Sightseeing exploits, etc.
Well, catch up time. Here's how I feel about you all:
Although, obviously this could be referring to anything. Take it as a gift from me to you though.
The weekend before last, my friend Nikki, who used to live in Japan, but left four months ago came back to see her maaan. And happily see us too, which was so nice, as there are too few female teachers here and Nikki left a huge hole by going. But anyway... two nights earlier I'd been out for the normal Wednesday night quick drink(athon) / karaoke sesh.
Let's just say on Thursday and Friday I had MAJOR liver and kidney ache. Not fun. Which meant I had no booze when I saw Nikki on the Friday or Saturday. This made it somewhat ironic really that I should then be spending half the night up throwing up (etc) and burning a fever. A touch of food poisoning from the pub food maybe? It wasn't fun anyway and left me wiped out by the Sunday. It was raining heavily so I didn't sacrifice too much by not getting out of bed all day.
On the Monday though I was back to normal (for me anyway!) and went with my friend / student to KAWAGOE - a really cool city very close to Tokyo and a really nice way to spend half a day. Good ramen there too! We wandered around visiting temples, shrines and looking at old wooden buildings and blossom.
This little bridge was outside one of the shrines, as was the next picture in the same garden as the bridge. Very pretty:
Outside the shrines is a small area with 523 carved gnomes representing Buddha's disciples. Each one is different and, it's said, if you touch them at night, you'll find one that's warmer than the others. If you remember where it was and go back the next day, it'll be the one that looks most like you. Kind of scary really, isn't it?
The gnome/disciples are sitting, standing and reclining. Some are happy, others sad or angry. I found them really amusing though and here's some of them.
The first one has a pig - there's one for each of the 12 Chinese horoscopes and I walked my friend around for a long time searching for this one!
I loved these two. Don't they look they're sharing a secret?
These two just look bored:
Here's a picture of them, en masse:
This was the kind of display they had. We didn't buy anything though.
Other buildings we saw in Kawagoe looked like this:
And here's a fire / bell-tower. Big, isn't it?!
And here's a horrible little dog we saw outside a food stall. It had a 'don't approach, I bite' sign above it. As IF I'd have been tempted to approach it!
March 3rd is Hinamatsuri, a doll's festival to celebrate girls and pray for their growth and happiness. We passed a shop full of the dolls and I wanted to go in (and take photos), but my Japanese friend said they don't like people going in and just looking. I'll go to another shop another time, without my Japanese friend and take some photos. Here's a couple from the shop window though of the kinds of displays people have in their houses - and most Japanese seem to have these dolls (13 of them normally, I think).
Anyway, the dolls are very precious and special and passed from generation to generation. These are the ones I blogged about a while ago that have special blessed cremation ceremonies at shrines when people get rid of them:
And that was Kawagoe. Very clean, peaceful, interesting and easy to get to. Oh and then there were these. Note evil dark clothed masked gangsta type on scooter attacking poor white clothed overweight obasan? It's not clear if her bag is Louis Vuitton, or not:
For anyone who watches 'Lost', this made me laugh. In case you were wondering, this is where they hide:
This cute (what else) octopus was outside a (guess where?) octopus shop, about to cook himself or something:
And the sign of the day that had me giggling like a 12-year old schoolboy (and I could explain about the sign, but I won't) was this:
Then, this weekend, we had a school holiday on Friday and Saturday which meant, with my normal days off of Sunday and Monday, that it's been a four day break for me.
Then we went and drank with more friends. Rather a lot actually!
Saturday I was a bit tired so slept most of the day. Saturday night went out for a couple of hours.
Sunday met up with a friend for sushi breakfast. Most of the food came on kid plates and you could enter a plate lottery at the end to win a prize. We didn't win. I was very upset:
Then we went to Kogenai Park open air Edo Museum (site in Japanese, but click for pictures) which I'd visited half of a couple of years ago. There's lots of reconstructed Edo shops and houses in a nice peaceful setting. Well, apart from the kids!
I didn't take any pictures, because I did last trip (probably somewhere on this blog!) But I did see an old tree that was full of rot. The texture was beautiful though:
There's a chain of discount store here called 'Don Quixote'. It's full of everything you don't want and a few things you might. The quality can be cack, but it's an amusing place to go to. Amongst the many amusing things we saw yesterday was this delightful fancy dress costume. Tres Matthew Bourne, n'est pas? But camper.
Here's the package from the reverse [giggless]:
And finally, one of my favourite signs, in Tanashi, that I've been meaning to post for ages:
I've not been there yet for a DININIG experience, but I may have to!