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Happily Ever After

Asakusa and the Tomitas

JAPAN | Monday, 19 July 2010 | Views [665] | Comments [3]

Nobuhiko, Sakurako, and baby Iroi; Mom Tomita, me, and Brandon  (photograph by Kanji)

Nobuhiko, Sakurako, and baby Iroi; Mom Tomita, me, and Brandon (photograph by Kanji)

We met up with the Tomita family in Asakusa our third day in Tokyo.  This was Brandon's (and Iori's) first time to Asakusa and our first time to meet Sakurako's hubby, Nobuhiko.

This is the famous Kaminarimon Gate.  Everyone stops to get their photo taken with the large lantern.

Makes for a good "very Japanese-looking" keepsake photo.  Brandon's "I'm huge in Japan" shirt was a delight to Japanese and gaijin (foreigners) alike.

The Kaminarimon Gate is guarded on either side by the god of Thunder and the god of Wind. We took this photo of the god of Thunder, but somehow managed not to get one of the god of Wind.  Trust me, though, it's just as scary looking.  The Gate is the entryway to Nakamise Avenue, which is lined on either side with vendors of just about any Japanese souvenir you might desire.

It wasn't too crowded the day we went (believe me, I've been there when it was far more crowded than this!)

And the covered roof came in handy a little later in the day when it started sprinkling a bit.

We didn't do much shopping this time, but it was fun to spend time together and see the sights!

Among the many vendors was this gem: "Ice cream Burger."  Didn't stop to look at it this time, but we loved the name!

And with most things in Japan, even the most practical is made beautiful.  Check out that ceiling!

At the end of the vendor avenue is the Hozoumon Gate leading into the Sensoji Temple. 

This gate has some beautiful lanterns, as well.

As you walk under the Gate, you can see the Kannon do (Main Temple) is having a bit of face work done.  I love the Japanese practice to wrap up a building under construction like it's a big present.  They don't take down the wrapping until it's complete.  I also love this particular wrapping - the dragon is impressive, don't you agree?

The Five-storied Pagoda is a popular land mark in Asakusa.

In fact, they even sell my favorite anko (red bean paste) cookies in the shape of the Pagoda. 

On the inside of the Kannon Do.

Brandon was impressed by the amount of gold inside the main temple.  Everything was very bright and shiny.  This coupled with the continual drum beat echoing in the temple makes for a very unique atmosphere.  We stopped to get a fortune (like we did at the Naminoue Shrine for New Years.)  This is one of the few places on mainland that offers fortunes in Japanese and English.  Brandon received a "Regular Fortune" and I received a "The Final and Last Fortune."  Mom Tomita assured me that this was not as ominous as it sounded to me, but rather was the last "slightly bad" fortune and my fortune is now on it's way up.  I must say, I am truly thankful that I don't believe in these types of things, even if my fortune is supposed to taking a positive turn soon.  The English translation is often very entertaining, though.  And I do respect that some people do believe these.

We decided the guard dogs on mainland aren't nearly as "cute" as our Okinawa shisa.

The following weekend was a festival of the color orange.  There were many Japanese Lantern plant vendors in the area.

Some of the festival food was quite unusual to us, such as: Scallops and baby octopus on a stick,

and entire fish lightly battered and cooked on a stick.

Nobuhiko was happy to show us that it was quite tasty, though all Brandon and I could picture was the scene from Lord of the Rings when Gollum catches a fish and tears into it. <shudder>  But Nobuhiko enjoyed it, fins, innards, and all. <double shudder>

Just when we knew for certain we were in a foreign country, Brandon spotted a McD's...and all was right with the world.  :)  hehehe  (No, we didn't stop to eat, just for the photo op.)

But we did stop here for drinks and lunch for Iori!  We love all of the fake food in the restaurant windows in Japan.  Especially when it is so adorable!  Who can resist a smiling omelet?  :)

Next up - our Tokyo Cruise.

---Arielle

Comments

1

A couple videos we took from Asakusa:
360 View
http://youtu.be/mYZPunXnXXY?hd=1
Solar Toys
http://youtu.be/QAdW2pKm-pU?hd=1

  Brandon Jul 19, 2010 5:45 PM

2

My parents had their picture taken with that latern too! The baby octopus on a stick...eww and sad!

  Randi Jul 20, 2010 5:16 AM

3

Randi,
So neat that your parents got their photo there, too! Happy memories, I'm sure! :) I've had baby (I call them baby because they're so small...maybe they're just a breed of mini octopus? That would make me feel a little better...but so would calling veal "mini cows." hehehe) octopus in salad before or in bread balls, but I've never forced myself to eat it on a stick. I try all sorts of cultural foods, but I think this one would be where I have to draw the line...I just can't do some textures and this would be one of them. :)
Hope things are well with you guys!

  abcarlson Jul 21, 2010 2:08 PM

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