Author Topic: Shwarmabob's adventures in the Land of the Rising Sun  (Read 7307 times)

Offline Yehoshua

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Re: Shwarmabob's adventures in the Land of the Rising Sun
« Reply #75 on: October 07, 2015, 04:22:08 PM »
I am not sure how they accomplish it but Tsukiji did not smell too bad. We did not purchase any seafood to the great disappointment of Shwarmabob Jr. who was planning to have a barbecue in our apartment. We were not heading to our Tokyo home after the market so there was no way to schlepp a fish around in the summer heat.

On the outskirts of Tsukiji several blocks of small retail shops and restaurants line the narrow lanes. You can find all sorts of seafood and kitchen related goods and tourist souvenirs for sale here. If you don’t keep kosher this supposed to be a great place to eat sushi, but you have to be here before noon for the freshest catch of the day.

Unidentified spices
tokyo-17 by Shwarma Bob, on Flickr

Lines for a good sushi
tokyo-50 by Shwarma Bob, on Flickr

As we wondered along the alleyways, Mrs. Shwarmabob discovered several knife shops and declared that she is not leaving here without a good kitchen knife. There is an overwhelming variety of knives on sale here, some resemble a samurai sword more than a knife. We left with a Santoku, a Japanese version of the standard chef’s knife that can be used for slicing, mincing, and dicing, the “thee virtues” that Santoku stands for.

tokyo-14 by Shwarma Bob, on Flickr

tokyo-16 by Shwarma Bob, on Flickr

tokyo-65 by Shwarma Bob, on Flickr

As we are walking out of the market, we discover that there are fans of Yeshiva University among the fishmongers here. I try to look for a similar t-thirst for Mir, Lakewood, Torah Vodaas, perhaps 770. All of the search was to no avail, Tsukiji Fish Market is firmly in the grips of the Torah Umadda weltanschauung. Rabbi Dr. Belkin, student of the Chofetz Chaim, would be proud.


Lol about the T shirt.

Offline stbaum

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Re: Shwarmabob's adventures in the Land of the Rising Sun
« Reply #76 on: October 07, 2015, 04:28:12 PM »
i just noticed the watermark. LOL
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Offline Yehoshua

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Re: Shwarmabob's adventures in the Land of the Rising Sun
« Reply #77 on: October 07, 2015, 04:29:07 PM »
i just noticed the watermark. LOL
Ha! Lol

Offline shwarmabob

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Re: Shwarmabob's adventures in the Land of the Rising Sun
« Reply #78 on: October 12, 2015, 12:48:44 AM »


The weather is not very cooperating, it is 100 degrees (38 Celsius) on this August day. To escape the heat we make our way to Edo-Tokyo Museum.

This museum as it's name suggests showcases the history of Edo/Tokyo from Tokugawa's rise (1600) until today. The museum looks like a not-too-attractive spaceship from the outside. However, it compensates for its unsightliness on the inside. Several life-size models of buildings, houses, Japanese homes from hundreds of years ago, figurines and maquettes make the exhibitions exiting, somewhat Disney like, that even children can enjoy.

The life-size replica of the wooden Nihonbashi bridge is a good start for our museum walk. Nihonbashi means the bridge (bashi) of Japan (Nihon) in Japanese. This was the last stop of the samurai on their yearly pilgrimage on the Tokaido highway that connected the capital of the emperor, Kyoto, to the shogun's capital, Edo. This is sort of our first stop on our way to the imperial Kyoto.

William Adams, the English samurai, traveled this road in 1613 and observed the orderliness of Japanese society that made getting around a pleasure even back in those days: “Saris was astonished when he saw the quality of the road. Its sand and gravel surface was "wonderfull even" and "where it meeteth with mountains, passage is cut through." The road was divided into leagues, and at the end of each league was a marker in the form of a "faire pine tree trimmed round in the fashion of an arbour"… There were few dangers on the road… Adams explained to Saris that Japan had a tightly regulated system of local government, which imposed a rigorous discipline on the population: "[There is] not a lande better governed in the worlde by civil pollecy." Each town had a governor, and every street was gated. Houses were divided into clusters - with a headman charged with maintaining order - and everyone kept a close eye on the doings of their neighbours, especially after dark when a curfew was imposed.”



As we wonder about the museum, we marvel at the details of the models of cities and castles, sit in ancient carriages and bicycles, observe a tea ceremony. We spend a couple of hours here and are having a great time, that is except one of us who is not a museum fan and “cannot take it any longer”. This person shall remain unidentified. Nevertheless, we have to leave out of consideration for this mysterious individual.





Tati at work


Mommy at work and young Yamato observing


bookshop in 1797 on the Tokai highway


Storefront during WWII


Some sort of AZ festival


If you have time or the the weather is bad I highly recommend visiting the Edo Museum.

