of the park.  He said they didn’t say what kind of performance, but he just thought we might like to know.  We thanked him and then headed over to the other side for the performance.  It was a woman who did tricks with traditional Japanese umbrellas, and she was actually pretty good, but we eventually left to go see the rest of the park before it got completely dark.

View towards the apartment over the pond and tea house in the gardens

View towards the apartment over the pond and tea house in the gardens

Fukagawa Edo Museum

Japanese Cemetery - And yes, for those of you who looked closely at this, those are Swasticas on the bottom front panels.  Unlike the meaning that the Western world has most commonly associated it with, the swastica originated as a religious symbol in Buddhism, literally meaning "that which is associated with well-being", aka - a good luck symbol of sorts

Japanese Cemetery - And yes, for those of you who looked closely at this, those are Swasticas on the bottom front panels. Unlike the meaning that the Western world has most commonly associated it with, the swastica originated as a religious symbol in Buddhism, literally meaning "that which is associated with well-being", aka - a good luck symbol of sorts

Next day wasn’t all that nice of a day out, so I asked if there were any museums or anything that we could go to.  We decided to head off to the Fukagawa Edo Museum.  On the way, I was thinking out loud about some of the list of things I still wanted to see, one of which was a cemtery.  Not because I like to hang out in cemeteries or anything, I just like to see what different cultures’ traditions are.  As I was saying that, we just happened to walk by a cemetery, so we went in to walk around.  They are very tiny compared to ours, and based on the number of people in Japan, I’m a little confused as to where they all go.  But, I also don’t understand the system they have, so there may be more than one person buried at one site, or maybe they’re cremated.  They may have family stones, and the wooden boards posted behind them may be names of individual family members… I’m really not sure.  But, I have now seen a Japanese cemetery, so I at least know the difference in looks.

Night time Simulation at the museum

Night time Simulation at the museum

Then onto the museum.  It was actually pretty interesting.  It’s basically a small little town set up inside to be a sample of older times.  They even simulated day and night, and had the calls of the fisherman played over the speakers, along with the sound of the (fake) cat meowing which they had up on a roof.  They had different shops set up, and households of different types of people (the fisherman, the widower, the carpeter, etc.).  Then we did some woodblock print puzzels and headed back home.

One type of shrine most houses had

One type of shrine most houses had

Anyone recognize this friendly character? This is actually a sake cask... but... I'm totally expecting it to burst through a wall at any moment saying "Oh Yeah!" For those of you who are totally lost... This is a reference to the kool-aid (juice mix) commercials where the pitcher of kool-aid has a face drawn on it and always bursts through walls saying "Oh Yeah!" I wonder if this is actually where the idea came from... hmmm...

Anyone recognize this friendly character? This is actually a sake cask... but... I'm totally expecting it to burst through a wall at any moment saying "Oh Yeah!" For those of you who are totally lost... This is a reference to the kool-aid (juice mix) commercials where the pitcher of kool-aid has a face drawn on it and always bursts through walls saying "Oh Yeah!" I wonder if this is actually where the idea came from... hmmm...

Examples of items found in a typical traditional home, including a shrine and a kumade rake for 'raking in wealth and good fortune' in the new year

Examples of items found in a typical traditional home, including a shrine and a kumade rake for 'raking in wealth and good fortune' in the new year (left hand corner)

Odaiba

The replica of the replica of the Statue of Liberty with the Rainbow Bridge and Tokyo in the background

The replica of the replica of the Statue of Liberty with the Rainbow Bridge and Tokyo in the background

The next day, we headed out to Odaiba.  We didn’t go out too early in the morning because it wasn’t all that nice out again… and the Thanksgiving day Eagles vs. Cardinals  game was on here Friday morning, and anyone who knows Mandy knows that being from a town near Philidelphia, Pennsylvania – she is a huge Eagles fan.  If Connecticut had an NFL team… I’d probably be the same way.  Anyways, in the afternoon, we finally headed over – and it was better we waited because it actually turned out to be a pretty nice day.  Odaiba is over the bay from their apartment.  We crossed the bridge on the monorail, and saw the signature buildings like the Fuji TV building, & the ferris wheel.  The first stop off the monorail was the statue of liberty, modeled after the one they have in France… which is modeled after the original one in New York.  Then on through the malls where I found the perfect boots… for 40,000 ¥ ($400) – clearly I did not buy them, that’s 1/3 of the price of the ticket here!

Fuji TV Headquarters

Fuji TV Headquarters

Odaiba's Ferris Wheel

Odaiba's Ferris Wheel

Your friendly neighborhood Aqua City Robot/Floor Cleaner

Your friendly neighborhood Aqua City Robot/Floor Cleaner

Shinjuku at night

Shinjuku at night

After Odaiba, we went back to the apartment, and I decided to go out with Paul and some of his friends from class.  They were all really fun.  I really enjoy talking to people who travel and know other languages.  We went to one place first for some food and drinks – where I fell in love with plum wine – and then we headed off to an English Pub.  It was a fun night, with a lot of laughs.  Thanks to Paul’s friend Julien, I now know the kanji for alcohol – he explained it as literally meaning something along the lines of ‘water medicine’, and the symbol looks like a medicine bottle.  Woohoo!  1 Kanji down… 1005 to go just to catch up with Japanese school children at the 6th grade level!  It is said that there are near 50,000 kanji, but the Japanese Ministry of Education designated about 2,000 characters as the frequently used ones.

Paul and some of his classmates

Paul and some of his classmates - Instead of saying "Cheese!" the Japanese custom is to say "Peeeace!" when taking a picture - hence the peace signs...

Me and some of Paul's Classmates (and the wife of one of them)

Me and some of Paul's Classmates (and the wife of one of them)

Advertisements

Responses

  1. I also like to visit old cemeteries. They are a great source of history. Again, beautiful pictures. I love the Kool-Aid video.
    Love, Mom and Oscar (he is on my lap and watching what I am doing))

  2. Charlie and TC and I say hi, too. Charlie thinks maybe you should tell us what the Japanese cats are like 🙂

    We miss you!

  3. Hey Coz Laura,
    Great blog and photos! It was great seeing you guys again for the holidays. Have a great 2009!!
    xo, beth


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: