Tokyo Yasumi

[Julie]

It is the practice of the office where I work to take three office trips in the span of one year.  I was invited to participate in a trip to Tokyo, their third trip of this year, which occurred two weekends ago.  For a small group rate fee, twelve of the eighteen office workers hopped on the shinkansen (bullet train) early Saturday morning, spent the day and the night in Tokyo, and after another busy morning and afternoon, sped back to Aomori-ken on Sunday evening.

Riding the bullet train is a great way to get a feel for the lay of the land.  The cities grew closer and closer together as we neared Tokyo, and this was very easy to gauge, as it only took seconds to pass through a smaller town.  When were about 30-40 minutes outside Tokyo on our way there, the gaps between towns disappeared and my view turned into a constant blur of taller and taller buildings.

Please enjoy the following videos:

When we reached the most populated city in the world, the group of us dropped off our things at our hotel near the station, and set off to Asakusa Temple via local train and then on foot.  I was startled by all of the unfamiliar faces of foreigners in this area, as it is a very popular place to visit.  At the temple, I paid roughly $1 to shake a tube full of sticks with numbers written on one end, pick the stick that pokes out of a hole on one end of the tube, find the corresponding drawer in front of me, and read the fortune within.  I got the best fortune.

We walked all around the Asakusa area and had monja at a small restaurant.  The mixture of batter, veggies, and meat is cooked on a griddle built into the table.  We cooked it ourselves, although first-timers usually receive some help.  It’s essentially a giant omelet, but with less egg and more fun.

We rounded off the afternoon with a traditional form of Japanese entertainment that I like to call sit down comedy.  It’s actually called rakugo.  Although I couldn`t understand much of what the entertainers were saying, I could appreciate their varied voices and facial expressions, and understand a lot of their movements as they acted out funny stories while staying seating on a large pillow on stage.

We finished the day with a bus tour of Tokyo which included dinner at the Prince Hotel.

View from the bus.

View from the bus.

I woke up bright and early Sunday morning to join a group of people who had decided to go to Ueno Park during our freetime.  After strolling through the trees and statues, we got in line to see an art show featuring seven of Vermeer`s paintings.  There were so many people in line when we arrived even though it was still an hour until opening.  He is most famous for the painting called Girl with a Pearl Earring, but the seven paintings featured in the show I saw were The Little Street, Lady writing a Letter with her Maid, Lady Seated at a Virginal, Woman with a Lute near a Window, The Girl with the Wineglass, Christ in the House of Martha and Mary, and Diana and Her Compainions.

Our group made a quick stop at a television tower which featured a store selling Studio Ghibli merchandise.  I’m a fan of many films from this studio.

The whole group met up at 11:20 a.m. for a lunch cruise in Tokyo Bay.  This was my favorite part of the day.  Luckily, the weather that weekend was sunny and warm (low 70s F), so the view of the city was amazing.  It was a great way to end our trip.  We headed back to Aomori-ken at 4:00 and arrived at 7:00.

Click here to view 67 more photos from the trip!

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One Response to “Tokyo Yasumi”

  1. Hanna Says:

    Julie, did you get to drive the bullet train? Enjoying your posts as usual. Look at all the cool stuff you get to do! Take care! Hanna

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