Monday, January 29, 2007

Final days in Tokyo

It was only a quick trip (5 days) so will put these last two days together as I sit at the airport facing the reality of returning to work tomorrow after an all night flight. Should be interesting.

Yesterday we did another tour - this time to Nikko and Lake Chezenji & Kegon Waterfall. Our guide again spent the majority of the 2hr drive to Nikko giving us a a run down of Japanses culture and Japanese Shogun history which made the trip to the Shrine all the more meaningful. He told us about average salaries and rents and other things that you don't find out usually when you travel.

At the shrine in Nikko we saw some beautiful Shinto and Buddhist sculptures and buildings.

The most interesting sculpture was over the stables which were decorated in monkey friezes. It was sort of a life cycle but the most famous panel is the original 3 monkeys - see no evil , hear no evil & speak no evil. Never actually thought about where it came from but now I know.

Then there was this scary little creature

Another great Japanese lunch (I talk about food a lot don't I?) and then another hour up a dormant volcano to have a picture opportunity at the lakes edge of the top of the volcano by the crater lake. The drive up (and down) consists of 48 (letters of the Japanese alphabet) hairpin bends.

We were lucky as it only took half an hour to get up. Our guide said that in peak season when thousands drive up to see the autumn leaves, it can take up to three hours. As we drove up it started to snow and for a typical Sydneyite who never sees falling snow it was a real treat. In fact the view we stopped to see at the top was completely obliterated by the falling snow but it didn't matter to me.

The waterfall was also excellent with frozen icicles dangling off the crevices. What a treat! The cloudiness of the photos was caused by the snow falling on my head.

A quiet drive back to the city listening to KD Laing on my player was topped off with some hot spicy soup and noodles.

Today was spent preparing to leave. We wandered to the Kitchenware area near our hotel but the stomachs were rumbling too much to linger. Nice knives though! Would love to try and get them through Customs.

Not sure why I would want a giant cockroach on my building if I was selling kitchenware but I thought it was cute anyway.

I did, however, manage to find some plastic bags (yes I know you don't have to travel to Japan to buy plastic bags but they were the ones I wanted for my patterns and they were there so why not?)

Breakfast was tonkatsu - basically breaded chicken and coleslaw and rice and green tea - very yummy. Then we finished packing ad caught the train to the airport where we dumped our bags into storage and caught the train back to Narita Town where we wandered fairly aimlessly until it was time to return to the airport and wait and wait and wait - flying standby has its drawbacks. But luckily there were nice seats for us and soon we will be jetting our way back home. Another wonderful experience. I have lots of random photos of Japanese life which I will post over the next week or so. Hope you enjoyed these snippets.

1 comment:

Janine Matthews said...

hi Lisa,
Tim says these are Rhinoceros Beetles not giant cockroaches and are kept as fighting pets.
The males guard their food to the death so that is why they fight them so maybe that is the conection to a kitchenware shop - food/utensils/guarding food etc.
Tim said this is also where the Pokemon came from the old tradition and fasination with fighting insects/animals that could be carried around.