The Time of my Life…or Oh Tokyo! part ii

Hello everybody, so this is part two of my exciting trip to Tokyo, actually my inaugural trip. You see, I landed in Narita on September 18, 2015, but it is not in Tokyo, it’s quite far outside, so technically, this was my first trip. Hopefully, not my last as I have only scratched the surface, but what a surface!

So I wanted to see some shrines and temples while on Mainland and Kamakura was on the list. It was close to Yokosuka, a big Navy base, which had meaning for me, and I had actually applied there for a Family Advocacy Program position. Here are a few more pictures that I did not put in from last week .

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Not the  Great Buddha, but still pretty awesome.

 

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Slice of life…even on the way to the Temple, or because you’re on your way to the Temple, grooming is important!

I have been searching for a necklace for the past few months that had meaning for me. Something that I can wear and think of where and how I got it. I found a beautiful flourite raindrop on a leather necklace.  I went in to buy it (it was in the shop window and called to me), and a lady put it on me so it sat in the well between my collar bones. As we were leaving, she followed me out and introduced me to the artist that created it. I now have a piece of beauty and a photo of the artist that brought it to existence!

So, here I am in Japan and I’m headed to the Great Buddha of Kamakura. I still can’t believe my life and how fortunate I am. I think the more thankful you are, the more there is to be thankful for.

Now I think I added some information in the last post, but let me direct you to another website: http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3100.html

“The Great Buddha of Kamakura (鎌倉大仏, Kamakura Daibutsu) is a bronze statue of Amida Buddha, which stands on the grounds of Kotokuin Temple. With a height of 13.35 meters, it is the second tallest bronze Buddha statue in Japan, surpassed only by the statue in Nara‘s Todaiji Temple. The statue was cast in 1252 and originally located inside a large temple hall. However, the temple buildings were destroyed multiple times by typhoons and a tidal wave in the 14th and 15th centuries. So, since 1495, the Buddha has been standing in the open air.”

 

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The Great Buddha of Kamakura

Just to give you an idea of the size of this, I add a photo of myself with him.

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Ever feel a big presence right behind you?  I did.

We made our way through the crowds and it was on to some fabulous tuna (the best in Japan, the best in my life!) for dinner in a lovely restaurant with three drunken men who were quite friendly! I actually gave one a high-five on the way out.

And back to my hotel room to call it a night. I did watch some basketball and some fabulous infomercials in which not understanding Japanese does not impair your ability to know what’s going on.

Sunday morning – the itinerary for the day? A little walk up to Shinjuku Station to see the shops and the people and  sightseeing (kanko) whatever there was to see. It turns out there was plenty to see! I posted some of this on Facebook, so I apologize for the duplication, but I took a time lapse movie of this woman standing in the station while everyone moved around her. It seemed to sum up the city for me.

I shopped in the many stores there are there, from low brow to high end, there was something for everyone (well not me, the only thing I bought was a rich cup of coffee and a heavenly cinnamon roll) including Cartier and Tiffany.

Then it was time for the trains! I had heard many stories about the trains in the past week, from people who ride (or rode) them daily. I heard about how crowded, how everyone pushes and shoves, the refusal to put down the smart phones and of course, the groping!

Now I have to say, having ridden on trains in  a few countries now, that the Tokyo system is very well thought out and quite easy to use. You can buy a card and give the machine some yen and you can use it for all sorts of modes of transportation: the train, the bus and even some taxis take it. You can use it in almost all places in Japan…well not the monorail in Naha, but you know…Okinawa is not really Japan anyway!

Well, I’m rambling a bit today, but my experience on the train was a nice one. It was a Sunday, so not so crowded  and able to get a seat on all the trains. So for me, it was a good experience. Into the downtown to see another Temple and to see the markets along the way.  The feature photo is one of the maneki-neko (the beckoning cat) which is thought to bring good fortune  to the owner. I saw a stand with all kinds of them along this path to the Temple.

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An Okinawan textile in one of the booths. I am always thinking of home.
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The peaceful way….this deity was looking out for all people, not just the Japanese…isn’t that nice?

What a lovely experience, yes there were people all over the place, but what an incredible thing to find peace in the middle of Tokyo.

My next stop was a place made famous by my favorite monsters of my childhood…you’ve got it Mothra, Godzilla and I think King Kong might have gotten in on the action.  Of course I’m speaking of the Tokyo Tower. This is the magnet to which monsters of all kinds are drawn…Mothra used it as a nest I believe. Now there is the SkyTree which is bigger, but Mothra never used it as a nest…and Godzilla never breathed fire on it, so how good can it be? I ask you.

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Tokyo Tower

I decided to go on inside and take a look around. The photo from last week’s blog was taken here on the ‘lower level’. Now I should say I have a little thing with heights, as in I’m terrified of being way up in the air, so of course I had to go in and go to the top! As I’m approaching the top of the tower there is a little warning speech, first in Japanese, then in English…about a cracking sound! A cracking sound! We were told not to be alarmed because it’s normal. I muttered, “oh my goodness!” and another American in the elevator with me said, “my thoughts exactly!”.  Well it cracked and I tried not to be alarmed. As we got out of the elevator, the American said, “I’m glad they warned us because I would have freaked out!” I laughed at that, the way you laugh when someone expresses a thought that went through your head.

I survived, obviously and I congratulated myself on my Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in action (I use it on clients all the time and need to use it on myself occasionally).

And then we were off to a soba restaurant where the slurping is accepted and welcome and drinking straight from the bowl will not get you dirty looks from your mother…well maybe not my mother!

Back to the hotel and ready for a quiet morning, then back to Haneda and my piece of heaven, Okinawa.

I ended up taking the subway to Daimon Street  where I would change from subway to monorail. I had plenty of time and decided to go exploring. I found another Temple there.

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I think this was the children’s cemetery. Sad but beautiful.

I bought some incense and bathed in its smoke to heal myself of any ailments. I really did feel better, the power of thought at work perhaps or a spiritual cleansing?

I left there and headed to find the Monorail. Once I did, it was a straight shot to Haneda where I enjoyed another lovely soba meal and a nice conversation with the server.

So, I highly recommend Tokyo, I hope I have the chance to return there soon….but next week’s blog will feature my latest passion…snorkeling! I am off to the lovely Keramas tomorrow and may have a chance to encounter some sea turtles…

Take care everyone and enjoy your week and thanks for your interest in my happy little blog!