Debbie Ridpath Ohi reads, writes and illustrates for young people. Every few weeks, she shares new art, writing and resources; subscribe below. Browse the archives here.

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« kyoto trip prep | Main | making friends in japan »
Saturday
Sep082001

Edo Tokyo museum




(continuation of a multi-part Blathering, begin here)


This will be a many-part Blathering which I will post several times today and perhaps tomorrow. I may end up simply catching up when I get back to Toronto, since I don't want to spend the rest of my stay here on my computer. :-)


Tuesday, September 4


After visiting the fish market, Jeff and I went to the Edo Tokyo Museum. Impressive architecture, lots of space. After figuring out where and how to buy our admission ticket, we took the many escalators to the top floor and worked our way down through the exhibits, which cover Tokyo's history from the days of Tokugawa shoguns to post-war reconstruction.





Although the reconstructions of Edo-period buildings and landmarks were fascinating, both Jeff and I found something lacking in the overall exhibit. Relatively little space was devoted to the war, for example, and certain aspects of social history were left out.


However, it was nice to find that most of the exhibits had English translations (the only one that didn't, oddly, was a display of a Japanese air balloon weapon used against the U.S. during the war). The museum also provided many good people-watching opportunities, especially with regards to the hordes of schoolchildren . Some had written assignments directly related to certain exhibits; others seemed to be free to run anywhere they liked.





Alison, Jeff and I went out for yakitori and ramen at a nearby restaurant. VERY yummy, with vegetables and thin slices of tender pork. The broth was heavenly. Drool.


The noodle shop was in an area full of "gentlemen's clubs", many with provocatively-dressed young women out in front handing out flyers or just looking sultry. Also popular were pachinko parlours, a sort of vertical pinball game which appears to be a Japanese craze these days. Pachinko is estimated to take in over 26 trillion a year (1 in 4 Japanese play it) and is also supposed to be a major source of tax evasion and yakuza funds. In pachinko, players control the speed of small steel balls falling through a machine, with the aim for the balls to fall into the right holes so they can win more balls, which can eventually be traded in for prizes.





Anyway, I got a huge kick out of watching Alison order for us, speaking so quickly that I couldn't distinguish individual syllables. She even helped out an English-speaking tourist who had forgotten a bag at the restaurant but wasn't sure how to communicate this to the staff. Alison rocks. :-)


Next: Tokyo International Forum, Japan Rail office challenge...


Today's Blatherpics:


(all from the displays at the Edo Tokyo Museum)


- From a Kubuki exhibit.


- From a wartime exhibit.


- Reproduction of a 17th-century daimyo residence.


- Ramen restaurant.


Today's Poll:



Do you like going to museums?

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