Tokyo – Day 3

Location | Tokyo

Yesterday was the start of a wonderful day! First we went to Nezu, an old part of Tokyo. There we had a wonderful walking tour by a world renown architectural historian, Hidenobu Jinnai-sensei. It was the best Tokyo tour ever! I got the see parts of Tokyo that I probably would have never seen if it wasn’t for him.

We started out at Nezu station. We got there a little early, so we left the station to walk around. Leaving the station, I was in the middle of our group when this guy (non-Asian) who is handing out flyers, steps into the middle of our group to purposefully hand me a flyer. The flyer is for ENGLISH CLASSES. So I proclaim loudly “BUT I SPEAK ENGLISH!” and walk away… Talk about random. All Asians are Japanese in Japan I guess…

Anyway, we met up with Professor Hidenobu later and talked about the different types of residential and commercial districts. Especially the concept of machiya, having a commercial facade on main streets and inward you have smaller (and shorter) residential homes. The buildings are narrow in the front, but are long and extend toward the back. That’s why they’re called unagi no ne doko (the place that eels sleep).

From there we went to Nezu shrine, a shinto shrine supported especially during the Tokugawa/Edo Period. The shrine has many torii, which were very low. It is explained to be like that of a tea house entrance, where it’s like entering into another world. In this case, to celebrate the spirit of the fox god (kitsune).

Nezu Shrine's Torii

Nezu Shrine's Torii

After leaving the shrine, we went through the residential areas to see different types of homes. There were many buddhist temples and it was very peaceful. It really made me want to live in Japan. We went through Yanaka Cemetery, the cemetery where the last Shogun is buried. The link to the Yanaka website is interesting, it’s filled with lists of cemeteries and famous people buried.

Residential Street in Nezu

Residential Street in Nezu

After Yanaka Cemetary, we walked into a residential shopping area. We stopped by buy some croquettes to eat. Then we walked to another shrine near Ueno Park. This was smaller than the one at Nezu. We made our way down the street to go eat lunch at a small place near the train station.

When we finished eating, we chatted for a bit and then said goodbye to Professor Hidenobu. Some of our group decided to go to Akihabara to look around. We got on the JR Line, and we were minding our own business when this old Japanese man came up to Bryan and decided to grab his ass!!!! Then Bryan was like “WHOAA” and the guy walked by us then turned around and started to sing an, apparently, old song about a tanuki. He then started patting Bryan’s stomach and all of us were like “um, wtf is going on!??!?!?” and laughing incredibly nervously, yet hysterically. Akiko also said that the old man was wearing a sign around his neck that said he was a “safety guard” for elementary school kids!! How creepy!!!

We arrived in Akihabara and went to an anime/manga store and to check things out. It actually wasn’t that big to me, but they had a very wide selection of doujinshi from various artists.

After this, we crossed the street to go to a store that sold electronics. There I got a Zeroshock camera case. I probably should’ve purchased by electronic dictionary case there as well.

When we finished checking out Akihabara, we split up some more. Some of us decided to go to Omotesando again and go do some shopping. Shivali, Kris, Heidi and I ended up going to Harajuku to look at the stores. Harajuku is definitely not my style when it comes to clothing. It’s a lot like Hsimending or Shilin in Taiwan, but I think Shibuya is closer to Hsimending and Harajuku is more similar to Shilin.

After this we went back to the hotel and met up to go out to eat. Suma and I were exhausted so we ended up staying in and eating onigiri. I’m glad I stayed in though, because my feet were aching and I was in total pain.

[This entry was taken from my old blog, Building Tokyo. Formatting may have changed when moved to Explore!]

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02 2007

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