Sunday, May 22, 2005

Tokyo-Edo Museum

Today we went to the Tokyo-Edo museum, which covers about 400 or so years of Japanese history and gives a fascinating picture of how Japanese society has evolved into the way it is today, specifically Tokyo society.

It also has tons of amazingly detailed models of street scenes and such, filled with little 1.5 inch people. They have binoculars so you can look at the huge models up close, and you realize all the people are engaged in specific activities or reacting to each other, like a Where's Waldo picture. Absolutely incredible. Oh, and it helps bring each time period to life, too.

The museum did seem to gloss over the reasons for Japan's involvement in World War II. Apparently some "incident" in China, then another "incident," and they were at war. Later on, the US air raids started, for no particular reason.

The idea today was to take it easy, but while there was less walking at the museum, there was still a lot of time on our feet and Stephanie wasn't always up to it. She eventually got tired and there was so much to see it was hard to see it all in detail.

We had lunch in a restaurant on top of the museum and I got sashimi. One of the kinds of sashimi were little squids, whole. I ate them. They weren't bad.

The museum itself is entirely suspended in the air. Ground level is a big open area and the rest of the building is propped up several stories above you.

We took a taxi back. Our first time in a car on Tokyo streets. Much more fast and convenient than the subway. And it was the perfect distance to try a cab; not so far that it's expensive, not so close that it's pointless.

Tonight we're meeting Stephanie's friend Marcel in Shibuya for dinner and drinks, and supposedly some kind of party. This will be our first, and likely only, taste of anything resembling nightlife. Stephanie is taking a rest right now but it's doubtful how long she'll hold out tonight.

Speaking of parties, that festival here in Asakusa was raging this morning. The streets were blocked off and filled with people, with more pouring in from the subways every second. I don't know why, they were still just carrying the shrines around and chanting. You'd think they'd get tired of that after a few days.

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