Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Japan 2011- Day 1.5 part 2: Jet-lagged But Doing Stuff Anyway

Hi again! We went out exploring in the morning & found a Starbucks really close where we had some breakfast. Then we visited the Tokyu Hands (not Tokyo Hands, as I've been writing it) store right across the way. It's huge & has lots of cools stuff- we only saw 2 of the 8 floors & it took most of an hour...

In the afternoon our good friend Momo came to see us today, & in spite of being very jet-lagged we had a fun visit with her. Top picture is Brendan after a lovely tempura lunch across the street from our hotel in the Takashimaya Department store, plus Pikachu, posing with dad's ginger ale bottle. It was very strong ginger ale (more like ginger beer) & we all had to have a sip :D
After lunch we took the Yamanote Line train from Shinjuku Station a couple stops to Harajuku to go to the Meiji Jingu (shrine) which is associated with the Meiji Emperor. We'd visited Harajuku during our last trip 2 years ago, on a very busy Sunday afternoon & appreciated how much less crowded it was on a Tuesday afternoon.
Here are a tiny Charlie, Brendan, & Momo at the first Torii gate of the Meiji Jingu. The imperial golden chrysanthemum, symbol of the emperor, is seen all over the place, here at the top of the torii gate.
And a close-up of me, Brendan, & Momo at the foot of one of the gates- they're really huge!
There was a nice, relatively cooler (it was hot & sunny & humid today) walk to the shrine down a wide, tree-lined street. It smelled peppery, which we decided must be from the cedar trees that lined the road.
The shrine itself is beautiful in an austere way. I always love to see the trees with the paper streamers that show a tree where the Kami (Gods) reside. We put go-en (5 yen) coins in the box & said prayers before looking around the shrine.
Brendan decided to make a special prayer, for the healing of Japan after the earthquake, which he wrote in hiragana on a special board that you can buy, then it's hung near one of the sacred trees & the priests send the wishes to the resident gods.
I love collecting omamori when we visit shrines, so I got 2 of them at the Meiji Jingu. Omamori are good-luck charms that are an important part of Japanese life. They deflect bad luck from the bearer & are made for specific purposes, often from beautiful brocade fabrics. Lucky Pikachu!

After visiting the shrine, we went to the hyaku-en store (dollar store) in Harajuku. They are much nicer than the ones we have in the US!
I got all this (mostly bentou-making equipment) for 525 yen (~ $6.00). Pikachu was pleased...

Momo left before dinner time, so we rested & then went across to the Takashimaya Department store, which has a grocery store plus specialty food kiosks in the basement.
Here is dinner! Sushi, korroke (potato croquets), goodies, & beverages, including CC Lemon & ramune. Pikachu was very pleased... :)

And then Brendan fell into bed around 7:30 pm!  Charlie showered & went to be while I was writing this, & I'm following him as soon as this is posted. Can't wait to get over this jet-lag!!! However, I'm noticing that it's much easier (& fun) to communicate with people than it's ever been before, even with the jet-lag. Hooray!

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