Saturday, April 30, 2011

Tokyo reflections.

It seems such a short time ago that I got off the plane at Kansai International Airport and made my way into Kyoto (It was 17 days) and now here I am in Tokyo blogging for the last time in Japan, a country that poses more questions than answers. A culture that is unique, a land stricken recently by disaster. But to be honest, the places I have been don't show that. Life goes on here even in Tokyo.
The national holiday week 'Golden Week' has started here, and many people are out of Tokyo at this time, preferring to go further south. So Tokyo is a bit strange. I visited Ginza today - a main shopping district. This city has so many districts, big buildings, it never seems to end. I then walked through one of the main parks of Tokyo past the Imperial Palace and its gardens.

A building at the Imrperial Palace Gardens

A street in Ginza
 Yesterday I visited a couple of museums, including the Tokyo National Museum. I usually find excessive pottery works boring, but this wasn't too bad. Some of the information was really interesting.
At the Meiji Shrine
 My first day in Tokyo was spent visiting the Meiji Shrine and Gardens surrounding said shrine. A nice peaceful place in the heart of Tokyo, it wasn't as interesting as some of the shrines in other parts of the country, but still worth visiting. The parks here are huge, and some of the wooden gates are certainly grand. The buildings in Tokyo are also fairly darned big! It's a modern city which still has roots in the past and in nature. But then, it is not your average capital city...
Wall advertisements, Akihabara
 If you are into gaming, if you are into Manga or the Otaru culture, then head to Akihabara. This district is a fascinating walk into another world. Here you can find 'Maid Cafes', where young girls dress and act as servants and treat the customers as 'Masters'. What can I make of this? I'm not sure. I fully intended to visit one of the cafes but when I saw the girls in the streets giving out flyers I changed my mind. They seemed very young and there seemed something not quite right about the whole thing. There are some places that have performances, and others where the maids deliberately abuse the customers. Elsewhere in Tokyo there are 'butler' cafes I believe too, so presumably they do the biddings of the 'Mistresses'
Cool Old Dude? Akihabara
SO tomorrow I leave to head to Hong Kong. I leave Japan every bit as bemused as when I arrived in Kyoto on the 14th. Tokyo is very different from the rest of Japan, perhaps not as friendly, but that is a big city mentality that can be found over the world.
I've met some great people here and wish I could have spent more time with them. An ENIGMA- I think this is a good word for Japan. It seems like I stopped for Japan and now resume my trip in Hong Kong.
What will China bring???

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