Saturday, July 9, 2011

Japan Day 13 (July 9): Parasites, Chinese food, & Fujisan, Oh My!

The Yoda Building- seen on our travels today :)

We slept in a bit this morning, thanks to moving Brendan’s air bed into the bedroom we’re in, since the living room where he slept the first night has no curtains at all, & the sun rises these days at 4:30 am... After an absolutely decadent breakfast of Starbucks Via instant coffee (with soy milk), baumkuchen, & a belgian waffle pastry from the conbini, we headed out around 10:30 for the Meguro area of Tokyo. The main attraction of Meguro is something Charlie has been dying to see since we first came to Japan 4 years ago- the Meguro Parasitological Museum! All of the other times we’ve been in Tokyo we just weren’t staying in the right part of town to get there easily, but it happened to be just about 4 subway stops away from our nearby Shiba Koen station. Whee! Brendan & I were not interested in the parasitological museum (wonder why...) but we thought we might stop by a nearby shrine to hang out & wait for Charlie. 
Tein National Art Museum
There was another place that we’d wanted to visit on the way to the museum, the Teien National Art Museum, which is housed in a 1930’s era, Art Deco mansion of one of the Meiji -era princes. It wasn’t too hard to find, after getting off the subway, although it was very hot & sunny in Tokyo today, so the walking was tougher than usual. When we got to the Teien, it was unexpectedly closed :( Charlie looked later on the internet & discovered that they are in the middle of installing a new exhibition, so the closing wasn’t scheduled. We paid to visit the garden though & Charlie got some nice pictures of the house, so it was worth stopping by.
By now we’d been out in the hot sun for over half an hour, & after 10 more minutes walking toward the museum I was wiped out. We were close to the Meguro subway station, so Brendan & I decided to head home & look for some lunch on the way, while Charlie continued his pilgrimage :)

 My head was kind of fuzzy, & the very easy to follow signs became completely unhelpful once we got through the train gates, but I asked for directions & we finally found ourselves in the right place. We waited about 10 minutes for the right train & it was just another 10 minutes & we were out of the subway & looking for lunch at a nearby conbini. I found a tuna onigiri & pickles (Japanese ones are salty rather than vinegary, almost like a salad).

 Brendan found zaru soba (cold noodles that you dip in cold broth- yummy & summery). We went home & ate, & then just hung out & rested. 
Brendan's shirt says "Shoyu is Japanese Soul" & it gets him interesting looks from folks here...
Charlie came home & have his own conbini lunch about an hour later, very happy with his museum visit. He said the place was small, started by a physician about 100 years ago, & we didn’t let him go into any detail about the exhibits :) We all hung out & rested for the rest of the afternoon- played games, read our new manga, & I finished the socks I started the day before we left home (my airplane knitting project).

 Around 5:00 we headed out again to walk around our neighbourhood & visit the Zoujouji temple again to buy omamori. 
This tree, at the Zoujouji, was planted by Ulysses S. Grant in 1879!

We got there too late to buy omamori but in time to attend the last bit of the evening service. The chanting & incense were very beautiful & we felt really fortunate to have been there in time for it. Afterward, we walked around in search of dinner & found a Chinese place that looked like it had something everyone could eat. It did! It was mega-yummy & Brendan nearly licked his plate, he enjoyed his veggie dish so much. Charlie had fried scallops & I had a noodle soup with shrimp & veggies. 

(After taking a picture of my meal, Charlie commented that my blog should be renamed “Eating our way across Japan...). On the way home from the restaurant we hit the conbini for some bread so we can have toast & Momo’s home-made marmalade for breakfast tomorrow. The Tokyo Tower was all lit up & looked so pretty...
As we were riding up the elevator to our apartment, we looked out the window & saw what looked like an interesting cloud formation behind some tall buildings in the distance... then realised it wasn’t a cloud formation. It was Mt. Fuji!!! In 3 visits to Japan, this was the first time we’d seen Fuji-san with our own eyes. Serendipity, for sure. 
That lump in the middle is not a cloud! 
When we got back to the apartment there was an email from Momo with our meeting place for tomorrow’s adventure- we’re going to a kimono flea market at a temple near the Marunouchi area of Tokyo. Charlie & Brendan will probably visit a couple of art museums while we shop, then we’ll meet for lunch. I am psyched!

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