nostromos bLog

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08(01), 07(03), 06(03), 05(02), 04(02), 03(02)
12(02), 11(01), 10(08), 09(03), 07(17), 06(01), 05(04), 04(03), 03(02), 02(02), 01(06)
12(05), 11(02), 10(01), 09(01), 08(02), 07(04), 06(01), 05(02), 04(03), 03(02), 02(02), 01(01)
12(01), 11(02), 09(09), 08(16), 07(02), 06(03), 05(04), 04(03), 02(03), 01(02)
12(03), 11(01), 10(02), 09(01), 08(23), 07(03), 06(02), 05(01), 04(02), 03(02)
12(03), 11(02), 10(01), 09(01), 08(23), 05(02)
09(04), 08(01), 06(01), 05(02), 04(02), 03(01), 02(01)
11(01), 10(02), 09(15), 08(01), 07(02), 06(04), 04(12), 01(06)
12(05), 11(01), 10(06), 09(12), 08(02), 07(02), 06(01), 05(01), 04(10), 02(01), 01(05)
12(02), 08(01), 07(15), 06(02), 05(03), 02(02), 01(03)
12(05), 11(01), 07(24), 06(06), 05(03), 04(02), 01(01)
12(01), 11(01), 10(07), 09(01), 08(04), 07(05), 06(04), 05(06), 04(01), 03(04), 02(06), 01(04)
12(04), 11(02), 10(03), 09(04), 08(03), 07(04), 04(01)
07(01), 05(01)

Tue, 22 Jul 2008
nostromo in hello-kitty land, day 04 (0 comments)
on day 04 i met Kaze_, a tokyo citizen i met on IRC years ago. we planned to visit several traditional sights like gardens, shrines, and temples. so we wanted to meet at 09:00 in the morning, and i left the hotel right in time so i could have the usual breakfast at McDonald's and then drive for about 45mins to "meiji-jingumae" metro station. but to get there i need a ticket. so i thought i go to the ticket sales point as everyday to get my "tokyo furii kippu" (tokyo round tour ticket, valid on all toei buses/subways/streetcars, tokyo metro lines, and JR trains). but the ticket counter opens at 09:00 so i had a problem. i picked a guy in a suit and briefcase, like there are so many in the morning, and asked him for help. lucky me, he spoke at least a very little english. so he typed some buttons at the nearby ticket vending machine but could not find the type of ticket i wanted to have. he managed to get some assistant by a JR ("Japan Railway Company") employee, but this one was not able to press his way through on the buttons to my desired ticket. so he opened the ticket counter and sold it to me directly, without the machine. this procedure took me about 20 mins (and the poor guy in the suit too!). so i was late at the meeting point, but Kaze_ was still there. lucky me again! we decided to go to "yoyogi park" first, then to "hanazono-jinja temple", "TMG" ("tokyo metropolitan government"), to "joenji temple", and finally to the shinjuko ward. and so we started our tour at "yoyogi park"[001-042] at the "meiji jingu shrine"[001-035]. afterwards we were walking through the park and saw a martial arts club, where they were doing archery. but it looked more like meditation than just shooting arrows[038-039]. if picture [043] confuses you the same way it did confuse me, here's the explanation i got from Kaze_ why it's cubic metres instead of square metres: this no parking sign is for an area where there's an subsurface cistern with water for the fire brigade to extinguish fire. and thus it's cubic metres. the daily cat can be found at [044-045]. this cat was obviously waiting for the door to be opened since it totally ignored us and kept staring at the glass-door. on the door it said "open from 12:00 to 23:00", and right after i had taken this picture (at 12:38) the shop-owner returned and opened the shop and the door, and the cat ran inside. i'm sure the poor cat was waiting for 38 mins that someone opens the door. Kaze_ was hungry. and though i am still not hungry due to the high temperature during the day and my tiredness in the evening, we decided to go for lunch. the menu was in japanese only, but this time i had a perfect translator. so i ordered "hiyashi gomadare udon"[049]. sounds great and means cold udon - those are the thick noodles - with sauce and sesame. it was delicious but way too much for me. it cost 700YEN (that's about 4.15EUR). next stop was "hanazono-jinja shrine"[050-058], a shrine surrounded by sky scrapers, yet a beautiful place to take a short rest from the noise and bustle outside. at a shrine one can usually pray and make a wish to one (of many) god. to do so, one washes hands and mouth, steps up to the shrine, throws a coin into the shrine, bows two times, prays and tells the god the wishes, and finally claps twice (or rings a bell, if available) to wake up the god and get his/her attention. afterwards bowing, and you're done. i joined Kaze_ and told some (to me unknown) god my wish. let's see if my clapping really woke him up... we went on to the "TMG"[059-070] which has two observatories, one on the south- and one on the north-side. each one is accessible by an elevator. we visited both observatories. to get to our next stop, we had to go two the "shinjuku ward"[071-076] (which is one of 23 wards in tokyo, comparable to the 23 districts in vienna). when we arrived at "joenji temple"[077-079] a caucasian priest welcomed us and asked us to not put pictures of the temple aniline since they received some terrorist threats lately. therefore i put only the pictures of the temple from the outside on-line (i guess terrorists will get no more information from my pics if they drive by the temple). the priest told us he's from america, his parents were danish, and he's a priest in japan. remark: ok, maybe he made this all up and gave me a combination of countries that is uniquely told to each visitor, so that he can google if someone has put some pictures on-line and finally match the hits with the according visitor. if so, be assured: no, i did not put any pictures from the inside of the temple on-line. after another walk through "shinjuku ward"[080-082] we arrived "tokyu hands"[083], another huge shopping mall. we wanted to see the pets section, but there was only stuff for dogs - too bad. Kaze_ had to leave, but i stayed a little longer in the mall. afterwards i took the JR train to "akihabara" station and wanted to change to a metro line train. but the metro line station was a different station, since JR and tokyo metro line are two different companies. on my way to finding the other station i entered "electric street"[089-097], a street full of electronic stores. i also found a comic shop named "comic toranoana"[093] in which i spent about half an hour looking at various comics. and finally in a "yodobashi" store i found a vendor machine as shown HERE, which contained those toys as shown in [097]. what i got is shown in [098] - cool, a cute cat-girl! maybe i buy another one of this series if i find such a machine again. on my way back from JR station "minami-senju" to the hotel i was shopping in a supermarket and bought a box with 12 maki pieces for about 1.76EUR. yammi, they were delicious! another funny thing happened at this store: i wanted to get some soya sauce for my maki and grabbed a bottle that looked like soya sauce to me. of course everything on the bottle was in japanese. so i asked a young woman if this is soya sauce. as she said "soya" i'm sure she knew what i was looking for. but then she read the ingredients list. still she was unsure so she asked an old man standing next to us. he also read the ingredients list and finally nodded at her. so i asked myself 'do japanese not know their own written language?'. daily random tokyo facts: there are no dustbins in the city - for empty plastic bottles there's a collection unit at every vending machine that sells plastic bottles. yet, the city is extremely clean, people avoid throwing garbage on the street. furthermore they don't hesitate to keep it clean, as a group of japanese people were cleaning the floor of the train after one of them had spilled some liquids. earthquakes are really common here (see for current information or a history of earthquakes for the last seven days). people don't make phone calls on the train. people are really helpful (remember the guy wasting 20mins to help me with my ticket?). "temple" is for buddhism, "shrine" is for shintoism.

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