Tuesday, March 8, 2011

On the Loosa in Asakusa

Today was much different than yesterday.  Mainly in the fact that we were greeted by sunshine and not snow.  And also because we knew how to get on and off the metro without making too many people mad.

It was somewhat a typical day as I made a major airhead move and left the SD card for the camera in my computer.  Which was back at the hotel.  An hour train ride away.  But we figured in one of the most technologically savvy cities in the world, it would be no problem finding a store that sold memory cards.  Of course, we forgot that we were in one of the oldest parts of the city, dedicated to the ancient times.  But after walking around looking lost and doing our best (via sign language and the always effective point and look method) to ask people where to find camera memory, we finally were able to get busy documenting our day.  I would also like to go on the record and state that my husband didn't even lose his cool with me when he realized what I had done... 

I was really excited about today's destination: Asakusa.  All the guide books I read somehow made me think we'd be visiting a quiet, small, off the beaten path type of place.  With narrow streets lined with ancient shops.  Well, there were narrow streets.

Although I knew there was a major temple, the Senso-ji, somehow it didn't click in my head that thinking this place was off the beaten path would be like thinking people would only know about the Vatican if they read it in a guide book.  The whole area was quite charming and felt more like what I thought Tokyo would feel like- crowded, bustling, old, imperfect- than what we experienced yesterday.  It was very interesting, a little touristy, but enjoyable.  

The Kaminarimon.  Large gate that is the entrance to the temple.
Nakamise-dori, the shopping lane leading up to the temple (think Chamorro Village or French Market type wares)

Before entering the temple, many worshipers drink water from the fountain pictured  above and also inhale the smoke and rub it over their bodies from the fire pictured below.  They believe this will heal what ails them and make them wiser.

The inside of the temple

The temple grounds were quite lovely.  Price enjoyed chasing the pigeons.  Everyone enjoyed watching him.  In fact, he is on several videos, camera phones, etc.  Don and I are pretty sure we're going to see him on a commercial here pretty soon.

He even tried to make a new friend, but she and her family were in a hurry to be somewhere.

Pretty sure this will be my favorite picture from the trip.
There are some neat things to see around the Nakamise-dori.  We enjoyed wandering up the narrow streets, getting away from the tourists.  

We saw noodles being made here.  I wish I could tell you we ate here, but to avoid a colossal meltdown a few hours after this picture was taken, we ate at Mc Donalds.  Foodies, I will accept your shuns.
Bicycles in front of a grocery store.

A button store.
After spending a good portion of the day in Asakusa, we decided to head back to the hotel via a water bus.  It was a really relaxing, 35 minute ride through the city by ferry.  

The ferry deposited us at Hamarikyu Gardens, which was once property owned by a Shogun family.  Several of the teahouses in the gardens date back to the family.  It was a nice walk and gave Price a chance to run off some energy before we got back on a train.  This field helps you imagine how beautiful the rest of the gardens must be in the spring when things are in bloom.

Bride & Groom
Ancient Tea House with modern Tokyo in the background
We probably walked 400 miles today, our legs are T-I-R-E-D!!  But we enjoyed just about every step.  And are off to bed because tomorrow we take the little man to the land of the mouse.  Yes, we're going to Tokyo Disney!

ps-  don't have any good pottys today, but I can tell you I had my first experience with a psuedo open air squatty potty.  If you are wondering what that is, well it's a public toilet that is open (literally) to the public. Like when I saw WAAAYYY more of an elderly woman than I EVER would want to, my initial reaction was, "poor thing, the door must have opened on her."  Until I tried to go into the "regular" stall (I originally was going to use the handicap one b/c I was going to try and change Price) and walked in on someone else.   Then I realized they were squatting.  And I was outta there.  Thankful that we stuck with super absorbent diapers for Price. (And both of these "rooms" were on a main walkway by the temple, and you didn't have to go into a main room and then pick a squatty potty. It was like two outside gas station restrooms without doors, just a little half wall).

pps- sorry about the title of this post, it's late, I'm tired.


Amy Hall said...

Two favorite pictures....
Price and his new friend and you and Price in the field of yellow flowers! Wow!

frosty said...

agreed! those are both beautiful shots! what an awesome trip! can't wait to hear your take on tokyo disney! yay! having fun just reading about your time!

Rachel May said...

Oh lord I would have walked out of there and laughed so hard. Great pictures!

Kelly said...

Agreed-that photo with Price and that little girl literally took my breath away! I'm really enjoying reading about your adventures and am so glad you all are having such a great time!!

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