[The American Years]

Monday, November 13, 2006


Greetings from Japan, where the word for 'loud' and the word for 'annoying' are the same word. You can't be loud without being annoying here. (I guess they have heard me singing karaoke.)
We took a weekend trip to Tokyo last month. Below is a slideshow of our fun.

Of note: we went to NHK (translated PBS, or occasionally CBC depending on your dictionary) and visited the "Studio Park", full of NHK fun. I got to try my hand at broadcasting. Note the assured gleam in my eye while I read the news.

NHK studios are in Shibuya, a vibrant and bustling area of Tokyo. 'Vibrant and bustling' sounds like Frommer's-speak for 'crowded'. It was crowded, but a lot of fun. The crowds are part of the fun. The intersection right in front of Shibuya station is said to be the busiest pedestrian intersection in the world. It's a great place to people-watch.

We took a guided bus tour the next day, and saw the sights like the tourists we are. Highlights included: the Shinto shrine where we saw wedding parties marching off to their ceremonies, the Imperial palace gardens where even the police cars (lovely hybrid cars I might add) are adorned with the imperial symbol of the crysanthemum, and the harbor cruise where our kids became tourist attractions themselves.

When you think of Tokyo Station, you probably think of some modern glass-and-steel structure. But it's all brick, built in the early 20th century, and based on a train station in Holland somewhere.

This was our first ride as a family on the Shinkansen, or bullet train. 275km/hour converts to 'flat-out haulin' in the metric to Kentuckian conversion chart. Zane was particularly impressed.

We had heard such stories about supercrowded subway trains in Tokyo, but we were lucky enough to miss rush hour. Preparing for the worst, I had my Japanese speaking friends help me with these cards worn by the kids.

We are thankful that nobody got separated or lost. Well, that's not exactly true. We all got lost, but we were all together, following me!


Deceiving a deceiver is no knavery. Source: Japanese Proverb

(Knaving a knaver, however...)



Anonymous said...

The Zepplin tshirt is the perfect touch.

Phil M. said...

I loved the music on this video! Who was it? I thought I was watching a scene from "Lost in Translation". By the way, tell Zane that his katakana looked great! I'm impressed!

ET said...

Music is "New Slang" by the Shins. (Used without permission.) It does have a cinematic feel, I agree. It's from the Garden State soundtrack. Thanks for the comments!