Sorry for late posting, Nikko yesterday was so good and the ryokan place I stayed at left me little time to write. I aim to get a post up every other day from this point on not to rush myself.
Just wanted to give a short message at the start to apologise for using the term jap in earlier posts 😥.
I was informed today of its insensitive nature. It relates to it being used negativity during ww2 by allied States.
I had never realised it was an offensive term til someone on Facebook informed me today. Since this term gets used a lot on the Internet and I had always thought it was a harmless word. I have been corrected on that now.
From this point I will make all effort to avoid using the term. I hope I haven’t offended anyone using the term and it was not my intention to offend. I have also corrected the use of the word in earlier blog posts.
Now onto my post for my first group tour day.
Weather was cloudy today and some spitting drizzle weather later on. But it wasn’t too cold or wet. Just grey overall 😕.
We started at 9:am in Asakusa where we are based at. Since I was here in 2010 the area has changed quite a bit. As from the picture from my room can show you. Not just the Tokyo skytree.
A few new buildings have come up as well since I last came here and the place does look renovated now.
We then went down to where the river is near the Asashi brewery. It’s the building with the golden looking sperm.
Once there we got there. The sumida river ride that takes you down to the Hama-rikyu gardens that is across from where the rainbow bridge is.
Now I had done these experiences before in my first tour of Japan. But doing them again and seeing the beautiful gardens especially is a nice touch. Plus it allowed me to tell the other members of the group of the gardens and other little tips I know.
Got some late Sakura bloomers 😃.
Which is always nice.
We then went to the teahouse for some green tea. They served it with the wagashi sweets that I had a lesson on In the last blog post. This allowed me to mention to a few of the group members of what I learnt yesterday.
But Steve our glorious leader gave good insight to it as well that I had learnt as well.
Once we had finished seeing the gardens we made our way by taxi to the nearest train station in order to head to the Ueno market to check it out and have lunch.
I had a meal at a local place with tempura (fried) prawn with some rice. It was gorgeous forgit how much I love tempura food in Japan.
Then once lunch was done, Steve had to leave us to sort out jr rail passes, so we had the services of a guide named Chida I believe, meaning the word of wisdom in Japanese.
Who took us on a bus tour around Tokyo city. So we through akihabara, pass the imperial palace (only got to see the outer moat and trees 😩). As we made out way to the Meji Shrine. Another place that I have visited before.
Where Chida told the group all about how Japan uses Shintoism and Buddhism in there lives and how Japanese weddings can go down. There’s an old saying in japan of how your born a Shinto, wed as a Christian and die a Buddhist I believe is how the saying goes.
So we made our way up to the shrine and we got the lucky opportunity to witness a full Shinto wedding ceremony happening.
This is the photo I got of it at the shrine.
The Meji shrine is you can guess the shrine dedicated to the first Meji emperor that came to power in the late nineteenth century (around 1868) when the whole samurai feudal system was abolished and the emperor was put into power.
I didn’t take any pictures of it on Sunday due to having been there before and the inside again having a no camera policy.
The guide went on about how it stands out as a Shinto/Buddhist shrine. How you can tell a Shinto prayer place from a Buddhist one. Along with showing how to pray for a Shinto shrine. You throw a coin, bow twice, clap your hands together twice and then bow again.!
For a Buddhist temple it is if I can remember just bow once. Way to tell a Shinto shrine from a Buddhist temple is looking at the tori gates, usually big red looking objects you see near shrines. They can help tell you if the shrine or temple is Shinto, Buddhist or if your at nikko both.
Afterwards our guide gave us some interesting facts about Japan that I knew already. But for the less experienced visitors were very interesting facts. Namely that Japan’s land is made up of 70% of hills and mountains (though I remember reading an article saying it was 83% but the specifics of it all is subject to analysis).
How around one in five Japanese are over 60 and if the current trend continues it will be 1 in 3 Within the next 30 years. I hope Japan can find a way to deal with this issue. Since it has been causing them trouble for a few years now. Since a state can only handle so much in costs relating to it. Britain has this as a future issue as well. I imagine I will be working til I die simply cause more people will live to an old age and less young people are around to pay for a pension and to keep the system going.
Japan in the future may have to expand their very limited immigration system that they rely on to bring in people from the Philippines, China, Korea and Brazil in order to have some young people to care for the elderly and fund costs etc. but immigration as I know from Britain’s long debate around it has shown no easy solution is in sight.
Ok that’s enough on that.
Once Meji shrine was done we went back to the hotel and parted ways with the guide and the group for the evening. Own dinner that night and I just grabbed something from the local dining area. Just some noodles and fried food and went back to my room to write up my blog for the pervious day.
Okay that’s it is time. Sorry it has been as detailed, pictured and interesting as my last one but today was a much more quiet day and less interesting for me overall to write up on all that much.
Next blog post will be my visit to Nikko and staying in a Ryokan. That will be most fun😃.
Oli simpson 88.