Saturday, March 12, 2016

Edo-Tokyo Museum, Akihabara and Yodabashi Akiba

Edo Museum

We spent a long day at the Edo-Tokyo Museum. It was very impressive how the history of Tokyo was presented. Very well done indeed. Edo is the original name for Tokyo. The town sprung up around the early 1600's and after century of earthquakes, multiple fires and being firebombed (more tonnage of incendiary on Tokyo than the atomic power used to level Hiroshima or Nagasaki) , morphed into the imposing city it is today. The museum was loaded with school kids, which were as thrilled to be there as were we.
Life sized Shogun Statue
Royal Robes

We are still trying to learn the rail system here in Tokyo. Since you can get around just about every where on public transport we bought a all day pass to get to the museum. No one told us though, that 3/ or 4 of the systems are independently owned and that more passes would need to be bought along the way.  We of course found out on our way to the Museum. 
Harvey, the Fire Monkey and my personal computer guru, was intent on going to Akihabara, which is the computer/electronics/all things geeky section of town. We had our directions out to the subway that we needed to catch and the phone set to GPS to further help. we searched and searched for that damn station. We asked directions by both passerbyers' and other station workers. No one could direct us, so after a futile 30 minutes, we set out on foot as Akihabara was only 2 stops away. 

What an amusing walk. most of my favorite travel memories are of just wandering around the streets. The smaller and twistier the street, the better.
First tourist miracle, was that we found the location of the original Edo bridge that crossed the river to the royal lands. Nothing was in English, but there was this one depiction of an original scroll drawing of the Edo bridge, carved in stone we had just seen in the Museum.
Tokyo has many water ways. Across the bridge and down a side street we spied a small canal, going in the right direction so we veered off the main drag and found a little Wonderland.
 We followed the canal as far as it would take us, stopping every so often to admire a brightly painted party barge, decorated with Japanese Lanterns and Bonsai. Sadly, the canal path stopped and we jogged over to a parallel road where more delights lay in store. First we found the lumber yard - and I use this term quite loosely.

You know how good freshly sawed lumber smells? Harvey went in to the small first room, just to take in deep breaths of the beautiful wood. The owner came out of his office, with a questioning look and Japanese we couldn't understand. Harvey made the international sign of cupping his hand and taking a whiff. The owner knew exactly what had brought us into his small store room and motioned for us to follow his. He lead us next door to squeeze into his larger storage space. In his broken English, he stated (make sure you hear this in your mind in a bad Japanese voice) "Cedar","Pine", "fencing".
As we left, the owner asked us where we were from. When you are from Florida, you don't need to say you're from America, because EVERYBODY knows "Florida".  With much bowing he inquired whether we voted in "Super Tuesday"? How many of us at home know when the Japanese elections take place, right? Then the inevitable " who you vote"? Harvey laughed and said, "feel the Bern", which went straight over this guys head. I could see he didn't get it so I said, "No Trump". The lumber owner got so excited and started bowing lower and lower stating over and over, "yes. no Trump" and taking Harvey's hand and shaking it warmly. Places don't change you, people change you.

We passed a DIY store that was also a cafe and bar. It featured, tile, fabrics, rugs, flooring and bathroom fixtures
 We  passed a store where there were hand made calligraphy brushes

We saw our first neighborhood shrine and the first cherry blossoms of the season.

Eventually we got to Akihabara and entered the superstore Yodabashi Akiba. 8 stories of everything.
(Sorry, I can't get YouTube ti embed this morning)
At the end of the evening we took the Train home to Shibuya. It was everything you have ever seen about how crowded the Metro gets here. Sardines we were and I am so proud of the Monkey Man for not flipping out (he has trouble with small and crowed places). We got out of the metro and this is what we faced,

No comments: