So much for not posting until January.  We’re hunkered down in a wonderful hostel in Tokyo in the Asakusa district.  Thought I’d type out some thoughts before they disappear forever.

What a crazy, wonderful, action-packed couple of days we’ve had.  We’ve seen quite a bit of Tokyo even though in reality we have only scratched the surface.  On day one we traveled from Noheji to Ueno Station via the shinkansen (bullet train).  Once we arrived we explored a couple parks, a museum, the electronics district, and a couple video arcades. 

It was kind of surreal going from seeing swords originally made in the 7th century (in pristine, shiny condition) to a smoky video game parlor packed full of people playing the latest version of Virtua Fighter.  I think there might be some sort of cultural connection there that I don’t have enough time to elaborate on.

In the evening we went to the famous fish market and found some of the best tuna sashimi we’ve ever had.

Anyway, on day two we went to Shinjuku, Harajuku, Shibuya, Shinbashi, a train ride across the Rainbow Bridge,  and a ride an enormous ferris wheel.  For dinner we ate monja and okonomiaki. 

In terms of cultural identity, while living and working in Aomori Prefecture, we find ourselves occillating in the space between guest and resident.  Here we are absolute tourists.  It’s impossible to hide it, but I try anyway.  Then, inevitably, I’ll realize I don’t know where we’re going or I’ll take a picture of some building or busy intersection and my cover is blown. 

Traveling like this is an empowering but humbling experience.  Take for instance the Tokyo subway system.  You feel a little more confident when you figure out how to navigate across this vast city.  But then you realize why you figured it out.  It wasn’t because of your intelligence or ability to speak and read Japanese — it is your ability to stop, focus, and not let your seemingly chaotic surroundings distract you from figuring out the system.  This is the key. 

Anyway, we’re heading to Kyoto tomorrow pretty early in the morning (long story).  We’ll try and post one or two more times on the road.

You’ll have to wait on pictures until we get back home.  😦



2 Responses to “Tokyo”

  1. PJ Says:

    Ganbatte! I love reading your posts. Keep up the good work. A++++

  2. sarah austad Says:

    Enjoying your blog. Will be interested to hear your long story. I thought geishas didn’t exist any more. I found that really interesting. I read a good book about a geisha not long ago. Very interesting. I wish you could have seen one and taken a picture. Oh well. Continue to enjoy.

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