Places to Go, People to See: Japan Gets Busier on Day Three

See what I did there with the rhyming title? I enjoyed it. Anywho, since my last post was technically this morning I can’t rightfully call this a third separate day of posting; however, three days have past since I took off from MSP so I feel I can get away with it. The day began with waking up at the bright and early time of 3:30AM local while Jet lag beat the hell out of me (and is still doing so). After a morning walk around the block, we made our way to a nearby Shinto shrine where we did the traditional picture snapping and silly pose making that all tourists are entitled to before coming back to the apartment for a “class” meeting. Around 11:00AM we were greeted by the director of international students here at Bunkyo, and were then given an official tour of the campus which culminated in a lunch reception with a large number of English Communication Majors from Bunkyo (all but one were women coincidentally), the President of the university, and an array of faculty. Now, in case breaking the ice isn’t hard enough in the US, imagine popping up and introducing yourself to a group of complete strangers who you can barely communicate with! Well I had nothing to lose and stepped up to the plate to introduce myself, and after a few awkward misinterpretations and some formalities on the part of the President and her cohorts we were all hitting it off pretty well!Our Host Students :-)

The Bunkyo students were all extremely kind and welcoming, offering to take us out on the town all weekend; an offer which we graciously accepted (Sushi dates tomorrow night!)

The afternoon passed slowly by. I had a homesick moment when I looked at my time change and desperately wished I wasn’t so horribly thrown off right now, but it has since worn off a bit. I’ve found these feelings sort of come and go as certain things come to mind. In the late afternoon we headed off on what would be about a 30 minute walk down to the area surrounding the Tokyo Dome where we were to meet some of Steve’s old friends for dinner. My impression of the whole city warped with every step down to towards the Dome. Broken down houses and cramped alleys gave way to freshly paved streets lined with neatly trimmed trees and a host of flashing lights, nicely kept shops, and skyscrapers. The most drastic landmark however was about 250 feet or so in the air (if I had to guess)–a roller coaster! Yeah, a roller coaster in the middle of Tokyo, right next to the mammoth Tokyo Dome. Surrounding a portion of the Tokyo Dome City as its called was a very Vegas-like reminder of Home in the form of numerous water jets all spraying to the tune of a classical piece. Seeing the absurd amounts of glitz and glamor also reminded me of how different this city is now from just a century before. I was reading through a book written in the 1930’s today when I came across a passage on how the Japanese don’t care for excessive lights and shine; ironically, that is what a city with something explicitly called “electric town” is known for now! Oh how the times change…

Dinner–crazy. We go into this tiny little eatery where we’re greeted by a host of old friends of Steve who he hadn’t seen in 10 years or so. The menus were all in Japanese which somehow led to multiple small dishes being ordered for our table by those who could speak the language. First, a small bowl of mashed radishes came out, not great. Next was a community salad followed by a larger plate full of skewers of various meats and veggies. The skewer of liver was not particularly appealing; however, the chicken, Okra (I think) and Bacon-wrapped asparagus were quite yummy! The craziest thing of the night though? Whole fish complete with eggs inside them. It was at the time I bit into one of these little devils that I hastily lost my appetite and retired to sipping my frosty Japanese beer and chatting. The day ended with getting to talk to a close friend and loading the pics of the day so you all can enjoy them. Tomorrow I’m up around 4:30 to head down to the Tsukiji Fish Market to check out crazy fish throwing and auctioning and things of that nature. For now though, I need to pass out. Until next time

~~Pat

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5 Responses to “Places to Go, People to See: Japan Gets Busier on Day Three”

  1. mommy dearest Says:

    Nice rhyme–
    and right on time–
    did the fish have slime?
    Did your beer have a lime??
    Did you see a mime??

    Ok-I’m done. Glad you’re having fun!!
    (oh- i didn’t mean to do that one! ) (or that one either!!)
    Love you–

  2. Enilorac Wolrab :) Says:

    SSSSSSOOOO, today in art, I was painting some cherries and-well i just thought I would share that glorious fact with you…Well that was my day well youre off ROAMING THROUGH THE STREETS OF JAPAN!!!! Also on my exciting days in the past, My friends yogurt splattered allll over my leggg!!!!JOY…

    ~Care

  3. steventhomas Says:

    The whole fish that you mention are called “shishamo” — and they are tiny little things, just slightly bigger your finger. I think they are delicious. And the skewers of grilled chicken and chicken livers are “yakitori.” And you had yakitori Japanese style, which is just salted and with the livers, and not American style which is just white meat and that awful teriyaki sauce.

  4. pbitty Says:

    Thanks for the clarification Steve, I can never remember what the names of the dishes are called since I can’t read them :-\ .

  5. Auntie Shell Says:

    Hey Coo!

    So Glad to hear that you are doing well and having fun.
    I hope you are learning a lot about Japan, it’s history and it’s culture, as well as sharing yours. I am hoping that your education up until now has given you more to share about our country than your knowledge of “cheeseburgers, the revolution and fat people” !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    OMG!!!!
    Make sure you burp at the end of every meal, really loud, it means you liked the food. Actually, check that out first, cause that would be really funny if it didn’t!!!!!!
    I love you Coo. Be smart and enjoy every moment.
    Auntie Shell

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