My feet screaming.
My soul soaring with thanks. It’s been quite a day of new experiences in Tokyo, most of it related to food adventures.
|Out of the way|
|The Fish market in action|
|On the Bridge|
There is plenty of market outside the facility as well, where we passed vegetables, herbs, fruit, fish cakes, tamago (egg omelets), and strange comestibles of every shape and odor. As we strolled, samples were offered. One man had a sack of candied walnuts mixed with tiny almost not there fish - all I could see was this eye looking at me - but I braved it and was sorry for a few hours. We also tried some of the many flavors of tamago, some with spinach, others with carrot and peppers, others with sweet things.
After this, we needed to visit the calm and peace of a Japanese garden, where even large pines are pruned and directed so they become, if you could say so, a large bonsai in the ground. (A bonsai is a tree in a container that is being controlled to stay miniature.) In the Hama-rikyu Gardens right in the middle of modern skyscrapers, the family garden of Tokugawa Shogun, there is a seawater pond, tea houses for resting, the spot where shoguns once boarded ships, peony gardens, pruned azalea shrubs covered in controlled pink flowers, wisteria trellis, bridges made of cedar upon which one must have the proverbial photo; a kamoba trench where shoguns with hawks hunted duck; and a 300 year old tree whose heavy branches wander in all directions and had to be propped up over the years.
|300 year old tree|
|tamago for sale|
The next big thing was to visit Mitsukoshi Department Store Nihonbashi. It is the oldest, largest store in Japan, equal in quality and size to Harrods of London (in fact, in the food section there is a mini sampling of Harrods food products.) But, WOW! This place started as a kimono shop in 1673. The best of the best are housed here, not only in clothes, but in food. What else could one want?
We started at the 4th floor (there were more, but this was a good place) to see the kimono section - amazing embroidered silk fabrics with price tags beyond belief. Actually, on display was a man’s blue kimono for sale for 30,000 US Dollars. Yep. That’s what I said. This was not unusual. I didn’t even get close to a lady’s kimono, but wandered around admiring the extraordinary needlework. All the sales ladies in this store were amazing, and I did stop by Issey Miyaki’s boutique, an old favorite from my fashion editor days. Miyaki and Yoijo Yamamoto were two of the three original Japanese fashion designers to break into the tight world of New York designers back in the 1970s. (He is a year older than me.) I wanted to see the products of today’s young designers of Japan, but didn’t get much response.
|30,000 man's kimono|
|Cantelope for $225|
When we finally rolled out of this food paradise, we headed for a much needed visit to a temple to give thanks for our trip so far. The most populated Buddhist temple is Sensoji in Asakusa zone. It was packed with high school kids in uniforms like sailor shirts. Here all the kitch of worship and souvenirs are unleashed to those willing to buy once you pass through the giant red bells painted with black Japanese words. We entered through Thunder gate to walk the shopping street to the actual temple. A five story building on the left (five layers representing earth, fire, water, wind, sky) is said to be where Buddha’s ashes are preserved. No one goes there. Two giant flipflops made from thick rope (I mean giant, like 10 feet tall) were hung on either side of an arched wall to scare off invaders who would fear that behind the entrance someone that big was waiting to jump them.
|Fortune Telling Time|