Oh Tokyo!

Hello Everybody!

I am back at home in my quiet little friendly Okinawa, but wow, what a weekend! I think I fell in love with Tokyo as much as I can fall in love with a big city.

Okay, yes there are a gazillion people, yes there is constant movement, yes the people are a little colder, but also yes, there are friendly people everywhere you go in this world if you look for them. I had the greatest experience! What a thrill and opportunity to be in such an important city.

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All you need is….this was up the street from my hotel in Shinjuku! I think these Love statues are in different cities all over the world. I saw one at Taipei 101 over the winter!

Let me also say that this will be at least a two-parter. I can’t put all that I saw and did in just one blog.

So, like any good researcher, I prepared myself by watching one of my all time favorite movies on Friday morning…Lost in Translation. If you have not seen this movie, I beg you, take a few hours and enjoy! I watched it right before I came here (to Okinawa) and then right after and I so relate to some of his experiences. I watched it the other day and found myself laughing to tears…anyway, just watch the movie!

bubbles in the park
Anyone who thinks Japanese people are unexpressive and cold needs to visit a park! This young mother and son were having such a great time, she was blowing bubbles and he was chasing after them. This was a beautiful thing to see.

So after a very long delay due to a Korean aircraft fire on the runway in Haneda, I finally got there. How exciting! I had passed through Narita on my way to Okinawa, but I have not experienced Mainland yet. It was also thrilling to travel without having to deal with customs or any long delays.

So I had a nice little hotel room in Shinjuku which had this glorious Chuo Park right next door and a subway connection down the block. I turned in since it was past midnight by the time I got settled and prepared to go see Kamakura in the morning.

I took a brief tour around Chuo Park in the morning, happened upon a little shrine in there, with quite a few protectors which at first glance I mistook for cats…they were foxes!

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In Chuo Park near my hotel.

Then I continued on around the park, wondering at the fact that although I was in a big city, it was relatively quiet and I was surrounded by nature…flowers, trees, birds and…a flea market! Oh yes, there were all kinds of goodies. Normally I do not buy things on a whim, but I saw this fabulous ‘fat animals’ hoodie..tags still on for 500 yen. I ask you, how am I supposed to walk away from that?

So, it got to be that time to go off to Kamakura and see the gods! I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was impressed…narrow streets with marketplace stalls, people talking, laughing, smiling at each other. I could imagine the same atmosphere five hundred years earlier on these ancient streets with people in different clothes and values but still people, still spending time with each other, looking for things to bring home to their family on the way to or from a temple. It is a beautiful thing to be in the flow of that humanity, the energy exchanging from one person to another in the form of a glance, or a touch or a smile.

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Woman in a bean stall on the path to the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine.
side street
Hats and shirts and bags, oh my!

I was told that all the streets to the shrines were straight and people who lived along them would set up stalls to capitalize on all the foot traffic. So off I went and what a happy experience, one traditional wedding had just completed and another just begun. I was able to watch the ceremony from beginning to end! How special it was, how many times I have wondered at all these things I’ve been able to be a part of. Life is grand, you never know what’s around the next corner.

big smile!
The beautiful bride.
little girl at the wedding
A young guest at the wedding in all her finery.
flute player at wedding
traditional music

This is from the Kamakura Travel website:

“Tsurugaoka Hachimangu (鶴岡八幡宮, Tsurugaoka Hachimangū) is Kamakura‘s most importantshrine. It was founded by Minamoto Yoriyoshi in 1063, and enlarged and moved to its current site in 1180 by Minamoto Yoritomo, the founder and first shogun of the Kamakura government.”

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Tsurugaoka Hachimangu
laughing girls in kimonos
These girls were having such a good time, this one was taken while they were still laughing!

Okay, this is going to have to be a three parter as I am getting sleepy and I have so much more to put on here….let me add a teaser movie of me discovering time-lapse feature on my iphone….this is me on Daimon Street in Tokyo!

I’ll add another one within a few days! Thanks for your patience everybody!