zondag 11 oktober 2009

Saturday October 10 Tokyo, Senso-ji

Saturday October 10
Tokyo, Senso-ji
Sunny and partly clouded 23 C
We woke up early in the morning again, approximately at 3 o'clock, mostly due to the flu / coughing. We catch some more sleep, take a shower, that are very nice in this hotel by the way and head to the Shinjuku Station to buy some brunch (croissants, orange juice and raisin bread). We take the subway to Asakusa, where the famous temples are from Senso-ji. Interesting enough we bought some subway tickets for this trip and walk to the best line, so we do not have to take an other subway in between. Entering the gates we get red lights! When asking someone what happened to our newly bought tickets, the answer is simple but for us a complete surprise... Its from “the other subway company, these tickets will not work here”. So there is more than 1 subway company on the same destination and in the same city. So we head off to the “other company subway line” and with an other transfer we arrive safe and sound at Asakusa. A lively place so it seems. Many people and guys with hand cars so a couple could sit and get a tour. The shopping area is just around the corner, just like the main entrance, the Kaminarimon-gate to be precise. The street, Nakamise-dori, with all traditional goods is fun. The Nade Botokesan Buddha is touched on places (head, knee, hart etc) and than people touch the same part on their own body, as they believe it will give health and luck. The large temple is all wrapped as they are renovating it. Inside is open, and here we see many people throwing in money in a big box and make a prayer-like moment and bow to the statue inside. Outside I notice some interesting activities, I assume a wedding and run towards a spot where I might “catch”them for some photos. I was right, the men towing a car with the bride and groom all in traditional Japanese costumes is passing by. Wow, this is so cool. I end up almost 3 meters from the happy couple. When they enter the building, right next to the temple, the family has to wait a little before also allowed to enter. I see many well dressed family, like a beautiful lady in a kimono. I, but now also some other people who got to know this special occasion takes place, make pictures. The lady sees me and smiles shy, but than the dad comes in. I bow, as I do not want to offend them with taking pictures, but its even better. The dad is so proud on his daughter, he urges her to step forward and pose for a moment, for a good picture. I do take the opportunity and start shooting. Excellent! The pictures are great and I decide to ask for an email and provide mine so I can “give back” the pictures to them too. English is again a struggle, but with some paper and a pen they understand my intention and the whole family thanks me for the gesture. We end up thanking each other and letting them party further.
We cross the garden, little water streams with fish and temples. The Pagode with 5 floors of roof is impressive and beautiful in the sun. Passing a group of students who will perform at 15:00 a play gets us interested to wait and watch this appearance too. Too bad we can not understand the Japanese play / poems, but the costumes and make up is typical Japanese and interesting to watch.
After the play we go back to the subway and head to Uenopark. A parc build in the 17th century. Big and with large ponds where people go with little rental boats. Also some temples and a Pagode was build here. Interesting enough we see a guy dressed as a girl, with 60 girls around him. All go one by one to him, give their cellphone to a helper, stand next to him and let them make a photo on their cellphone. All laugh and giggle and seem to have the best moment of their lives. Maybe its a famous comedian, a real stud or something else I... I really do not get it. The night sets in and we go out the parc and into the shopping and eating area. Its very crowded and many (young) people are out. We are rather tired of the long day, and are not in the mood to just try our luck with the food. We do bump into a guy preparing and selling some kind of little pancakes, vegetables and an egg. Only 200 Yen and smells and looks good. This gamble we do take ;-) Without regret. It was very nice, hard to eat with only sticks, but even the Japanese had a hard time “cutting” the pancake with only some wooden sticks. We passed some more Japanese restaurants without English menu, nor with pictures and only seats on the floor. We bumped into an Argentine Restaurant and had a great dinner. Also different, smaller plates and hotter ingredients than we used to, but it was nice. Nice servants too, who tried to speak some English with us. We payed, “subwayed-back” and did some email and used skype to “phone and webcam home” before going to bed. Alarm was set for the next day, as we wanted to catch the 9:15 train.
Greetings, Marcel

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