Seen on board a Lego recreation of the USS Missouri at Catigny Museum
After eating a hearty Japanese breakfast of green salad, rice and hot tea, I took the subway to the Asakusa district, which is home to Tokyo’s oldest attraction, the Senso-ji temple.
And yes, the Tokyo subway is clean and quiet, except for the occasional screaming baby.)
Once inside the gate, there was shopping galore, and I had the opportunity to get my fortune — after saying a prayer and paying a small stipend. I ended up getting “the very best fortune.”
So that’s cool.
I opted for the latter.
I was excited to visit the Taiko Drum Museum, but it wasn’t at the map location, and business owners nearby hadn’t heard of it.
Seems like they would have heard a drum…nevermind.
Shibuya Crossing is as new as Asakusa is old. There are video screens and noise and thousands of people seemingly moving at once, but the chaos has a kind of order to it.
And remember the good-looking guy I saw yesterday plastered on buildings?
He was at Shibuya, too. Gotta figure out who he is.
His master died in 1925, but the dog continued to go to the station to meet him until his own death some ten years later.
The pup was very popular; it was hard to get a shot. I don’t know whose hand that is, but he is forever immortalized here on the Egg.
After a stop back at the hotel for the standard wash, clothing change and nap — the heat really takes it out of you — I ended the day at the Roppingi Hills, a large shopping / arts / entertainment complex in the district where I am currently staying.
I’m told the observatory has amazing city views, but it was closed because of the weather. I found that odd…until it started storming.
It was slightly less sticky afterwards, so it was worth it.
I’m resting my feet and back until tomorrow. Only one more morning of adventure and then the flight home to NYC!
I was free to play tourist today, so I began in the Jimbocho district where my conference hotel was centered.
My first stop was within walking distance, so I grabbed a water from one of the vending machines that occupy every corner of Tokyo.
(It turned out to be apple-favored…one of the perils of not reading Japanese.)
He’s cute. Love the bangs, too.
Most tourists visit Japan in spring or fall; now I understand why. I didn’t have a long walk, but even in the early morning hours, temperatures were in the 90’s with staggering humidity. I quickly adopted the Japanese practice of walking with an umbrella. It really helps.
My first stop was the Koishikawa Korakuen, a 70,000 square meter formal garden.
This guy was the first to greet me along the stone pathways. It was ten degrees cooler inside the garden, so I was glad I took my guidebook’s recommendation to come early in the day, before the noise from nearby Tokyo Dome (baseball and amusement park) could be heard.
When I first came upon it, I thought a spaceship was hovering nearby. It was very surreal.
After I left the garden, I decided to take a peek at the Tokyo Dome grounds.
There was an 11 a.m. baseball game, and fans were already streaming into the grounds. I got a better look at the roller coaster, but was particularly fascinated by a sculpture near the entrance to the park.
I couldn’t find a placard with an explanation for the sculpture. So, let’s take the highroad and say it is some kind of flower.
Or sea creature.
Or water faucet.
It’s hard to un-see it, I know that.
On my walk back, I checked out some of the used bookstores that line the streets of Jimbocho, which is considered the center of book publishing in Tokyo. Then I stopped by the hotel to make a complete clothing change — totally necessary — before heading to the Marunouchi District.
Next on my list was the Nihombashi Bridge, which is the geographic center of the city. Based on everything I had seen so far, I was expecting the bridge to be on the same scale.
The expressway overhead plays a big part in that. It casts a long shadow.
Even smaller but oh so colorful was the Kite Museum down the street, devoted to the Edo-dako style kite.
I entered here out of curiosity, but stayed a good long time (and not because it was air-conditioned).
I moved to a hotel in the Roppingi district in the late afternoon and treated myself to an unexpected but thoroughly enjoyable four-hour nap!
I am refreshed and ready for tomorrow’s adventures in Tokyo.
This morning many New Yorkers were puzzled by the presence of a particularly prodigious Rubik’s Cube, floating along the Hudson River on a barge.
Or maybe not. (They live here….they’ve seen everything by now.)
The colossal cube was created by the Liberty Science Center in neighboring Jersey City as part of their weekend-long celebration of the popular game’s 40th birthday.
While you are recovering from that punch to your sense of time and space, think about this —
What other games from our childhood deserve to be made ginormous and set afloat on a nearby body of water?
Easy Bake Ovens? Troll Dolls? Pet Rocks?
Cast your vote in the comments!
I’m spending Friday in the Cheetos Room.
Thanks to the brilliant mind of American artist Sandy Skoglund for making my dreams come true.
(If Cheetos aren’t your thing, she also created a bacon room.)
Tonight was the annual lighting of the Montauk Lighthouse — thousands of festive white lights, that is — the official kickoff of the holiday season.
As you can see, the lighthouse is pretty impressive on an average day. It was recently named a National Historical Landmark — only the 12th lighthouse to earn this distinction.
(A historian on the grounds tonight shared this tidbit.)
The lighting ceremony was scheduled from 4:30-7:00pm, and it was conveniently dark by 4:20pm. And cold — really cold. But the organizers made us stand around and shiver until 5:30pm.
It was totally worth it.