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Tokyo - Day 2

3/30/2012

Still tired, but carried on. Keith wanted to purchase a Fuji Film digital camera, Finepix model HS30EXR at MAP camera in Shinjuku, Shinjuku station being one of the busiest stations in Tokyo. We boarded the JR south and switched trains to JR west. Arriving at Shinjuku station, we were overwhelmed. There were throngs of people moving every direction among exits, gates, escalators and hundreds of steps. There are underground shops and signs, mostly in Japanese directing the masses to more JR trains, metro cars and outside exits. We stopped for breakfast at a tiny sandwich cafe, ate egg sandwiches with fish or meat and sipped coffee.

After breakfast we located the MAP camera store(s) after circling around Shinjuku for awhile. While waiting for the MAP store to open, Keith bought Anne a tiny Kitamura coin purse in the accessories department of the upscale Motomachi Department store. Arriving at the store, extremely well-groomed greeters bow and welcome customers at the entrance (a la Walmart?).

Finally locating the correct floor for the Fuji Film cameras at the MAP store, Peter helped Keith ask the salesman many questions before Keith finally agreed to purchase the Fuji Film Finepix model.

Now we’re off to Asakusa, Tokyo’s old town with its narrow streets and hundreds of quaint shops owned and operated by the same family groups for hundreds of years. We walked through the Kaminarimon Gate, its huge lantern hanging in the middle, effigies of the god of wind on the right and the god of thunder on the left. Strolling along the narrow, winding streets, Peter searched for a noodle restaurant called Namiki Yabusoba and he finally discovered it on Nakamise Dori, its entrance being so unobtrusive that most visitors would mistake it for a private residence. We ordered lunch and were politely served a very hot bowl of noodle soup with fish, meat or just plain. The service was impeccable and we shared a table with some of the locals, but had to eat rapidly because so many people were waiting for a table..

After lunch Keith assembled his new camera at a local Starbucks and we were off on a walking tour of Asakusa. Our first stop was the “Good Luck Wall” where Anne paid a few yen to pull a bamboo stick from a hole in a wooden box and then read the magic number to locate a box with her fortune. Unfortunately, Anne’s fortune portended only fire, brimstone, and disaster so to assuage the gods she must tie her fortune to a wooden & wire rack and then all is well and right with the world.

After passing the incense burner, we visited the Senjo-ji Temple, Japan’s oldest built in the 7th century and now restored and dedicated to Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy. The monks prayed inside the temple and Japanese groups paid many yen to persuade the monks to bless purchases, marriages, pregnancies, etc. Next we sauntered through the Asakusa Jinja Shrine adjacent to Senjo-ji Temple, a Shinto shrine built in 1649.

We walked a mile or so west to the Kappabashi district, the restaurant supply commercial area which sells restaurant goods and services to eateries in Tokyo and beyond. Peter explained Kappabashi means “troll under the bridge,” so Keith photographed several troll statues along the main street.

We took the JR back to Ueno and ate a delicious Yakiniku-style dinner in Uguisudanien district near our hotel, featuring a self-cook barbecue of beef and shrimp dipped in clear marin sauce along with barbecued vegetables. Yummm.

 

Yakiniku Dinner

Our Japan Blog

Kaminarimon Gate

Senjo-ji Temple

Temple Fortune Drawers

Kappabashi Troll