worldwide walkabout the tiniest bird takes a walk.


festival in asakusa, tokyo

an annual festival held this year on the 12th and the 24th of november gives people the chance to bring good luck for the upcoming year. i was so lucky to have caught a day! good luck 'bouquets' are sold at the festival; apparently it takes several days to construct one and therefore they are sold for a high price.

also available at the festival-tons of amazing looking food! this was the first time that i had seen japanese people eating in public! apparently it's not usually polite to do so and street food has pretty much been non-existent from what i can tell.


museumness and miscellany

i was able to visit some museums that were close to each other on an overcast day. the weather has been very comfortable with only one day of rain and one day of wind.

my favorite museum was the mitsui memorial museum which is featuring ukiyo-e woodblock masterpieces from the takahashi seiichiro collection. it was amazing to see the detail and color of the actual prints; i had seen reproductions of these famous images before but they don't do the images justice! no photos were allowed though.

i also was able to visit the currency museum and the communications museum. it was really neat to see a few of the hundreds of thousands of post stamps they had in files. they had organized the stamps by continent, country, and era. drool...they also had on display many communications antiques-so cool!

i have also included a few miscellaneous images that didn't seem to fit in anywhere else. went to see a kabuki show one day-amazing costumes and great music.


tokyo tower and wax museum

woah, man. this place was crazy.


ueno and akihabara, tokyo

i really enjoy the ueno area-there is yet another frenetic ameyoko shopping area, along with ueno onshi park, the home of many museums, temples, a market, and a zoo. the tokyo national museum is comprised of five different gallery buildings and was full of treasures.

ahkihabara area is known for its electronics and 'electric city.' there seem to be so much neon in tokyo!

i love that there are so many food models in tokyo-not only is it very fun to look at, but also it makes for easier ordering of food. invariably i have been eating noodle bowls for meals because they're cheap and yummy. snacktime has gone out of the window, mostly.


fish market, tokyo

i don't think i was prepared for this one.

first, most japanese people are very polite-such is not the case at the fish market. it was the first time i was physically pushed out of the way in japan. i felt like i was a nuisance and in the way of vendors, shoppers, and those crazy fast moving merch-mobiles of the frenetic market. i would have never expected to get my butt touched in japan but it happened. i turned to see who violated me and it turned out to be a 60 year old man with grey hair.

second, i was very disturbed by all of the carnage: blood, band saws to cut the giant tunas apart, gaping open mouths of fish, and the still twitchy nature of a few fish missing half of their bodies. i was curiously watching a man at work-it turned out he was putting a wire up a fish nostril in order to kill it. i have been eating meat and fish as sparingly as i can but being here made me feel sick.


asakusa, tokyo

my new friend olivia showed me around the asakusa area where our hostel is. she lived here for two years some time ago and it was nice to get a local's perspective! she showed me where to get half price sushi and sashimi after 10 pm and she showed me a really great 100 yen shop-the loot there blows dollar stores back home clear out of the water! we were so lucky to catch a children's kabuki performance near the sensoji temple. luckily for me, asakusa is less expensive than some other areas in tokyo. upon arriving, the hostel guys told me about the nearby lawsons 100 yen food which was a big relief. i thought i would have to starve a bit more. i have had to cut way back on snacktime though. tokyo riffraff.

olivia speaks japanese and is way more polite than me so i was able to take some portaits of beautiful people that i otherwise couldn't have. the only bummer is that she doesn't like having her own photo taken! no!


shibuya/meiji jingu and odaiba, tokyo

after searching for funky youngsters, i headed to the meiji jingu shrine and forest that was dedicated to emperor meiji and empress dowager. the forest, comprised of 100,000 trees was a very lovely place to have a walk. at the shrine, there were many people dressed in beautiful traditional clothing.

odaiba was an interesting visit, with palette town's shopping malls, rainbow bridge, and a fake statue of liberty. most of all i enjoyed the above ground subway journey which featured a nice view of the tokyo harbor at nighttime.


tokyo cool cats

wore my pink shorts out when i went in search of the funky funksters who hang out in harajuku. there's a phenomena called cosu-play-zoku that i wanted to witness. was trying to keep up with the cool cat fashions but didn't even come close! japanese mannerisms are so cute that i imagine having to take lessons to be so cute.

i came across something cool lo0king in yoyogi koen park. when i asked some of the young ladies whether they spoke english they said ''a little'' and gestured for small. i asked what was happening and they thought for a second and replied ''fashion show.'' these very charming, friendly and rad young people had made a runway with sticks and were catwalking to michael jackson's thriller.  great fashions, great glasses, and great attitudes. i was so lucky to meet them! one man said "crazy!" and then made sure that i knew he was referring to them and that he wasn't calling me crazy. so great!

i wasn't able to find as many cosu players as i had expected, despite the fact that it was sunday. maybe i was in the wrong spot. did see lots and lots of fashionable people though.


tokyo! tokyo! arriving and shinjuku neon

i arrived 2 1/2 hours late to tokyo because of a late flight departure. the man helping me figure out the subway <you should see these insane maps> was very kind printed me out an individual schedule: what time my train arrived, what time to transfer, what time i would arrive. however, he wrote next to the transfer "same plat home" which i took to mean changing trains but staying on the same platform. it was the wrong train and by the time i returned to the station, i had missed the last train to my destination. i didn't have a map or guide book and had already booked my hostel in advance so i took a cab. my little heart panicked when i saw that the beginning fare was over $7 and it panicked even more each time the meter jumped. it cost $33 to get there on top of my $12 for the subway! ouch!

well worth it. i am in love with japan. people here are very polite-it's always hii hii hii or yes yes yes. apparently 'no' is an uncommonly heard word. people here are very polite and respectful. i was surprised to never see anyone eating in public-apparently it's not polite to do so. also, there are smoking areas; smoking is not allowed in many public spaces.

shinjuku, the lights, the neon were quite a sight on my first night out in japan! friday night!

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