Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Day 30: Have patience...

Day 30 (4 Jan) Today was one of those days where one extended one's understanding and patience. It all started off reasonably well, although looking at the 6.12am photo, in retrospect it was the beginning of a day of patience...

6.12am, a little more light,
or more patience required? 
After two days indoors being lounge chair athletes (the 200km return marathon relay was tough going) we were determined to hit the latest Tokyo attraction, the 'Skytree'. When I say 'we', I mean my friends Yosh and Jinko. Being the overly-cautious type, my view that the 'two-hour wait' noted on the internet site might extend to a bit longer on day four of the new year was challenged. 'Well, should we by advance tickets?' 'Nah, we can wait just a while if need be'. 'OK'. ('o_o')> 

No waiting to photograph the Skytree
The Skytree is now the tallest structure in Tokyo, has the obligatory viewing deck and shadows one of my favourite and oldest areas of Tokyo, Asakusa. I've been watching it being built over the last few years. Time to go and see it, we thought. Then lunch, tempura probably, in Asakusa and then off to the Nogi Jinja...no probs, good day ahead. It's also the coldest day weather-wise thus far, with the threat of snow around and a temperature range in Tokyo of 0-6 degrees. 

We arrived after a couple of train rides to...a large crowd. Actually it was a very large crowd. We arrived about midday to line up to get the pre-tickets which would allow us to line up later at a particular time to get tickets to go up. We found the ticket office, got in line to receive our pre-tickets to buy tickets for the EIGHT PM trip up the elevator...8.00pm. Eight.hour.wait. And then we'd see Tokyo in the dark. OK, time to re-strategise. 

We decided to go and eat anyway, finding ourselves in a little side-street at a well-known tempura and eel restaurant, couple of beers ... how long was that wait again? We could see the tower from street-level, we opted to go and see it 'next time'. 

Meanwhile, we headed to our next destination, Nogi Jinja, a temple in Aoyama with deep historical significance. General Nogi was a Meiji era general, revered. So upset was he by the death of his Meiji Emperor, he and his wife committed ritual suicide, in the then 'honoured' tradition of a certain class. The visit here tied in with our trip to Matsuyama and Meiji history. The temple was festooned for new year's observances and it sits adjacent to Nogi's residence, complete with garden (still tended) and his 'beloved horses' stables. There were some elements about this temple that had me reflecting on contemporary nationalism...but that's for the other blog. 

Dinner, at 6.12pm
We turned towards home, only to stop on the way through to eat at our fave Chinese restaurant in Ikebukuro, a place owned by a Daito Bunka graduate. Meiji University might have beaten us in the Ekiden yesterday, but we DB'ers win the food marathon...it was there we found ourselves at 6.12pm and Jinko's nephew joined us on his return from visiting his family in the country. 

The weather remained cold; I managed to spend some time buying books; and political party leaders were all over the TV this evening declaring their new year promises and ambitions. Oh dear--idea for new article on political rhetoric and the similarities between the Japanese and Australian professional political classes. 'Moving forward'...Japanese pollies talk about 'moving forward'! Patience tested, indeed. 

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