“In a time, in place, in world they forgot…” Well, not really, but anytime I can start a post quoting Bon Jovi I will. I'm traveling through Japan for a few weeks this summer as part of the Japan Society's study tour for educators. We arrived in Tokyo two nights ago, and so far, I'm really loving Japan.
After a delicious meal of spaghettie and mackerel last night, (and yes, they have really good spaghetti here), a bunch of us got up early to wander out and explore, and eventually find a beautiful, peaceful park located right next to the university. Filled with wooden arched bridges covered with Banzhai trees, and a 13 tier Buddhist pagoda, the park eminated a zen like quality and was a nice introduction to Japan.
First on our schedule this morning was the Tokyo-Edo Musuem, where Kazuko served as our guide. We learned about Japan during the Tokogawa period, when Edo (Tokyo) was the capital of Japan, and a cultural highpoint. During this period, there was a strict social structure, with samurai at the top, followed by peasants, merchats, and artisans. It was also a period filled with cultural achievements, one of which was Kabuki. The musuem has a prominent replica of a Kabuki theater in its gallery, where Sandra gave us a brief history of this cultrual treasure. Being we are scheduled to go to a Kabuki performance on our last night, I will write about Kabuki in a later post.
We had lunch at the musuem; a delicious tempura washed down by beer made with burdock; a type of root.
After lunch, we visited the Asukuso-Ji Temple, where Jeffrey briefly led us around. The temple, founded in 1628, the temple was built for “Kannon”; the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy. After the fall of the Tokugawa, the temple lost goverment funding and is now funded by all the little stalls selling trinkets on the entrance into the temple.
After walking exploring the temple for a bit, Kazuko took us over to the Shinto shrine to partake in a purification ritual. Before visiting the shrine, she led us to a fountain where we learned the proper way to cleanse ourselves before entering the shrine.
After visiting the temple, we were given some free time to shop, before we arrived a beer garden overlooking Tokyo.
For dinner, we were treated to blowfish (hugu), prepared in every which way possible; sashami, bbq, hotpot…absolutely delicious.
Perfect first day in Tokyo.