Yahooooo!! Woke to another earthquake! What better way to start the day than the Earth itself tearing up the dance floor!?
Alright, we’re up already! A short breakfast and a quick decision to take a stroll in some lovely gardens that Josh discovered a few days ago. It was so gorgeous there, and we saw a woman dressed in beautiful traditional styled clothing – looked like she was getting married. Everything is so perfectly manicured and placed in such a way that is harmonious with nature here. We wandered up some steps and our eyes were gifted once again. A beautiful temple lay before us, empty, well groomed gravel in the court yard. We quietly edged our way in to take in the details of this marvellous structure. Hey we got some pics too!
Feeling all fresh and enthusiastic to explore more corners of this mysterious city we went on back to our cosy little basecamp to meet up with everyone and head off on the train to Yanaka – the cat district! Meow. We didn’t really know what to expect but as soon as we got out of the station ended up in the cemetery haha. It wasn’t like the normal cemeteries everyone had in their mind though. This place was a work of art. Filled with beautifully kept trees in wondrous forms, petrified wood lining some of the graves, a lovely pathway with every tile placed mindfully. Walking through this morning lit magic gave everyone a feeling of life and beauty. We met an old lady there cleaning one of the graves. One of the things we’ve noticed about the Japanese people is that they are so friendly, and love having a chat. She said that her husband had died two years ago and that she goes to the grave every month on the same day, the 23rd. She said she was here on the 22nd today because her family was coming to visit tomorrow and she wouldn’t be able to come. It definitely brought up some emotions and a grateful awareness that nothing is permanent. Mono no aware is a phrase the Japanese people live by. It translates to “the pathos of things” or “an empathy toward things” and means an awareness of impermanence or transience of things, and both a transient gentle sadness (or wistfulness) at their passing as well as a longer, deeper gentle sadness about this state being the reality of life. It was also beautiful how she was keeping the grave so clean and burning the incense with fresh flowers. We saw some cats in the cemetery and they were pretty cute. We both think the cats were the guardians of the cemetery! Not so much to keep the mice out, but to keep the deep sleepers entertained as the furry rascals pounce around their giant playground.
Isn’t that yellow leafed tree just spectacular!!? Standing under this elderly giant was a treat. I tell you what, there is not much about this trip that didn’t leave a dent in our memory. I am very grateful to have experienced what we here. You know, all the time we were cruising around the grave stone maze, we had been blinded unknowingly to an incredible buddhist temple! It only occurred to us on the way back to the train where we saw this pathway leading to a magnificent statue of Buddha. Enter we did! Now there is a traditional looking building! I thought ninjas and samurais were going to spring out of the trees and windows of this place. It was like stepping back in time. Hey relax, the pics will come, just a bit more reading okay? Okay we took this slow even though our hearts were racing. Maybe we spent about 2 minutes marvelling at this large statue of Buddha that towered well over the trees and seemed to be very well kept. Time to visit that temple. No shoes! Lucky there is no crime around here, not that anyone would want to steal the shoes I have probably worn for over 300,000 steps since arriving in this country. Wowee, you know what. Inside was great but outside was the magic for us. The craft that this culture put into their traditional buildings is one of the most beautiful things for me to experience. We wandered around the building and noticed even the gutters from the roof are designed to flow down into a vertical hanging structure of cups. Can’t wait to see these in action! Just discovered they are called Japanese Rain Chains. Yep, really beautiful. Alright, you’ve done well, here are the photos.
What? Another cat? Just kidding!
Alright, I guess we should let these cats get back to grooming some more! Lets go to Ginza street – the shopping street that had many shops with cat paraphernalia. It was wonderful! We were in cat heaven. The shops also sold other things – so for the non cat lovers out there, it is still worth a visit!
After Yanaka we headed to Akihabara – the technology district. Not for technology, but for lunch. There is a quaint little buddhist cafe there that we ate at and got a set meal. Not the best meal we’ve had, but not too bad. We also tried a weird drink there that I wasn’t so keen on, but seemed to match Josh’s taste buds nicely.
Time for a bit of Tokyu Hands store explorer questing. What a store! Eight levels of whatever you can think of. Near the top was a craft and stationary section that we spent most of our time in. The coolest paper and cute things are in Japan. We stocked up on gifts here mostly.
A few yawns were hinting us in the direction of base camp to rest up before a night out to eat in the posh and expensive district of Ginza. It seemed like what New York is like.
We wanted to go to the new Ain Soph Ginza but they had a private function on so we couldn’t get in. They recommended an Indian restaurant we go to instead called Naranaj. We went there. The meal was pricey but nicey. Then off we went to Starbucks for our nightly soy hot chocolate.
The hot chocolate definitely prepares the body for slumber after a huge day. It wasn’t until after midnight before our bodies dropped into dreams. See you next time!