Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Fortnight in Japan - Day 5 in Tokyo

**Brian has posted an annotated album of our Tokyo pictures on our Picasa site, found here. We'll post up albums after we finish posting about each city, so you're not totally inundated with pics! We put the food photos into another album, which will go up soon as well.

May 6 was our last full day in Tokyo. Having dumped the Mt Fuji trip, we finished up some areas that we hadn't seen (leaving Ueno and Asakusa for the day or so we would have on the way back to Narita). Again, we woke up to a cloudy, overcast day with sprinkles of rain threatening a repeat of the deluge from the day before. We were smarter today, though, and borrowed two of Mina's umbrellas before we headed out.

That's me, with the orange umbrella under the big wooden torii leading to Meiji-jingu

We began at Meiji-jingu (jinja/jingu = shrine), which has a lovely approach path. There were several weddings, or wedding portrait sessions around the shrine on this day, probably because it was a holiday. It is hard not to stop and stare when you come upon one of these wedding processions, as they are beautiful and the attire worn by the bride and groom is much different than the usual western wedding. Some examples:

This picture was about 20 minutes and 2 arrangers in the making...
the fold of the kimono had to be just so.

Wedding procession at Meiji-jingu

While we were waiting for the first procession to pass, a man was getting his son to take a picture of him with the procession in the background. Brian nudged me and said, "is that Brian Grazer?" and yes, yes it was. He's a big producer, of the film A Beautiful Mind and favorite TV shows of ours Friday Night Lights, 24, and Arrested Development. We didn't talk to him, but I did manage to catch a photo of him on the sly (check it out in the Picasa album). 

Next, we checked out the Yoyogi National stadium, a gymnastics stadium built for the 1964 Olympics. Designed by Kenzo, it (and the smaller stadium next door) resembles a big ark. On this day there was a very long lineup of young girls in gymnastic uniforms sitting outside, probably a meet going on. (Side note, people here are great about lining up for things, even if it's just to get into a store when it opens, or, most appreciated by us, to get onto the subway trains.)

Yoyogi National Stadium

We then took the subway to Ebisu station to check out the Japanese Metropolitan Museum of Photography at Ebisu Garden Place. In some cases, "u" is not pronounced so it actually sounds like "Eh-beese." Anyway, we paid for two exhibits, the first on historical Japanese photography (meh, a bunch of faded old daguerrotypes). The second one was a phenomenal display of recent work called Nomachi's Sacred Lands. Beautiful, emotional pictures of people and landscapes in Iran, India, Africa and the Andes. The exhibition only ran until May 17 (I feel very lucky to have seen it!) bu you can check out the work on Kazuyoshi Nomachi's website.

For lunch, we bought nigiri sushi from the department store in Ebisu Gardens Place, a huge box for about $12, and a big cream puff. Loving the price of sushi! (We had first checked out the fancy Joel Robuchon complex of 3 restaurants on 3 floors, where we were told in not so many words that we were not properly dressed to eat there... but decided that a lower-brow lunch would do the trick.) A quick, dizzying ride up to the 38th (restaurant) floor afforded us some more nice views of the city.

Seriously, about $12! Mmmmm

Though the rain was coming down heavily, we were foolishly emboldened by our umbrellas. We trekked a long ways to the Meguro Parasitological Museum. Yes, this is a showcase of bugs and worms and other gross things. The kind of thing that gives you the willies but is impossible to turn away from. It was actually really busy, and Brian remembered that one of the guidebooks said that it has surprisingly turned into a popular date destination! Most impressive by far was this, extracted from some poor guy's...um...nether regions:

Um... 8.8m long... tapeworm... extracted... ewwwwwwww

After we finished cringing and shuddering, it was pouring (hello) kitties outside, so we re-thought our plan to walk around Naka-Meguro, the area near Mina's house. We walked too long to a store she had recommended, unfortunately named BALLS. I was really, uncomfortably wet, and didn't particularly enjoy squishing around what was otherwise a very cool store, with mod, stylish home furnishings. After that we were pretty fed up with our drippiness, and decided to just go home and warm up. Given how hard we'd been going for several days, a couple of hours off of our feet sounded pretty good... After a couple of hours of resting up, we had noodles close to Mina's house and called it a night. We packed up and got ready for our next adventure... Kyoto, here we come!

Gratuitous picture of adorable little schoolkids on the subway. The
pack on the very left has a little rain guard on it!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to be commenting on a completely random post... but I found your blog while I was browsing around on Weddingbee and viewed the pictures from your wedding last year.
1) Your wedding looked absolutely beautiful and "wow", you put a lot of work into DIYing it - it's inspiring :-)
2) You mentioned you did a lot of research on wholesale flowers, and I was wondering if you'd be able to share with me who you ended up going with? I too, am using gerbera daisies and a bridesmaid plans on making the bouquets and centerpieces herself. If there's any way you could help a girl out, I'd really appreciate it! My email is nannyang@gmail.com