Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Tokyo Day 1: Asakusa

We took an overnight bus to Tokyo on Monday night, so we arrived in Asakusa (an area on the edge of Tokyo) on Tuesday morning (after going about an hour out of the way first on the Tokyo train system--oops!). We had spots reserved at the International Youth Hostel there, so we checked in our bags and explored the area some until we could meet our friend Shinya (who we knew from Oregon) and his friend Jessica (an English teacher in Tokyo) later that evening. We got caught in a rather dramatic thunderstorm, which was actually alot of fun, running from shop to shop dodging the downpour.
Shops led to shops which led to a huge temple.
We found out later that it was Senso-ji, the oldest temple in Tokyo (from 645 A.D.)!
Here we are with Shinya and Jessica at this really nice traditional Japanese restraunt Shinya took us to. He is wearing his 'salaryman' outfit--he works about 12-14 hours a day plus a two hour each way commute 6 days a week. It's somewhat extreme, he tells us, but not at all uncommon in Japan.
The entry way to the restraunt where we ate that night. We were still a little hungry afterward and Shinya was very pleased to discover a "Bikuri-Ramen" shop near the hostel. ("Bikuri-Ramen"="Noodle-Suprise")--super-cheap noodles at their finest (better than Toshi's).
The Sumida river and a giant sculpture that sort of resembles a carrot, if you're being polite--near where the hostel was.
Sumida River from the other side featuring some Japanese boats.