Tokyo: Byte 2

Trip Start Jun 01, 2008
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47
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of Japan  , Kanto,
Thursday, December 25, 2008

Having been up really early everyday i layed in deciding to make the most of the lights for one evening so headed out much later to a temple called Sesno Ji, which was beautiful and breathtaking. I saw it from afar after spotting the 5 storied pagoda from the street and made my way past the buddha statues before passing through Thunder Gate past two towering statues of Fuijin the God of Wind and Raijin the God of Thunder. And let me tell you, you would not want to feel their wrath, incredibly cool but equally ferocious!
So through the gate the temple was alight with colour and as i approached i could hear the gentle hum of singing as two people stood at the gates praying whilst others tossed coins to the offering box before clapping and bowing at the shrine.
It was pouring with rain but it could not possibly detract from the amazing beauty of this place, the paper lanterns were massive and bright, whilst the bases were laden with traditional japanese art and then metal lanterns with intricate golden patterns adorning them. Whilst the shere scale of the shrine, the entrance gate and all that surrounded it just made most places i'd seen pale in comparison.
I soon retreated from the freezing rain and wind and left back to my hostel for a night of chilling and watching films!
Next day was the Emporers birthday, now i was advised by the Tokyo tourist board that everything to do with the palace and it's gardens were shut, i however did not believe them, lonely planet told me different. So i headed down to find throngs of people moving in and around the palace, locals who had seen the Emporer speak clutched japanese flags as i joined the crowds crossing over the mote and through the gate that allowed us past the huge stone walls that flank the palace to sign the birthday greetings book and then entered into the vast gardens where i was lucky enough to find early cherry blossoms blooming. They were stunning and my new camera got out to some serious use! So i strolled across the huge lawn to the stone ruins of a tower that used to be part of the palace and then along the winding paths thrugh the bamboo gardens the rose gardens, up to an old battle defence base, and back up to the main gardens where i saw bonsai trees, lakes, small waterfalls traditional japanese stone garden ornaments, koi fish swimming in ponds and looked out over the gardens into the city.
It was beautiful, tens of traditional japanese buildings were dotted around so i took in the detail of those as i headed back to the main gate and into the busy streets.
Next after a trip via Akihabara for some touristy purchasing i headed to Shibuya, something i could never have been prepared for. The scale of the building, the brightness of the lights, the noise, the thousands upon thousands of people and of course the world famous 8 way pedestrian crossing!
I rushed along the streets in the busy crowds collecting free packs of tissues like they were going out of fashion whilst exploring huge stores, taking in the unbelievably busy crossing, and of course crossing it a few times.
It was a complete sensory overload. Music blasting from every shop, hundreds of shop workers with loud speakers, cars buses and hummers lined with TV's thousands of japanese christmas shopping it was pretty intense but i have to say i kinda enjoyed the madness! It was a definite experience of japanese consumer culture!
My last day was spent wondering around Ginza, hanging out in Hibyia park watching the koi swim peacefully and exploring the tiny side streets. Not before partying on Christmas eve by dancing to DJ's whose main music base comes from old nintendo games that they then add beats baselines and crazy mixes. Oh and they dance, completely out of time, but who cares they are loving it and so are we. It was pretty cool we drank sake, danced and did this weird thing where you all plug into a big headphone point and dance without pulling your headphones out in very close quarters!!

All in all Japan is without a doubt one of the coolest places on earth. Intense busy but amazingly cool!
Oh and the people are so sweet i wanna get their respect and friendliness and bottle it! The world could do with a dose of these mega polite people!
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