Ok... on with my Japan trip description. I just want to first say, how amazing Etsuki and his family were to us during our stay in Tokyo. After our lovely Sukiyaki dinner, Koichi san and Junko san asked if Kurin and I to stay with them for the remainder of our trip. I was so moved. I couldn't believe their kindness. They took us in and treated us like members of their family. It was the most awesome part of our whole trip I think, was the opportunity to live and learn from Etsuki's family. Also, they are such great people, and we all had such a great time, that when it came time to leave, there was great sadness. But I will get to that later. ;)
The next day, Monday, we met Rina (YAY!!!!) and Kentaro to go to the Emperor's Castle. On our way there, we stopped at a very famous shrine, the Yasakuni shrine. This was an interesting experience, as Yasakuni has a very interesting history full of politacally charged issues surrounding it. I cant really say much, except that there were many men and women dressed in black militaristic outfits, yelling on loud speakers and the Japanese dont like to talk about it. It has to do with war and crimes and warcrimes, and well, if you want to know more, click here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Controversies_surrounding_Yasukuni_Shrine
Ok, that is all I will say on the matter.
We finally walked all the way to the enterance of the Emperor's Palace, and it was closed. lol Not meant to be but I guess that leaves something else for us to do when we return to Japan. Add that to the list with Hokasai's museum and Ghibli museum.
We were hungry, and we found a nice little indian food restaurant that was owned by these two indian guys, who I swear spoke better Japanese than Etsuki! :) kidding of course, but it was still really cool to hear these Indian guys speak fluent Japanese. The food was lovely. Then, we went to two of the most famous districts in Tokyo, Harijuku, and Shibuya. Basically, we just walked around and shopped, but I did find a body shop where I was able to get moisturising lotion without whitening agents, and then I found a glasses shop where they made me new persription glasses on spot, and for super cheap! The entire thing, perscription, exam, lenses (the best), and frames were 12000 yen (about 140 dollars). They really are SO COOL! AND, apparently the only thing cheaper to buy in Japan than China.
That night, Etsuki took us all to the noodle shop that he works at. GREAT FOOD... and his boss is kind of cute. ;) There was a guy celebrating his birthday, so of course for the sake of Etsuki's movie, I HAD to sing happy birthday to the guy. IT was really quite funny, and yes, it will all be availible on the DVD when it is released in stores. ;)
Tuesday, was a lazy day. now, I know what you are all thinking, that "how can you have a lazy day when you are only in Japan for 12 days?" Well, we did. We went shopping for groceries, went and looked at girl's day dolls (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hinamatsuri) at Etsuki's mom's friend's place,which was a real priveledge, as the dolls are not only really valuable, but kindof a private collection too. I will post a photo.
Then I made curry for the whole family. Everyone loved it (have to admit it was one of my best) and it was a lovely, quiet, lazy day.
Wednesday was the day that I was looking forward to for the whole trip. STUDIO GHIBLI MUSEUM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We went with Etsuki and his mom Junko san and two of her friends. I was so excited. I could not believe I was stepping into the world of Hayao Miyazaki's creations. I literally started crying when we walked in. I know that sounds stupid, but I couldnt help it. We saw all of his orignal drawings, work space, and I just cant even express in words how cool it all was. And yes, there was a cat bus, but it was only for little people. They wouldnt let me in. :(
Probably the coolest thing was that we got to see his newest creation, A Sumo Wrestler's Tail or Chuzumo (literally mouse sumo). It is in Japanese only and thirteen minutes long, but it was GREAT!!! And you can only see it at Ghibli museum. http://www.ghibli-museum.jp/en/006018.html
After Ghibli museum we went to Jin Dai Ji Temple and Botanical Gardens and had a lovely lunch and walked around the gardens. I got hit on by a 60 year old Japanese version of Scatman John. Ok, this is a good time to tell you about Scatman John. You may not know who he is, but EVERYONE in Japan does, and boy do they love him. He is particularily famous for his Puching Popo pudding commercial that he did in Japan but you may also know him for his song Scatman about 15 years ago. I mean, he is BIG in Japan. He died back in 99 but man, he is still everywhere. The reason that I am telling you this, is because Kurin, Etsuki and Ryu san, would sing the songs all the time, and it was too funny. We have it all on video, especially the puching pudding song.
You can imagine that Kurin is all about the Scatman now. Etsuki bought us two cds before we left Japan. lol
Kurin made his famous Spaghetti for everyone, and they were all happy!!!!
Ok... almost there... just a few more days. Whew!