I haven’t yet posted photos from our day of touring Tokyo (or rather a tiny fraction of Tokyo) because of lack of time and energy. It was actually one of the most photo-heavy days in Japan; I took over 270 pictures that day. Here are a few of them. You may want to refer back to my first post about that day.
Here’s the view from our hotel room window:
Some shots from the grounds of the Imperial Palace:
Photos from the Meiji Shrine, starting with the tori on the way in:
The fountain [? maybe not the right word] for purifying yourself before entering the shrine. There is a specific series of steps for doing this:
Scoop up some water with a ladle held in your right hand, pour some of it over your left hand.
Transfer the ladle to your left hand, pour some of the water over your right hand.
Change hands again, pour some water into your cupped left hand. Use that water to rinese out your mouth, not swallowing it.
Rinse the handle of the ladle by holding it almost vertically, cup end upwards.
We saw two weddings being conducted in the traditional manner by Shinto priests. Actually we didn’t see the ceremonies themselves, just one of the processions and the lengthy preparations for the group photos.
The shrine itself. This isn’t a particularly good photo but our guide told me that it’s a no-no to take photos directly front and center in a shrine. The low boxes in the foreground are for tossing coins for offerings. The process here is: throw a coin, bow twice, clap your hands twice (with the left fingers extending slightly beyond those of the right, for reasons I’ve now forgotten), pray, bow again.
Oddly enough, Tamae-san said it was not rude to take pictures of the priest attending the shrine, and insisted that she take our photo with him:
This is a poem near a bend in the path on the way to the shrine. Tracie asked what it said and Tamae-san’s reply provided a brief insight into the complexities of translating written Japanese. She said that the poem itself was written in an old style that she could not read. Next to the poem is a translation into modern text, but even that was complicated enough that she wasn’t able to express it in English (and her English was quite good).
Here’s what I had for lunch: sashimi in the center, miso soup on the right, chopped and pickled vegetables on the left. Re small cup with green leaves is a custard-like dish. I wasn’t wild about it but than I don’t much like custard in general, so custard with leaves and corn didn’t do much for me. The white slices on the plate of fish are octopus, which was quite good.
Our guide, Tamae-san. she was delightful. If you ever need a guide in Tokyo, drop me a note and I’ll send you her contact info.
The two-fingered gesture is something that Japanese women younger than about 55 will flash more often than not when in front of a camera. I don’t know whether or not it’s a direct dean dirt of the 1960s-American “peace” gesture.
A couple of shots from the boat we took to see the cherry blossoms. It was neat to see how many Japanese, of all ages, were taking boat rides for just this event. Our guide in Kyoto told us that “it is impossible for the Japanese to separate ourselves from the cherry blossom.” I thought it was a lovely thing to say.
The Kaminarimon Gate, entrance to the shopping area of Asakusa:
The huge incense burner in front of the Senso-ji Temple. Those light-colored objects are entire bundles of sticks burning at once. The smoke is said to have curative powers if applied to an ailing part of the body.
Tracie and Tamae learning their fortunes. We all received rather bad fortunes but Tamae-san said that this temple’s fortunes tend to be negative.
The Niten-mon Gate, the oldest structure in this area:
Sunset seen from our hotel room, Mt. Fuji visible in the distance: