Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Meiji Shrine, Harajuku, and Noriko-san
The view from our room.
Koi in the fish pond behind the hotel.
Our hotel's garden.
We have begun our Japan adventure. The trip was long, but fine. The only challenge was that posed by a strong-willed 4-year-old who announced that she would not sleep or rest, and was true to her word. She behaved great, entertaining herself, but would not close her eyes (or her mouth) for 20 hours straight.
In any case, we arrived at our hotel on Tuesday night and were very pleasantly surprised. Our room is large by any standards, with a great view and a good location. We also have access to the "relaxation" floor, with the Slow Gym, a sento, and a wonderful Japanese garden outside.
The first day of our trip we were met by Noriko-san, the guide I mentioned previously. She helped us find a much-needed breakfast (miso soup, salmon, rice, pickled radish, udon) and then were were off on our first Tokyo train adventure. We visited the Harajuku area, where teenage punk fashion rules (and where Anna wanted to go in every store) and then walked to the Meiji Shrine.
We were very fortunate: not only was it gorgeous out, but we got to see two weddings, several children celebrating their 3-5-7 ceremonies, and babies being blessed on their 100th day of life. There was also a display of many varieties of Chrysanthemums, a flower which is incorporated into the design of the shrine gates
Unfortunately, our day was complicated a bit by the effects of jet-lag on little Miss, so we ended our first day with a nap and then a quick tempura dinner at a shopping complex near the hotel. Not sure what today will bring. We've all been up since 3:45am (I'm writing this at 6:45). Stay tuned.
Anna and Noriko-san outside the Meiji Shrine.
Washing hands and mouth before entering the shrine.
The shrine itself.
A moment of diversion with hat frisbee.
The face of jet-lag.