Sunday, June 3, 2012

Friday, April 20 - Tokyo

We planned on getting an early start to the day because we wanted to see the Tsukiji fish market. Apparently it is best to go there early. Now, it is important to note that this market is not like Pike Place. Pike Place is essentially a farmers' market, Tsukiji is a wholesalers market. What this means is it is many times larger than Pike Place and filled with worker darting around on electric carts. You have to watch where you're going. Liz got pretty nervous at times about crossing streets because of all the traffic. We saw all sorts of sea creatures for sale, even some that resembled geoduck (not sure if they were or not...for geoduck they were kind of small).

They're like blossoms! Octo-blossoms!

It's a bit crazier than pike place.

Northwesterners reunion

Our next stop was Mitaka, home of the studio Ghibli museum. We rode a JR train to get there, including a transfer at the mighty Shinjuku station, which is the world's busiest train station. Mitaka is nice and quiet. We walked to the museum, where the ticket sales office was staffed by a totoro. The best word to describe the museum is magical. There are all sorts of interesting nooks and crannies. You do not follow any kind of set path, and there are no guided tours. My favorite room was one that showed all kindfs of animations in action, including the center piece which spun a display around to a strobe light. The light made the figurines appear to be alive, and jumping rope, flying, or doing whatever it is they do in the movie. Naturally, it was from My Neighbor Totoro. There was a cat-bus for kids to play in (I was more than a little jealous that I couldn't play on it myself), and a robot from Castle in the Sky on the roof for photo opportunities. The inside features all kinds of stairways and bridges leading to various places, and you just have to follow them to find out where they go. I bought a mini-puzzle and frame at the gift shop.

The entry

In a perfect world, you would pay in acorns

Unfortunately you can't take photos inside

Castle in the Sky!

Before we left, we had lunch at a pub-style restaurant in Mitaka. Mine was some sort of noodle soup with tempura veggies on top. Liz had a soup with some sort of egg topping to it. We returned to our hotel and took an extended break at this point.

In the evening, we rode the Hibiya subway line from our hotel to the LDS temple. We got there early enough to look around and eat at the cafeteria. The temple itself is similar in appearance to the Seattle temple, but smaller. The grounds are also tiny. There is not as much room here for a large temple ground, but they did well with the space they had. There was even a Shinto-style stone lantern near the entry. Now, the Japanese love their vending machines, and even the temple had them. They were used to get tickets for food and temple clothes. We had curry rice for dinner and got some ice cream for dessert. I also had a root beer, because why not?

Tokyo Temple

As you can see, the grounds are quite small

The ordinance room and celestial room are strikingly similar to those of the Seattle temple. Even though we were in the English session, most of the temple patrons were Japanese. Liz and I were the witness couple as well. After the session, we returned to our hotel and promptly went to bed.

Kirin and a rice ball. What could be sexier?