Friday, January 2, 2015

Japan (Part 2)

After our very serene stay at the Ryokan, we headed back to the bustle of Tokyo. The Japanese form orderly crowds.  Here several hundred people are waiting at an intersection to cross the road.  No cars, but no one jaywalks.  They all wait for the light to change.  Amazing!
Waiting for the light in Sunshine City
 On Christmas day, we headed to Nippori fabric town.  It is an entire district devoted to fabric and fabric-related businesses.  I had been told that I had to go to "Tomato," so I dragged the boys there.  The 4th floor of the main store (there are 4 "Tomato" stores) is devoted to cottons, so I happily dug through the bolts of Japanese prints, picked several and actually managed to order meters of fabric cut in Japanese.  Mission accomplished!
The famous "Tomato"
We then strolled through Akihabara.  This area is known as "Electric Town,"  and it certainly has a lot of brightly lit signs and billboards.  Even during the day.
Electric Town
The area used to be the center for home electronics (toasters, washing machines etc.), hence the nickname.  It's now the center for anime and manga.
Whole buildings devoted to ads for anime and manga...
After a day in Tokyo, we headed out to the country again.  This time to Kakunodate, in Akita prefecture.  We boarded the shinkansen and headed north through mountains and snow.  The scenery was gorgeous!
From the train, west of Morioka
Kakunodate is known for several things.  For one, the annual cherry blossom festival.
The ad promised cherry blossoms....
But the only cherry trees we saw were not blooming.
Cherry tree in the snow
In fact, the entire town was covered in several feet of beautiful white fluffy snow.
Buddhist temple 
Another Buddhist Ttmple
We hiked around town, but never made the climb up the hill to see Kakunodate's other attraction -- the samurai district.  Some of the houses are still inhabited by the descendants of the samurai who built them, some now museums.  It was simply too snowy and treacherous to get to them.
A traditional home with a little snow on the roof.
So we wandered around town, enjoying the snow and admiring the houses and narrow streets.  We eventually made our way back to the train station and boarded the shinkansen once again.
Shinkansen in the snow
Back in Tokyo, we opted for a warming bowl of udon for dinner.


Norma Schlager said...

I am thoroughly enjoying your Japanese tour. I have been there twice and loved every minute of it. Thanks for sharing your wonderful pictures

Teresa Duryea Wong said...

Cool pictures. I've been there too and also loved the orderliness... especially on the subways. Enjoy the trip. Thanks for sharing.

Heather Pregger said...

Teresa, I want to go back! It is such a beautiful and exciting place!

Heather Pregger said...

Thanks, Norma! It was a wonderful trip!

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