It is my intention to go out and explore a bit of the city sights today - so I head up towards the Uneo-koen. But it is raining quite heavily. Hence instead of exploring the outdoors I will go inside to the national museum and see a bit of the history of the country.
There are different thing on display though one interesting thing is the pottery work of the Jomon period. Those pottery is famous as the oldest pottery ever made anywhere in the world. But the museum got general display during most of the history of Japan. After wondering the museum for a few hours it seems like the rain has let up a bit and I venture outside once more.
The Uneo-koen was the last stand of the last shogunate which was finally defeated in 1868 finally restoring the emperor to power of the country.
After the event the area were made into the first public park and it is a nice area. Today the Uneo-koen is home to the main museums of Tokyo, some impressive temples and pagodas and something less appealing - the biggest community of homeless in all of Japan. When you walk around the area you will see small constructions made to house the people who have been hit by bad luck during the long Japanese recession during the 90s. It is a bit sad but they behave in a very orderly Japanese manner just accepting their fat - there is no begging or attempt to steal from the people visiting the park wondering around it.
In one of the temples in the park area are a small flame burning - it is the flame of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. The flame originates from the fires in Hiroshima. A man named Tatsuo Yamamoto had gone to Hiroshima to search for his uncle who had been in the city during the nuclear blast. At his uncles house he found some flames from the fire lit by the bomb and he took the flame with him home to his village where he kept the flame burning during many years. The flame then became a symbol on his work to abolish nuclear weapon and it was merged with a flame lit in Nagasaki.
And it is burning till this very day.
I leave the park to go to one of the oldest and most visited temples of the city. There a lots of people visiting this temple. All the visitors sustain a long street full of souvenirs shop selling whatever the visitors could possible wish for to give to family and friends or themselves as a memento.
Yesterday I went up in the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office building after dark - I figure I will go again today during daylight hours. I get up there but the weather is not really all that good for taking in the view. So I can’t see that much from the top - I guess you win some and you lose some when sightseeing.
As a last stop in Tokyo I finally make it to Shibuya. This place is some way the most tokyian of all Tokyo. Standing outside the busy Shibuya station watching the crowd is probably the most intense gathering of people you will find anywhere on this planet. I have seen four way crossing before when the traffic is stopped from all sides to allow the pedestrians to cross the street in all directions.
I never really got the concept of this before - but here I do - you would not be able to get this many people across the street in a limited amount of time if they were only allowed to walk on a narrow pedestrian crossing - they need the full width of the street and the entire intersection for this task. The number of people crossing the street whenever the light turns green makes the crowd crossing the streets at Times Square in NYC look like the centre of a minor provincial city.
After the visit to the crowded street I am heading back to the station to buy a ticket for the early train to the airport tomorrow morning - all good comes to an end and this is it for my trip to Japan.
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