Hopefully the final part to this last journal entry…
Then, to Asakusa temple. This place was as bad if not worse then Disney with a population in one spot. We were barely able to navigate through the crowds. But, once we did we saw an impressive looking temple. There was lots of praying and chanting going on inside and lots of coin tossing. We made a donation (after fighting a pushing and shoving crowd) and went away from the temple.
Keiko was kind enough to answer our questions about the arrows. You buy one for your family and it symbolizes good healthfor the year. Next year, you take your arrow to the temple, burn it, and buy a new one. It’s an interesting tradition.
Following the temple visit we went to the Japanese Edo Traditional Crafts museum, which was free. It was very interesting in that almost all crafts were recently made and are for auction. There are live demonstrations & beautiful craftsmanship for a lot of items, many too expensive to buy. They had items ranging from furniture to cooking utensils, Kimono supplies and bands, silver and copper work, paintings, etc. It was a wonderful place place to go to. I only wish I’d had my camera with me.
After the museum we started back, but went down a street that had a plethora of Kimono stores. I had been looking all over Japan (okay, only the places I went) for a Kimono shop and we finally found where they all were. The main thing we were looking for was scraps of material for Kazuko to use for her doll making. At one store, Keiko bought 2 things of scrap material & I bought Melissa an obi. For those who don’t know what an obi is, it is the elaborate wrap that women wear outside of their kimono’s and it typically has a bow you tie in the back. This was a very beautiful black obi that only cost 4000 Yen! There were several beautiful kimono’s in the store, some reasonably priced, some a bit too expensive for us. We went to a couple of other kimono shops and went back to pick up our luggage & go to Keiko’s home.
It was wonderful that Keiko invited us to her home. Her husband is a carpenter and Keiko told me he built their home by himself. I was extremely impressed as he did a fantastic job on it. Her husband had friends over and he made Thai food. There were plenty of leftovers for us to have. They poured us a couple of beers and the fun began. We ate great food, spoke English to one of her friends and Japanese to Keiko’s husband and other friends. By far, that evening is the most memorable and most fun I had the entire trip. Everyone was glad to socialize with us, we had great food & drinks, and were very welcomed there which made both myself & Melissa happy.
Sadly, we had to leave around 19:30 because the last train to Narita Airport was at 8:03PM. But, we would not be travelling alone. One of Keiko’s husband’s friends (who only spoke Japanese) lived in a town along the same line as what we were taking. So, we shared a cab fare to the Shinagawa station and hopped on the hour and 45 minute long train. For most of the ride we made simple conversation with her, such as asking what anime she likes, what movies she likes, etc. We enjoyed our conversation, and when she got off @ Chiba, another Japanese girl who was standing in front of us sat down and started speaking English with us. We found out she was getting married next month and is changing jobs. We didn’t get to talk to her for very long as the next stop was hers, but it was enjoyable as she was very cute & sweet.
We made it out to the airport and caught the shuttle to the Hilton. When we got there we encountered our biggest suprise yet: the upgrade. When we checked in, the woman told me she upgraded our room because we were on our honeymoon. I figued it would be a bigger bed. Not to disappoint, however, it was a suite! A very nice suite at that, with a massive bathroom, a living room, and a king size bed. A 42” LCD in the living room and a 21” in the bedroom. They even gave us fruit, sweets, and a bottle of wine - all on the house. We were living it luxury style. Sadly, we were so tired from the day’s activities that we called it quits and went to bed around 12:30AM.
Well, this entry spanned the duration of my flight, and I will more than likely type up a recap of my experiences rather than write. But, it’s time for landing, so I must conclude. Thanks for reading!