Saturday, May 10, 2008

Japan, First Day

5/09/08, 4:15 am

I've been awake since 3:20--a coughing fit and the impossible-to-shake-off-sense that it's really 11:20 in the morning combine to make me sleepless. I know what time it is because I brought my watch, which was the single most important decision I made preparing for this trip--I didn't know that my phone wouldn't tell time if it couldn't find a network, and had I not had my watch I would have continually been asking people who don't speak my language for the time. That sounds like a one-way ticket to insanity to me.

5/9/08, Later in the Morning

I have mainly strolled through parks today so far, after the fish market and my sushi breakfast. (If I can get my camera to work, I can retrieve the pictures--the tuna were about as big as Mrs. J and myself put together, with no exaggeration.) The duck park--that's Hama Rihkyu Garden, for those playing along at home--was really incredible. Very peaceful, I got some great photos, and I had tea and a sweet at a tea house, with my best attempt at performing a tea ceremony. Hama Rihkyu Garden was built as a duck hunting ground for a Shogun, which is why I call it the duck park, although they might as well call it the crow park now--I've never seen louder or larger crows. You can actually hear them walking on gravel, that's how larger they are--as big as hawks.

This park is connected to Tokyo Bay, so the ponds are saltwater--and the wildlife is incredible. All kinds of birds, shellfish like oysters and clams seemed to be everywhere, growing all over the rocks, and walking along Tokyo Bay, I happened to look down and see a STING RAY swimming past, the first once I've ever seen in the wild.

The next park I saw, Kyushiba Rikyu Garden, was fresh water, with well-groomed lakes, islands, and bridges. If you stand at the water's edge for more than a minute, the huge carp see you and rush over, fighting with each other and turning their noses up and opening their mouths, begging for treats just like puppies. Feed them and they fight like crazy. A comorant flew in and groomed himself on a big rock, and all over on all the rocks the turtles were out, sunning themselves, standing so still that I almost thought they were statues. Great wildlife here.

Random notes: I wore the wrong shoes for 12 hours of walking--not used to starting my day at 5--and my feet hurt so badly I could barely walk Friday night. Tokyo is beating me up, but I don't care, I love it. There's Starbucks everywhere, although I have (as yet) only gone into one, mainly to get my picture taken. I am very lucky that my ryokan has a refrigerator--although no microwave--because Thursday night when I ate, I pointed something on the menu, then changed my mind and shook my head, and pointed to something else. I guess I should have just gone with my first choice--the waiter thought I wanted both things, and both things were large enough to split with another person! Suddenly I had four times as much food as I needed! I had some leftover soup for breakfast on Saturday morning before taking a side trip out of Tokyo for a day--worked great.


C said...

I'm glad you're having a good time. (By the way, feel better!)

Aarwenn said...

Hi darlin',

Thank you, I am feeling much better. Also I feel much reassured traveling with Mrs. J, who is really Dr. J!