Back at the hotel, Lynn revealed the reason for her bag being so heavy. In addition to half a dozen guidebooks and books for reading pleasure, she had schlepped this all the way from Scotland.
Here are the notes Richard provided to explain its provenance.
We would have to figure out how I could reimburse them for it; Richard had paid for it in pounds sterling, I operate in dollars, and here we were in Japan.
We walked over to Ueno Park, and I—the old hand—showed Lynn the hydrangeas and the shrine. We had a long, late pizza lunch at an Italian restaurant, which was the only place we could find that was open. As usual we had months of updates to download.
Heading back to the hotel at dusk, we accidentally walked down an alley lined with Pachinko parlors. It was dazzling, blinding—thousands (millions?) of blinking lights and beeping noises—with people streaming in and out to try their luck.
“What is pachinko?” Lynn wondered.
“I think you hit a lever … and balls fall down … there are pegs or some such, and … somehow you gamble with it?” was my authoritative reply.
Neither of us is a gambler, but we enjoyed the garish street display.
“This isn’t the Tokyo I’ve experienced so far,” I observed. “I’ve been pleasantly surprised so far by how sedate the place is.”
“This seems like ‘typical Tokyo’ according to everything you see in guidebooks,” Lynn replied.
We were in bed, reading, by nine.
“If you see a ghostly figure pacing the room at 3am, that’s just me with my RLS,” I warned her.
“Oh, nothing stops me from sleeping,” Lynn assured me.
That was good, since I was up almost all night. The more I tried to be quiet, the more noise I made, so I spent most of the night in the can, doing the RLS cancan.
The next day was packed. We would have one day in Tokyo, then leave for Kyoto the following morning.
Fred and Hiromi had strongly recommended we prioritize the Edo Museum over the two art museums in nearby Ueno Park.
I was glad for their advice. The Edo was just a quick one-stop on the train, and easy to find thanks to much signage involving large red arrows even I couldn’t miss.
As we walked, a flock of little kids in cute school uniforms passed us and called out, “Hah-loh, hah-loh!” practicing their English on us. It was delightful.
“Edo” is the old name for Tokyo; the museum was all about the history of Tokyo. The building itself is worth a look. It is modeled after an old storehouse, but to us it appeared like a samurai helmet.
It is basically built on stilts, and you take a very long escalator to the sixth floor of museum, then work your way down. Lynn and I had never seen an escalator that turned into a people mover (a moving walkway), back into an escalator, and so on. It was marvelous.
I could write an encyclopedic post on this museum, since it covered everything from prehistoric cave dwellers to the post World War II period. There were a lot of model recreations of typical homes and shops and schools from different periods. This was a post war kitchen.
This was a typical school lunch in 1960, when Japan was still rebuilding. Pretty grim.
This was 1970:
And the 2000s, looking pale and starchy, like American lunches, in my opinion.
I stood in front of this for a long time, wondering.
I know it’s too small for you to read. It’s about the US bombing of Tokyo during WWII. There’s no context as to why America might be doing such a thing.
No mention of 1941 and Pearl Harbor, when Japan attacked America—a neutral country at the time—without provocation and killed 2,400 Americans.
I may sound like a five-year-old, pointing a finger and shouting, “He started it!” There were plenty of atrocities and needless destructive actions committed by all parties. But here, only America is mentioned as the aggressor.
To lighten things up, here is a gratuitous photo of a goat from the taxidermy exhibit!