While in Kawasaki we had the opportunity to go to our first onsen. An onsen is a traditional Japanese bath fed from a hot spring. The onsen we went to is called Shirakunoyu. There is a proper way to utilize an onsen. The naked part is easy for me, its the unspoken rules and etiquette that can be a little intimidating. We managed just fine. We both felt so much better after soaking for over an hour.
You see Tokyo is not necessarily world renowned for its tacos! Yes, there are Taco Bells, but local grocery stores do not stock taco shells, refried beans, seasonings, salsa, sour cream and other needed ingredients. I decided that I would need to locate an international market. Online I located Seiko Ishii market next to Shibuya station. Seemed simple enough. Wrong!!! After Laurie and I finished our time at the Meiji Jingo Festival (see last post) I convinced Laurie that we should hop on the train to run an errand that was only three stations away. She had wanted to check out a store called Uniqlo for a light night gown. Unfortunately every where we look all the stores carry is winter fashions as Tokyo gets quite cold in the winter and Uniqlo was no exception. This is where I should have called it a day. We were already wiped from a long day but we were so close to the Seijo Ishii market. Just hop on the train and go one station.
We started our time in Tokyo by going to the Meiji Jingu Autumn Grand Festival. On November 3rd, the 163rd anniversary of the birthday of Emperor Meiji, the present Emperor sends an Imperial Messenger with his offerings to Meiji Jingu’s solemn Shinto ceremony. In the course of the celebration, Japanese traditional performing arts such as Bugaku, Ｎoh, Kyogen, and ancient Japanese martial arts are presented in honour of the deities. Meiji Jingu is a Shinto shrine. Emperor Meiji passed away in 1912 and Empress Shoken in 1914. After their demise, people wished to commemorate their virtues and to venerate them forever. So they donated 100,000 trees from all over Japan and from overseas, and created an amazing forest in the middle of Tokyo. It is one of the most beautiful parks we have ever seen! This is a very special festival so the park was packed. Even so it remained tranquil!
I was born on the United States Naval Base in Yokosuka, Japan and moved to Walnut Creek, California when I was three years old. I really remember very little of my early years here. Really just a few snapshots in my mind and stories I have heard over the years. One such story is that my very first word as a little boy was “Godzilla”. Apparently I loved to watch Godzilla movies! It was very important to me that on this trip I touch ground in Yokosuka, meeting Godzilla in Yokosuka was an added bonus. Godzilla in Japanese is “Gojira” and there is a huge Gojira replica at the Kurihama Flower World in Yokosuka. This is where the movie “Godzilla Returns” was filmed and marks the spot where Godzilla emerged from the ocean and began his reign of terror!
Keiko’s place is safe, really clean, and really close to the Metro. However, the bed we are on is hard as a rock. Essentially it is just a box spring. So, of course, we headed off to Ikea. A train, a subway, and then a bus was all it took to get us there! We bought the roll up mattress and a bus, a subway, and a train was all it took to get back to Keiko’s. Oh yes, I carried the roll up mattress the whole way.
The best part of our walk through old Shanghai was the Noodles. Shanghai is famous for its dumplings and boy did it deliver! It was hot, extremely smoggy, and a little sticky. Laurie was feeling a little light headed and was looking for something to eat. It was close to noon and the sidewalks were beginning to fill up with people eating from little hole-in-the-wall restaurants. Laurie spotted some people eating big bowls of wonton soup and decided that is what she wanted. It looked good but hot soup on a hot day did not seem very appealing to me. However, happy wife=happy life, so I went in pursuit of this wonton soup.
Later, while standing, shoulder to shoulder, with dozens of people packed onto the Shanghai subway system, exhausted from 20+ hours of travel I reflected on the title to this post. The subway train had changed direction, heading back towards the airport, five long stops ago, and we had not realized it. We were a little puzzled by the exodus off the train. The train was suddenly almost empty. A little old lady had gestured to me but I had totally misunderstood. Tired and a bit cranky I reflected on the post I had written on the plane and thought to change the title to “This is where the Sh-t gets real!”
How does a person start a blog about his life. It isn’t like blogging about stamp collecting, or paleo cooking, not that there is anything wrong with stamp collecting or paleo cooking. It is just that people’s lives are so much more complex than a single topic. This blog is primarily about transitioning to full time nomadic life. It is also a blog about my life, my journey, and my propensity to go down what I call “rabbit holes”.