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)

Thu, 22 Aug 2013
nostromo in hello kitty land again, day 19 (0 comments)
first thing today in the morning was to check if i had packed all my stuff for the camera. i had, and the cam was working properly - good. so we were ready to take the metro to the senso-ji, a popular, highly frequented, and pretty colourful temple in the asakusa district. but to get there, one has to walk through the thunder gate, aka kaminarimon[001-005], with a huge lantern[001,002,004,005] in the middle and a wooden carving of a cute dragon[004] at the bottom of it. the statues of fujin and raijin, the gods of wind and thunder are placed at the sides. next one has to walk down nakamise dori[003,007], the shopping street leading from the first gate to the second gate, where one can buy all kinds of stuff - from touristy souvenirs[007] to super cool things[006]. nina was looking for souvenirs and those wooden sandals, but could not find a pair she liked.
having reached the hozomon[008,009,011-014], the second gate, one can see two big metal lanterns, or toros, and huge straw sandals[014] on the back of the gate. right next to the gate is the temple[017-025]. loads of people, incense sticks, and dragons to see, smell and find there.
time for a way smaller and much less popular shrine, namely the inado jinja, or cat shrine. the one i have searched so desperately on my last trip, and i took me two attempts to finally get there. so we walked there by foot to get to the inconspicuous cat shrine[032-043]. this place has not changed much, except for the watering can "altar"[038] and the tables and seats they put there to have a rest. we bought an ema[041], wrote down our wishes on it, and hanged it to the tree, where i had hanged my ema five years ago. also we did do some praying at the shrine. the procedure was described by a sign fortunately. the ritual starts with throwing a coin into the offertory box, then ring the bell to get the deities attention, then bow twice, then make your wish, then clap twice to get the attention again (i think), and finally bow again. done. now that was easy. at least for nina. i mixed it all up and did it all wrong. i hope the cats are not angry with me (n)ow.
after a little rest we went back to the senso-ji, because nina wanted to do some souvenir shopping on the nakamise dori again, and also we wanted to try out omikuji[050-058], the fortune telling paper strips. to do so, one has to grab a big, heavy metal box full of wooden sticks[050], then shake it thoroughly[051], then shake it thoroughly[052], then shake it thoroughly[053], then rest a little[054] from the strenuous shaking, then turn the box, and get one wooden stick[055] out of a tiny hole on the top of the box. on the stick some symbols are imprinted, which you have to match with the symbols on loads of drawers[057]. once you found it, open the drawer, and take out your fortune telling paper strip[058], which will tell you your future. fortunately, they have english translations on the sheets at the senso-ji temple. and once more, nina's future was brighter, better, and shinier than mine.
blessed with good luck, we walked on, and nina bought some incense sticks. again we made our wishes, and put the sticks into one of the big censers as described on the packing.
next, we walked towards the sumida river bank[084-089], where we found a ghibli shop, but unfortunately it was closed. too bad. have the paper strips been wrong about our luck? hm, let's hope not. so we walked on, saw a cute cat[084-085], on the other side of the river the asahi flame[086-088] (aka the golden turd), and the panda bus[089], a small bus that drives around asakusa district and definitely looks cool. i would love to have such a vehicle.
then we drove on to ueno to stroll around in ueno park and the nearby area. when we got off the station we found a bakery[091-096] selling cute little pies and cookies, inspired by the animals of the nearby ueno zoo. so we had a hotto cohi, and a tiger and turtle biscuit. so cute, so good, so sweet.
we were quite fascinated by the huge water lotus pond[097-103,107-113] and the lotus seed pods - yeah, we both definitely do not suffer from trypophobia[098,103]. and actually everything related to the lotus flowers[107-109,111,112].
but they also have a boat pond[119,121] right next to the lotus pond, full of hungry fish[122-125], and hungry turtles[126-127]. and a cat lady[117,118] was there petting and combing a cute cat that seemed to enjoy that very much. by now it was already late and it got dark, and nina got hungry. so time to go to the near-by shopping streets to grab some food.
so we entered ameyoko, a busy market street, that seemed to have loads of places to grab some food. a hawker showed us a menu on the street, and it looked good and delicious, so we agreed to be taken to the restaurant he works for. after following him for quite a while through a labyrinth of small and narrow streets, we finally arrived at a stairway that brought us down into the basement, where the actual restaurant was. we tried shabu shabu, a japanese dish with a pot of boiling water, where you can put in all kind of stuff, like vegetables, sliced beef, etc. while it was delicious and tasty it was also quite expensive. more expensive than the pirate meal we had a few days ago. in fact, it was the most expensive meal we had in ages. we are still not really sure if this had to be that way, or it was some tourist rip off we fell for. oh well, at least we tried shabu shabu once. and we are now a big step closer to my credit card limit. we don't have much cash left, and i don't think i can withdraw any more money.
back at the hotel we moved in to the western style room. we both agreed that we prefer the japanese style rooms, as there's no tatami floor, no paper wall windows, and the bed takes up way too much space. also the toilet seats were different and less nerdy as the ones in the other room we had. but still, the room was wonderful and i am sure we will have a good night sleep.

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