Friday, October 26, 2007

Saturday 20th Akihabara, Kanda Jinja and Adolfo

I'll be uploading several days at a time to help catch up on this blog. My internet connection is a cable connection in the ryokan office. We usually leave early in the morning before the office opens and arrive too tired to work on this. An annoying thing is that Blogger assumes I am Japanese and puts all the site text in Japanese. Even choosing an alternative language in the browser does not solve this. Good thing my memory is good enough to navigate the menus.

OK on to the reports:

Saturday the 20th was Akihabara day. We arose early and had our morning walk, Cindy and Steven took pictures, and had a traditional Japanese breakfast. Getting to Akihabara was easy as it was a direct shot on the Ginza subway line. I called Adolfo and left a message on his phone the day before and told him to call us when he was on his way. We reached a nearby station and had no trouble finding our way to this famous location with its mass of electronic, game, manga, anime, and model shops. I kept my eye out for certain shops so we check out a little of Toranoana and some model shops where I bought an Anaheim Electronics tote bag and a red t-shirt with Char from Gundam on it. Later I would find out that the large text on the shirt translates as "because I am a boy" as in a kid. At this point we needed to find necessary facilities and headed to the JR Akihabara train station. It did not take us long to realize that the restrooms were inside the paid areas. So we exited at the plaza and started scouting for nonsmoking coffee shops. After a couple of failures we located one where the smokers were in a separate glazed in room. Pastries, coffee and OJ in hand we settled in for a break, and used the facilities.

Adolfo called to say he would be late. I then suggested we head for Kanda Jinja, a significant shrine located on a hill nearby. Steven and Cindy did not know of this shrine so they were in a for a treat as we turned the corner near the main gate. Like all of the shrines we visited there were worshipers entering and leaving. There was also a wedding in the reception hall which meant children were in abundance, the shrine had placed three very large blowup animals on the ground to amuse the children. This mixture of the old and new is an excellent example of the way viable traditions change over time in Japan and avoid becoming mere sterile museums of the past.

Cindy and Steven took pictures. I'll try to do some photo supplements at a later date, likely after we return to California as I have little free time to concentrate on image manipulation or even write for this blog.

After some time Adolfo called to tell us he was on his way and we headed back to meet him. Meeting up with Adolfo was a joy as I had not seen him in some time. I introduced him to Cindy, Steven had already met him a couple of years ago, I then passed on the greetings from the various folks at work naming each person. Adolfo was one of our favorite student workers when he attended Golden Gate University. Seeing Akihabara with him was fun as he knew the area but did not know of the famous anime and manga related shops so I was able to show him around some, including a very adult, 18 and over only basement shop. He is fun to tease.

After some time wandering around and having a coffee break we called it a day and headed back to the ryokan, stopping at a noodle shop for dinner.

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