Domestic Diva in Tokyo

Tokyo Travel Blog

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Paper museum entrance

I'm baaaaaack!  Didja miss me, didja miss me?


Well, yesterday I got a late start because I was being domestic diva in the morning. Jeff sends out the big stuff (work clothes) for laundering but I did a few loads of our smaller stuff.


And turned all his white socks and undies blue. Please explain to me how a pair of jeans that have been washed over and over and over can still bleed dye?


So, now I'll have to learn the Japanese word for "bleach".


The machine in the apartment is a washer/dryer combo.

Entrance to Meiji-ju
The same drum is used for washing and for drying. But it doesn't dry for crap so I had (blue-tinged) socks and underwear draped over every surface in the apartment. Very attractive.


Did some of Jeff's ironing too. Not something I would normally do at home (hey, I've got enough of my own ironing at home!) but I figure anything I can do to make his time here a little easier is a good thing. 


Y'know, as long as he doesn't get used to it. ;)


Finally got out of here about 1. I had to stand in line for train tickets again. The museum I wanted to see was at a stop I couldn't find on my map to save my soul. It turns out, it wasn't even on the line the guidebook said (bad guidebook!) and it's an extremely short name (Oji) that gets lost in the jumble on the map.


So, the nice lady got me hooked up and off I went.

Quiet pathway in Meiji-ju
No train adventures this time. I was headed to the Paper Museum since the Japanese have such a distinguished history of beautiful paper making. The museum was tucked into a little Japanese park in a non-descript neighborhood. It was a cooler day, overcast, and it was nice to wander through the park a bit.


The museum was mostly devoted to the science and modern manufacture of paper. That didn't excite me much (though I did think of you, Eddie!). But on the top floor, they have a rotating exhibit. Just two days ago, the opened a new one -- on origami.


Apparently, the world master in origami (a 94-year-old Japanese man) died earlier this year. They had dozens of examples of his work and it was mind-boggling. He could apparently make just about any animal you can imagine in just about any size from a single piece of paper.


He also could create plants, buildings, and just all kinds of stuff.

Prayer racks
It made my jaw drop.


I desperately wanted to take pictures of all of it but they very pointedly don't allow photographs. They had a video going that was an interview with the man. All in Japanese, of course, but you could tell just by watching him talk and work that he was a man who had a child-like delight in his work. I was transfixed.


You know, that happens a lot here. Maybe I'm just easily amazed??


They had a very small gift shop but I could have spent an obscene amount of money there. I got out for $35, which was pretty good. They had some really lovely paper and paper products. I kept thinking "oooooh, Denise would love that!" or "oh, Tina could really make something of that" or "wouldn't Lizzie adore that". Ladies, trust me, you'll be disappointed at my restraint.


I headed from there down to one of the main shopping districts.

Prayer cards
 I was looking for a few things but mostly I enjoyed the human parade. This area is HUGE with young people. I keep hearing that the Japanese are very concerned about their aging population and how they will support them but what I see is very young people and lots and lots of them.


And they were dressed to see and be seen. Lots of....stiletto heel boots, strategically torn tops and pants, carefully spiked hair, eye liner, slouch boots, fuzzy hats, some baby doll outfits...all kinds of stuff. It was fun to watch.


What I *don't* see here is cleavage, underwear, or bra straps, which I see in abundance in DC. I must be getting firmly middle-aged because I find it a pleasant change of pace.


I ended up eating pizza again before heading home with my way aching back. I was on my feet for about 6 hours straight on Thursday and my lower back was really feeling it. 30 minutes of stretching straightened that out and I slept quite well last night.


Today, it was another cool, slightly overcast day and I headed to the Traditional Craft Center. This time, I bought my OWN train ticket from the vending machine (I feel so grown-up!). :) 


This place is so very worth the trip. Everything in it represents traditional Japanese crafts -- woodworking, lacquer, silk weaving, cloth-making, paper-making, etc. -- and it's all truly beautiful. Just beautiful. I was desperate to take pictures and, again, it wasn't allowed. Everything was also for sale and laid out like a shop but you aren't allowed to touch anything which just about killed me too!


Everything displayed was a wonderful representation of the craft with small plaques of explanation. I was wide-eyed through the whole thing. They even had an area upstairs for displaying kimonos where you could have a kimono made. There was also a craftsman downstairs making tortoise-shell items.


Everything was reasonably priced for the quality of the item but also generally outside my budget. I did find a beautiful little box as requested, Kitty, for $10. They even gift-wrapped it for me. :)


I lusted after a lot of items in there and I highly recommend it to anyone who visits Tokyo. It's not a large place but it packs a lot of beauty in a small space.


I then headed out for lunch. There was a cluster of small restaurants in the same building and I choose one of the noodle shops. It turned out to be that classic situation -- no English menu, no English-speaking staff, and no picture menu. The waitress didn't even hesitate, just walked me straight outside to point to what I wanted (every restaurant had a full display of their menu in plastic reproductions outside).


That worked well and I even managed to feed myself completely with chopsticks. I also had a birds-eye view of a really beautiful temple on the top of the building across the street. Apparently, with the skyrocketing cost of real estate, a lot of older small temples can't afford their space any more and some of them are moving to rooftops.


The one across from me was octagonal, 3 levels, and turquoise. It was quite a sight. I finally realized it had a cross on the top!  It was a church.


After lunch (and a few beignets at a Cafe du Monde across the street, believe it or not), I headed to the Meiji-ju shrine, a major shrine dedicated to a former emperor.


It's a nice shrine. I like shrines. Quiet, reflective, lovely. My favorite part, though, is that it is set in a large park. You can wander the grounds and just be among the trees, one of my favorite things. Lots of shade. There were a few fields where people were just lying about enjoying the pleasant weather. It's large enough that you can wander around for 30 or 45 minutes without repeating yourself.


It was quite relaxing for me.


Came straight home from there. Jeff and I are now debating whether to go to a sake bar tonight or tomorrow night. Sunday morning, we're on a group tour to Mt. Fuji. We haven't decided what we'll do tomorrow. Since it's Jeff's day off, I'll let him pick. He has fewer sightseeing days than I do.


So, you may get an e-mail tomorrow or not till Monday. Either way, know that I am enjoying myself but still look forward to seeing you all again.



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Paper museum entrance
Paper museum entrance
Entrance to Meiji-ju
Entrance to Meiji-ju
Quiet pathway in Meiji-ju
Quiet pathway in Meiji-ju
Prayer racks
Prayer racks
Prayer cards
Prayer cards
photo by: maka77