August 17, 2007

In the morning we woke up relatively early, ate at a standing soba and udon shop aptly named SobaUdon, and headedThe palace over to the Imperial Palace in central Tokyo. We got there, took some nice pictures and were about to go into the park (Koen in Japanese) to the North of the palace which contains a few museums and other neat stuff, because the palace itself is only open two days a year to the public, but promptly found out it was closed on Mondays and Fridays. Kind of disappointed we walked a little South to Hibiya Koen.

It was extremely hot (35 C/95F) and the humidity made it feel worse so we bought some popsicles at a stand and walked into the park to find about 18 young people dressed in kimonos pracLower displaying the sake at nihonshu jouhoukanticing a traditional looking dance. Ryan Lower, the English teacher from now on referred to as Lower, asked someone standing around what the youths were practicing for and we found out that there was a matsuri (festival in English) going on that night from 6pm to 9pm. Something to note: Lower and myself combined have about a 3rd grader’s skill in the Japanese language, maybe less, but both of us can pretty much get across what we mean to say. From there we headed a little farther South into Hibiya to a place called Nihonshu Jouhoukan (Japanese Sake Information Pavilion, or at least that’s what Lonely Planet translates it to) where we did tasting of 15 different sake. 520 yen to try 5 different sake. It was amazing, I will be posting what we thought of them at a later date. Walking out quite buzzed we headed to Ebisu to the Beer Museum, the next logical point of interest.

The museum was entertaining, unfortunately it was all in Japanese so we couldn’t read it. There was an awesome animation, well more accurately it was live action characters superimposed onto a diorama. Apparently the history of making beer involves both a beer fairy and a beer devil, we couldn’t understand more of the animation because it was in Japanese, none the less my life was fulfilled knowing that the beer fairy exists. We then proceeded down to an area where we tasted 4 different beers of Yebisu and Sapporo for 400 yen. I liked the Yebisu Black which was a dark beer and the Sapporo pale ale.

After we finished up in Ebisu we headed over to the matsuri in Hibiya Koen. It was very amusing I will let the pictures and the videos tell the story of the matsuri when they get online.

Click on one of the photos to be brought to my flickr where you can view the rest. I tried takoyaki (balls of dough with octopus inside) for the first time, and it was delicious. There was a really nice police man who, when I said that I was tired in Japanese (out of reflex), massaged my neck then took one of our fans and started fanning us for a couple of minutes (there’s a picture of that in my flickr). *sigh* If only cops were like that in the US we might have more respect for them. Overall we had a great night at the matsuri, we then proceeded to venture out to find dinner in the area. After dinner we went back to the Ryokan. Extremely tired, we crashed.

I was planning to post both Day 3 and along with the podcast tonight but after another full day of traveling in Tokyo I’m tired as hell and even writing this took great effort. I think we might redo the podcast as well so we’ll see what happens with that. The pictures will be are up as soon as flickr updates my account to a pro account and the videos will be up that we have taken thus far shortly as well. Tomorrow I will write about Day 3 and I think I’ll have the podcast up as well, no guarantees though ^_^ until then!