yesterday was simply an amazing day. i got up at 5 am (automatic due to jet lag) and got ready to go over to Justin’s house. [he lives in a house in Tokyo. how cool is that! i can now say that i will have experienced japan in a much better way than hotel only.] then, i dropped my bags and headed back out to Ueno, an area close to where i was staying at the hotel famous for it’s park.
the place is unbelievable. i forgot my maps and books so i had to wing it, but by ding so i got to discover many neat places that i would have never gone to had i had a map. i explored the Kaneiji cemeteries and temple, which was huge and overlooking the metro line and the city. then, i stumbled upon Yanaka cemetery, which is even bigger and has tombs dating as far back as 1874. cemeteries here are simply crazy. people go all out for their dead relatives and make these elaborated setups that have stones, trees, statues and the likes. and they even clean the space and everything. visiting there was peaceful and beautiful, and i was often alone (funny how that’s been happening a lot to me here). i was also the only tourist, which made me feel bad at points because i didn’t know if i was intruding…
walking around i found the Tennoji temple which had this incredible bronze Buddha. their temple was also really neat because they had the old section and a very modern one that went really well together despite the architectural and material differences. i also found many other temples, including one with a great gold-leaf Buddha and one with a blue roof.
i had a great pork curry at a cool little restaurant and found lots of great stores: i found a cool Tokyo.
the park itself was really nice as well, although many areas were tents cities. the Toshogu shrine there was spectacular, and reading the wooden wish batons there was pretty emotional. and then, the lake in the park was filled with lotus, it was simply beautiful.
i got back “home” and we headed right out again, this time for dinner in Shibuya. this is the area with all the neon, lights, TV screens and majorly huge intersections. it was crowded, it was impressive, but it didn’t give me any shock. it was just what i expected! and it was very different than the quiet Tokyo i had been seeing. and i found a bank where i could take money out, and got to make my first 20,000Y withdraw! such a big amount is pretty cool!
in all yesterday was just perfect. i was walking around with a smile stamped on my face pretty much the whole day. it’s hard to describe, but this is an incredible city.
shake #1: noticing a man masturbating in the middle of the street.
shake #2. an earthquake at 3:30 am. i didn’t feel the one during the afternoon, even though it was a big one.