Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sayonara Tokyo

I didn't mention it yesterday, but there's a place in Shibuya where the Japanese like to meet up with friends, it's the statue of Hachi-kou. Hachi-kou is a statue of a dog who waited year after year in that spot for his master to return home. So now, when you want to meet up with someone and hang out in Shibuya or catch a train from there, you meet at that statue. But there are usually so many people there waiting for friends that once you get to the statue you have to call your friend and figure out which side of the statue they're by.

Today is my last day in Japan. I'm sitting in the airport right now (in the business class lounge, oh yeaaaah) and my flight was supposed to leave at 7:30pm but is delayed until 10pm... so I won't get to Beijing until around 1 in the morning. This really sucks.

For my last day, Yuki got me a ticket to go the the Studio Ghibli Museum. You have to buy tickets in advance because it's so popular to go there. You aren't allowed to take pictures inside, but there're all kinds of artwork from the movies and cool animations. They also show an original short that's only shown at the museum. Here's a picture of a wall of the museum, the whole building was really cool, lots of spiral staircases, stained glass, and whimsical things.

At the top of the museum (after you walk up a big wooden spiral staircase covered in ivy) is one of the statues from the movie Castle in the Sky (or Laputa in Japanese, I think)

On my way to Shinjuku to catch the train to the airport I bought some jelly with an Asian/Japanese? plum in the middle. It is a plum even though it looks like a giant olive, it has a pit. There weren't any spoons at the stand where I bought it, so I had to make due.

Oh, Motoko and I walked through a park to get to the museum and when we crossed a bridge there were some paddle boats, regular ones and swan ones. Motoko said there was a jinx on the swan boats and that if a couple rode one together they would end up splitting up. But she said she knew someone who's parents rode it when they were young and ended up getting married. There were huge carp in the lake too, like, longer than my torso and thicker than my thigh... don't know if you can picture that. When we looked over the edge of the bridge at them they swam up to the surface and stuck their mouths up above the water and opened them wide. I wished I'd have had some food to give them. We walked back through a cool alley area (Tokyo has tons of smaller streets with shops lining them, usually on a slight incline)

Motoko also told me that Japanese girls wear their watches with the face on the inside of the wrist, not the outside because it's more elegant to check the time when it's on the inside. Man, there's this guy sitting behind me just full of stories, he's pretty much straddling the line between arrogant and cosmopolitan. He's telling this lady stories about all the places he's been, a lot of them are about China so I'm spying on him. I've got my headphones in though so it looks like I'm not listening.

Alright, I said goodbye to Yuki and her mom and got on the airport express train, the airport is over an hour away from Tokyo. When the train got far enough away and city-scapes turned into rice paddies (ooh, how poetic), the neighborhoods all had houses that looked like this

When I first noticed the houses, I thought it was a temple because the roof was so pretty, but then I saw that there were clothes hanging on a rack on the balcony on the second floor. Pretty much all the houses had that kind of roof. I think the Japanese place a lot of importance on making their surroundings and actions beautiful and graceful.

For example, Yuki showed me the proper way to pick up your chopsticks (this is when I ate the octopus sushi) and drink green tea. You pick them up from the top of your rice bowl with your right hand, then hold them underneath with your left hand while you slide your right to the end of the chopsticks and then back down into place - then eat! Also, you should hold the green tea cup with two hands, one on the side and one underneath.


  1. omg ghibli studio!<3 i is so jealous! too bad you couldnt take pictures though...wah! we shall continue our marathon when we reunite!! love reading your blog homegirl- miss you!

  2. you'll have to teach us all how to eat with chopsticks, the correct way! Man, everything sounds awesome!!!

    Sorry this one and the one about the drink story are Alex T : )