Today I didn’t have any guides because my friends have their own lifes and have to make a living by working, which is why I stepped out on my own to discover some areas of this big city which might not all show up in your usual guidebook.
Again I took the bus to Akihabara, but instead of hopping on board at the usual station I walked for a few minutes to get a grip of the scenery. Actually this “deep Tokyo” my hot lways talks about is pretty nice. I guess you can compare it to any quarter of any big city in the world which hasn’t ben invaded nby people who moves to the city from the countryside. Very old school, very nostalgic. So while I was walking through the main street – strictly keeping my route alongside the bus route – I happened to come across a gas station which was sporting a commercial with former German national keeper Oliver Kahn. He is such a famous person in this part of the world, I already knew that. But to see him on an advertisment is something different. I ended up at the second station of the bus and decided to wait there. While doing that a grandmother walked up to me and started a conversation about how long it will take us to wait (it were just 15 minutes). Unfortunately we ran out of topics pretty fast, but that was a pleasant surprise. It has to be said that japanese people are a ery friendly bunch when it comes to asking for directions or help with some machines. Everytime I did that today the person was very helpful and friendly.
At Akihabara I entered that electronic store once more to get an adapter plug for all my electronical devices. Turned out I made the wrong choice, but somehow I managed to get by with a little help from some friends later.
From there I took off to Kagurazaka, an area I saw in the Dorama “Haikei, Chichue-sama”. It’s a very peaceful and quiet part of Tokyo, which doesn’t look like the hectic and bustling inner city at all. Everybody was moving at their own speed, the ever present announcements from stores were a lot more quiet and the whole feeling was a lot more peaceful. I strolled around the area for quite some time, taking detours from the main street to get a look at the side streets which just looked marvelous. After a small rest at a park I decided I shouldtry out the garden of the emperor’s palace. Some real tourist sightseeing shouldn’t be that bad.
When I got off from the subway what struck me first was the sheer size of the palace. This thing was huge. It’s seperated from the rest of the city by a huge water channel in front of which numerous sports clubs were training. I entered the garden through a huge gate. Wat happens is you get a token which you are supposed to return when you leave. The admission is free. The garden itself isn’t as spectacular as one might think, but what struck me most was the silence. Outside were the noisy streets of Tokyo and inside the garden you didn’t hear a single sound. As if it was a whole different city. I hung out there for a few minutes and left through the north gate where I asked a very helpful police man for the way to the Yasukuni shrine.
Yasukuni s most famous for the visits primeminister Koizumi took there a few years ago. It was built by emperor Meiji for all the people who fought and died for the sake of the japanese nation. Which sadly includes the war criminals from World War II as well. But because I wanted to get my own view of the picture I decided to take a look. What’s most impressive is the imperial feeling this place has. You somehow get the feeling that it was built to portray the greatness of the japanese nation. There is a huge alley leading up to the shrine, which itself isn’t that huge at all. One difference though is the amount of japanese flags flying there. There were also a lot of school children wandering around that, but I think that hsn’t as much to do with politicl education as with the schools just being situated right next to the shrine. It happens my host’s former middle school was also right next to the shrine and I happened to pass it on my way back to the station.
Actually on my way back I took a little detour again walking alongside a river thrugh what looked like a park alley. After meeting up with my host at Kishinchou station and taking a little breather at home we got of to a friend’s izakaya. Now an Izakaya isn’t your usual bar, they also sell stuff to eat there. But this one was the only one in the neighbourhood so it was pretty crowded. I had an oyakodon (scrambled eggs with meat and rice) with a beer first and then the friend of our’s showed up. So it all ended with me, my host, my host’s sister and mother and that friend sitting there eating and drinking the whole evening. I ended up speaking so much japanese, I am slightly afraid to lose my mother tongue. Also they had the television running there showing the Yomiuri Giants – Hanshin Tigers game. The Tigers lost which was kind of a downer, but I was surprised to find them in third place in the Central League, albeit with 20.5 games back.
But right now I am completely wasted now and I will go to bed. Tomorrow I will finally meet up with a german friend I have been looking forward to meeting the whole time. We will go to her boyfriend’s concert and there’s no plan for what we will do after that-