Friday, July 24, 2015

Japan 2015 Day 16: Teien Museum and Daien-ji

Charlie had checked-out a different bakery for breakfast yummies, so I had to photograph them, of course.

We had already started eating the delicious fruit muffin, and Charlie & Brendan had chocolate croissants, while Charlie had chosen the very interesting melon pan at the bottom of the photo for me. I couldn't imagine what the white things were... turns out they're sugar cube bits! It was amazing...

Brendan decided to have a quiet day today, & Charlie & I were determined to visit a museum in the Meguro area of Tokyo that we tried to visit 2 years ago, but had been under renovation. Turns out, it was worth the wait.

We hopped a Yamanote line train from Shinjuku station around 11:45 & waited... & waited... & waited... It's very unusual for this to happen because Japanese trains really do run like clockwork. Charlie saw a mention of a delay on the video screen over the door (they sometimes offer English translations) about a "personal injury" delay- yikes! After at least 10 minutes the train got moving, & it was about a 10 minute ride to Meguro station.

It was nearly 12:30 by then, so we looked for a place for lunch. We ended up at a family restaurant-style cafe called "Gusto". It had a non-smoking section-woot! Charlie ordered the beef omurice set (with soup, salad, & beverage) & I ordered the shrimp Doria set, which also included a jelly dessert.

Omurice is rice fried with vegetables & meat, with a soy sauce & ketchup sauce mixed in, that's covered by a thin omelet, & then covered with another sauce. I make a veggie version at home, with Quorn chicken tenders, so Charlie was interested to try the Japanese, meat version. He liked it.

My shrimp Doria (no idea where "Doria" comes from) was saffron rice smothered with a cheesy cream sauce & a few shrimp, served hot in a gratin dish. I took a handful of lactaid tablets & dug in.

I enjoyed it very much! The jelly dessert was peach, but a very different texture from jello. It was gooey bits of yummy floating in yummy juice. Charlie tried to eat some, but was put-off by the texture. I liked it though :)

Then we were off the the Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum. The museum is housed in an art deco building that was built in the early 1930's by Emperor Hirohito's uncle, Prince Asaka, who had studied in France & become a great fan of the art deco movement. The home was used as a government guest house after WWII, & then turned into a museum in the early 1980's. It was pretty much completely dismantled starting in 2013 (according to a film of the renovations we saw there) and refurbished. It was amazing. Here are some of the highlights:

Absolutely gorgeous! While we were there a thunderstorm blew in. The rain, thunder, & lightning were impressive. We were worried about getting back to the train station, but the rain let up & we were able to proceed with just the one umbrella we'd brought. I was glad we could keep going because there was a Buddhist temple that Charlie had seen in the guidebook that we wanted to visit as well. It was a little beyond the train station, & the maps were kind of confusing, but we found it tucked between high-rise apartment & office buildings.

The Daien-ji is an Edo-era temple that was destroyed in 1772, in one of the 3 great fires of the Edo period. It was rebuilt in the early 1800's as a memorial to the nearly 15,000 people who were killed in the fire, and also houses statues of Buddha's 500 arhats, or followers. It's a tiny place, but very beautiful.

Even in the middle of a workday, people buzzed in and out. It was a very good example of the Japanese way of worship: not a one-day-a-week affair, but any time the spirit moves you, stop by & say a prayer.

We took the train back to Shinjuku & bought tomorrow's breakfast from the same bakery as today's- woot! Then returned to the hotel & rested by reading more of Terry Pratchett's Masquerade before dinner. We went back to the Italian restaurant we visited before going to Kyoto (remember the hood hood bird?) & ate delicious pizza & side dishes. Then back to our room to finish reading Terry & laugh a lot :)

I can't believe we've only got 2 full days left in Japan! Tomorrow I have to finish my omiyage shopping!

1 comment:

  1. That sounds like a marvelous day! So much to see!