Friday, December 19, 2008


That is to say, welcome! Come in! in fact, you can't walk into a place of commerce (shop, restaurant, bank) with out all the employees chiming in together in a chorus of "irashaimase!" I'm blogging this post behind because we didn't have wireless internet at our last place.

Above is the train platform at the end of a long journey. After awaking at3am on a -20 degree night in Denver, we got on a 2 1/2 hour plane flight to LAX, where we proceeded to walk across the airport, check in again, stand in a hugely long security line, and arrive at the gate just as they were loading. It's a good thing Korean Air planes are spacious. Next time I think we will take a grayhound to LA and then fly, because international flights just kinda  put the US carriers to shame. Two generous meals, a snack, lots of beverage service (including free wine) and free movies running in the cabin.  Makes 11 1/2 hours go a little better.

Here's a weary traveler preparing for the last little leg of the journey, a half hour train ride into the heart of Tokyo, and a walk to the hotel.

The hotel was modest and justly priced, though there was a minute rate for the showers... Futons, by the way, are about the greatest sleeping surfaces EVER. I wish we could bring one home. We were in a nice quiet neighborhood, with small store fronts and factories. But there's always room for a shrine, and a budda with an apron.

This was a site with family shrines, we might call it a cemetary, however in buddist culture people are always cremated. In fact, it is illegal in Japan to bury dead, because they would run out of space real quick.

The weather BTW has been partly cloudy and a little but rainy, but much warmer (50's or so) then Colorado. I'm actually amused by the people walking around huddled against the cold.

Here's a little piece of interesting graffiti. Not just because it's in english. It has scrolling "you are what you buy" and at the bottom "ignorance is strength". The cute smiling guy, is the police mascot. Kinda a symbol of how the police are viewed here. Nice guys who give directions on street corners and are generally helpful. To be fair, there isn't much else for them to be doing. A women was hit by a car, and that was the news story for two days on EVERY station. There was a house fire and a school boy saved his elderly neighbor, so now that's all they have to talk about on the news... Don't know what they're getting out here, but interesting to see some people consider it a "police state"

That's the news for today, tomorrow we go to Ueno park and then Shinjuku.

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