Japan Culture Day and My First Earthquake
Yesterday was Culture Day in Japan. This is always on the day of the Emperor Meiji’s posthumous birthday, who was pretty much solely credited with Japan’s arrival as a major economic power. A couple of years ago we happened to be in Nara on this day and we were treated to Japanese cuisine prepared by what looked like scouts. This year we stayed in Tokyo and visited the Meiji Jingu Shrine, followed by the historic entertainment district – Asakusa.
There’s not too much I can say about Meiji Jingu. It’s one of Tokyo’s most famous shrines and the grounds are free to view for most of the day. It’s a nice quiet haven in the centre of Tokyo. We were intending to see archery and maybe a little martial arts demonstration, but we managed to miss just about all of this. We were treated to a little music and dancing though.
There was also a little bit of religious ceremony that I wasn’t really sure of the meaning of. It all looked very serious though.
Before we left here, we went for a bite to eat at the local cafe. I thought I’d mention my meal, which was Omurice. Rice is fried with vegetables and prawns, accompanied by a little tomato sauce. Then this rice is rolled in an omelette and placed on a plate. In this case, my omelette was then covered with beef stew. It was delicious and my heart only stopped for a second or two.
From Meiji Jingu we travelled to Asakusa for a parade. It took about half an hour or so and when we finally got there we were welcomed with a huge crowd, full, no doubt, of people safe in the knowledge that those that turn up later get stuck behind the Japanese guy with a bloody flat-cap who seems determined to get said cap in all your photos. The parade was a little late in starting, but was interesting when it did. Each float/group represented an era of Japanese histroy, spanning Sengoku, Tokugawa and more modern times. Starting…with the Age of Dragons!
It happened. This was followed by the eras featuring less Dragons.
My personal favourites were these ladies dressed as swans.
And that’s your lot.
I read 1Q84 recently. All 1000 odd pages in all for the trilogy. I have to say that it’s not his best, but as I live so close I couldn’t pass up the chance to visit the setting of the book (admittedly in the 1980s). Koenji boils down to a commuter town and I wouldn’t recommend visiting it to anyone else wanting to get all nostalgic. I was the only Westerner I saw all day and I got a few looks like Steve Buscemi might get on the set of Hollyoaks.
My First Earthquake
I’m not going to make this sound too drastic at the risk of coming off all melodramatic. To be honest I thought I was just being a bit overzealous with the spatula when the oven appeared to be shifting backwards, away from me. Then it became apparent that the building was actually shifting from side to side. Aside from being a little disorientating, it wasn’t that much of a big deal. My Bolognese and I came out unscathed. I think it registered at 5ish on the Richter Scale, which is nothing really compared to the 1.21 Gigawatts needed to travel through time.
Have a better one!