Tales from Tokyo

Originally published on 7 June 2006. This post is part of a longer series of “e-mails to home” from my first ever trip abroad to Japan!

Ohayo-gozaimasu! (Good morning!) Time for more of Quick Whit’s World Travels. I forgot a couple of things about Sunday in Tokyo, so here are a couple more stories!

Before we went to the mountains and shrine in the woods, Mr. Fujita and Hiro took me to this place where they make gravestones. Sounds a little weird, but really, it was neat. They do beautiful stonework in Japan, and they make huge statues to honor their dead, so we took pictures with them. Again, a little weird, but death isn’t quite as taboo here. You do have to hide your thumb when you pass a graveyard, though!


Then we went to this beautiful traditional Japanese home. It’s actually only 6 months old, but it’s been made to look just like the real thing from hundreds of years ago. It was gorgeous. The inside of the house was half traditional, half modern. The floors were all tatami (bamboo). They also have a designated tea room, which is used for the all important tea ceremonies. I haven’t been to one yet, but I think the Kodas will try to take us to one at some point. I can’t wait!

So anyway, the modern touches they had in the house were non-intrusive to the traditional part, but were very convenient and extremely interesting! They made a point to take me to the bathroom and stand in front of the toilet. Much to my surprise, the lid went up! And the seat was heated, too. I’m telling you, heated potties need to make their way to the US very soon! Oh, and of course it flushed on its own. Very nice!

The kitchen was marvelous as well. Everything was very new and automatic. The house was just huge, especially for a Japanese style home. They have an orange orchard behind the house (on their own personal mountain). It’s not orange season, but they made a point to say that in the fall I can come back to pick as many as I want!

After my education on Japanese-style homes, we went to the grocery where I played the part of the awe-struck American tourist and took pictures of the salmon they had just sitting out there. I nearly had a heart attack when I heard and saw one still flopping on the ice!

In other news, today has been a great day so far: clear, sunny, and hot! I went riding my bike for a while and just saw what’s around. Ise City’s bigger than I thought. I have the day off on Friday, so I’ll get to explore some more. It’s supposed to be the rainy season, and it’s been overcast every morning except today, so I’m not sure what the weather will do, but I sure hope Friday’s as pretty as today. I’d like to ride my bike to Naiku (the Inner Shrine, where the Kodas took us a few weeks ago). There are a lot of things I’d like to see again.

So now I’m about to eat lunch and head to work. I hope everyone has had a wonderful week so far! Love, Whit

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