20 September 2018- Thursday
Now, sitting at home, it's dawning on me just how unique, how special, and despite how it may have sounded in my blog, how fun it was to travel through Japan.
Tokyo is Japan condensed into a city of immense proportions. I had thought I would walk everywhere but going 2 inches on my tourist map equaled almost 2 hours of walking. So, with a deep breath I faced the Tokyo subway starting at the busiest station in the city... just in time for morning rush hour.
The subway becomes so overcrowded that men have jobs standing on the platform to push people in as tightly as possible in order to allow the doors to close. I would have taken a picture, but we were packed in so close that I didn't even have enough space to lift my arms. I have audible "oofs" as I was mooshed and squished into the far side of the carriage. Thankfully, by the time I made it to my stop I was able to squirm my way out of the car.
On the way to the Imperial Palace, I passed a building with two fancy Pagani sports cars inside. Later I found out these cars are 1.4- 2.4 million dollars each. I'm a little shocked they even let me in the door.
Sushi for lunch and a stop at the well done Edo Era Museum. I found out that Kubuchi Theater, known for male only actors, lots of drumming and sounds made by hand instruments, has been happening since at least the early 17th century. Theaters were huge so acting was over exaggerated and faces were painted white to make them more visible.
I will miss the toilets and the quiet villages scattered in between mountains. I still can't believe such a jungle, full of screaming insects and crickets that sound like bells chiming can turn into a world class ski area. I can't believe the history, the culture, the tradition that exists here.
The traveling was challenging, with road signs in a different alphabet and little to no English spoken in the north, but I made my way. I had help when I needed it, no regrets about how I traveled, and I am leaving with a profound respect for this beautiful place.
Thank you Japan!