Well we are just coming to the end of our two weeks in Tokyo, and thought you might like to read about some of our adventures in this fascinating city! It is modern and traditional all wrapped up together, with some beautiful people who made our visit really special. Here are our five highlights:
1. Socks and Sandals are OK – When people are wearing traditional Japanese kimonos, they often wear flip flops with socks. This is fine and accepted by everyone!
2. Sumo Wrestling – We went to see the Sumo wrestlers in training – they start at 7am and the rules are strict for the wrestlers…and for the spectators also; no talking, no chewing, no moving – in case you distract the concentration of the wrestlers. We watched for an hour, and my goodness they’re so strong; they crouch down opposite each other and then launch forward, each going to the left of the other person’s head, so that they don’t head butt each other. The fight is on, pushing and overpowering each other, until one goes down or is pushed out of the circle. The one that wins stays in the circle, fighting different wrestlers until he loses, and then someone else has a go. It was exhausting to watch – ha!
3. Travel options – We went on the bullet train to Nagoya, super fast, wide and luxurious, lots of room; which was in direct contrast to the normal trains which are very crowded and at rush hour I think they would win for ‘the number of people able to survive in a tube train’ competition! At the other end of the scale, I witnessed a rickshaw jam in Asakusa when an interview of a famous Japanese person in the street meant that the flow of the rickshaws got clogged up – great to see!
4. Temples – are abundant and beautiful, we visited several, and the very best one in our eyes was the one right next door to our hotel, so close in fact that we could hear the monks chanting on and off during the day, and the gongs ‘gonging’. I loved the calm energy in the temple so much that I went there every day and spent some time meditating, or trying to (if it wasn’t easy to go into the zone that day). I got lots of ideas and insights on different things, some precious moments experienced there.
5. Tremors – I was in the hotel room one day writing a blog when the window started rattling. I thought it was the wind so stopped typing and looked out of the window. Then I felt the whole room shaking, and realised it was a tremor. OMG – that got me into action as I was still in my PJ’s; I have never taken a shower so fast in my life, thinking I might need to get out fast. What a bizarre reaction, I thought to myself later. ‘Is that a tremor, oh goodness, better wash my hair then…’
While I was showering, I thought about what I would do if I couldn’t get down from the tenth floor, and my plan was to get in the bath and cover myself with the coffee table! I was quite pleased with that idea! Ok… so what would you have done?
Garry was in a car when it happened, out with a technician and he thought there must be too much oil in the van which was making it sway from side to side, until the technician explained. We found out later that it measured 4 on the richter scale.
So, another fantastic life experience, and now back to Melbourne for a few more weeks, before coming home to good old Blighty.
Do post a comment to let me know of any stories you have to share about a travel experience!