Japan, Day 2 - Tokyo · Jun 26, 06:39 PM

Sunday was still damned muggy and hot – in fact, I think even hotter than Saturday was – and the weather definitely affected how much we were able to pack in.

My father-in-law was excited to go to the Nezu Institute of Fine Arts, as it’s well known for its displays of painted screens. However, what we found was an exhibit of chaire, small containers for holding tea. Sunday was the last day of the exhibit. The Japanese crept along the display cases, inspecting each small, fat earthenware bottle for minute differences; those differences were however lost on us gaijin.

The Institute’s garden was, however, fantastic. Beautiful trees, winding rocky paths, a pond, and historic statues everywhere, including several of Buddha. The Buddhas’ upturned hands held several coins (including a Canadian penny!); perhaps this is a transference from Shintoism to Buddhism, or is it the same instinct that moves us to throw coins into fountains?

The rest of the day included a bit of shopping at Muji (“no name”) and Tokyo Hands, as well as a bewildering pass through Shinjuku Station, which has multiple Metro and Japan Rail Lines running through it. I think my worst nightmare would be trying to negotiate it by myself at rush hour!

Our last stop was the Yasukuni Shrine and the Yushukan Museum. David and I took a pass on the latter, but Christian and Pádraig told us about the severe liberties taken in the descriptions of the Nanking Massacre (“The China Incident”). Ah well, Japan is not all beautiful.

Susan

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