Our guide for the day was grandson Thomas who shared some of his favorite bits of Tokyo with us.
First stop was the Asakusa Temple Where even the outer gate is thronged.
I am continually delighted to see people on the street in traditional dress. Especially the women in their kimonos. Everything is season specific in Japan. Therefore almost all the kimonos were ink floral.
Even some men wore traditional garments, but most wore dark suits and white shirts and ties.
I learned that pagodas mark the gravesite of Buddhist priests.
Interestingly, Buddhist worship involves several elements of traditional Christian worship such as incense,
water, the well is behind the monkey on the left,
altars, chanting and meditation. We heard priests chanting in several temples.
Not at all in our tradition is the emphasis on luck. Inside the temple one receives a fortune from a numbered drawer.
Mine was Excellent Good Fortune Your request will be granted. The patient will get well. The person you wait for will come. Stan and Thomas were less fortunate, so they tied their fortune on a line to improve it.
We shopped for gifts to bring home in the market leading up to the temple. Tokyo is one of the 4 most expensive cities in the world, sharing the honor with New York, Singapore, and London. Prices were easily translated even for someone as disnumbric as I am. Simply place a decimal point 2 places from the right. Therefore, 1000 yen are worth 10 dollars.
We ate at a favorite Ramen noodle shop
where we bought a ticket from a machine that showed our choice of noodles. Mine was ramen with pork, extra green onions and a soft boiled egg. Very soupy and very delicious.
I learned that the three major varieties of noodles in Japan are ramen, soba which are buckwheat, and udon which are thicker. We enjoyed them all, although I fortunately had a plastic fork in my purse for Stan who has trouble with chopsticks.
Fortified by our ramen, Thomas took us to the Tokyo Skytree. A broadcasting and observation tower, this is the tallest building in Japan and second tallest building in the world at 2,080 feet. After walking through two levels of shops, I lost count of the number of Hello Kitty shops, we took the elevator to the 1,150 feet level for panoramic view of this most densely populated of cities.
Donna Fletcher Crow (US) is the author of forty-some books, mostly novels dealing with the history of British Christianity. She is the author of The Monastery Murders series; The Lord Danvers Victorian True-Crime series; The Elizabeth & Richard literary mysteries, GLASTONBURY,A Novel of the Holy Grail and more.