Offline Yehoshua

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Re: Shwarmabob's adventures in the Land of the Rising Sun
« Reply #79 on: October 12, 2015, 12:54:31 AM »
Cool museum. 100°F+ heat stinks in August, but it's even worse on Oct (see LA's forecast for the lady few days).

Offline zow

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Re: Shwarmabob's adventures in the Land of the Rising Sun
« Reply #80 on: October 12, 2015, 09:30:34 AM »
This is a top ten trip report, without a doubt.  With three teen children myself, I am identifying with so much you experienced!  Looking forward to the next installment(s). Kol hacavod.

Offline yuguy

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Re: Shwarmabob's adventures in the Land of the Rising Sun
« Reply #81 on: October 12, 2015, 09:37:18 AM »
I am not sure how they accomplish it but Tsukiji did not smell too bad. We did not purchase any seafood to the great disappointment of Shwarmabob Jr. who was planning to have a barbecue in our apartment. We were not heading to our Tokyo home after the market so there was no way to schlepp a fish around in the summer heat.

As we are walking out of the market, we discover that there are fans of Yeshiva University among the fishmongers here. I try to look for a similar t-thirst for Mir, Lakewood, Torah Vodaas, perhaps 770. All of the search was to no avail, Tsukiji Fish Market is firmly in the grips of the Torah Umadda weltanschauung. Rabbi Dr. Belkin, student of the Chofetz Chaim, would be proud.



Lol I need to get that shirt when I go there in April! Great TR!

Offline shwarmabob

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Re: Shwarmabob's adventures in the Land of the Rising Sun
« Reply #82 on: October 20, 2015, 06:34:11 PM »
There is a dining area on the ground floor at Edo Museum. That is where we lay out sumptuous lunch. The ladies are less than thrilled with the menu and after a few bites compare our main course to dog food. Shwarmabob Jr., however, seems more enthusiastic and declares that the longer you chew our kosher beef biltong the better it taste. I think I will take him to South Africa as a reward.

Being that it is Friday, I encourage the troops to hold out for a few more hours until our Shabbos queen brings mishneh lechem vekidush rabah. Since many TRs include the dining experience I didn’t want to leave out the visuals for this either:



From Edo Museum we take the metro to the Imperial Palace. The palace is the original site of Edo castle. Edo castle was the residence of the Tokugawa shoguns for 260 years until the Meiji restoration. Then in 1867-68, after a few bloody battles “the Emperor of Japan announces to the sovereigns of all foreign countries and to their subjects that permission has been granted to the Shogun Tokugawa Yoshinobu to return the governing power in accordance with his own request.”
The shoguns are out and the emperors are in. In power and in the kokyo, the Imperial Palace.

There were some hiccups in their rule of course at the end of WWII, when General MacArthur marched in smoking his pipe. He forced a new constitution on the Japan and Emperor Hirohito became a symbolic figurehead. There are those that argued that even before 1945 Hirohito did not have the real power. This argument is in fact what saved him from being branded as a war criminal thereby saving his life. Today Hirohito's son, Emperor Akihito and his family reside in the palace.

Much of the original Edo castle has been destroyed by fires and WWII, but the palace ground has a nice garden. It is possible to arrange a visit to the palace on the Imperial website. I tried but was unable to book a guided tour. The site was often unavailable, probably due to the system admins participating in a tea ceremony.

We arrive at the castle in the afternoon heat and discover that their Majesties, the Emperor and Empress Akihito do not let us in uninvited. We decide not to press the issue, we will look at other palaces and gardens later on our voyage. (Indeed travelers write that if you are heading to Kyoto than don't bother with the gardens in Tokyo.)

tokyo-138 by Shwarma Bob, on Flickr

tokyo-140 by Shwarma Bob, on Flickr

tokyo-141 by Shwarma Bob, on Flickr

tokyo-148 by Shwarma Bob, on Flickr

tokyo-149 by Shwarma Bob, on Flickr

tokyo-151 by Shwarma Bob, on Flickr

We walk around the moats that surround the walls of the palace looking for the famous photo spot at the Niju-Bashi Bridge. We keep walking and walking in the heat. Mrs. Shwarmabob gives up and sits down under a tree. We leave some water with her and keep on going and going. Our perseverance doesn't pay off - we never find Niju-Bashi Bridge.

Offline Yehoshua

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Re: Shwarmabob's adventures in the Land of the Rising Sun
« Reply #83 on: October 20, 2015, 06:49:00 PM »
Taking a trip in 100F heat is hard. I can sympathize with Mrs. Shwarmabob on this one. Great pics.

Offline stbaum

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Re: Shwarmabob's adventures in the Land of the Rising Sun
« Reply #84 on: October 21, 2015, 10:06:43 AM »
why is the water so green? pollution?
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Offline shwarmabob

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Re: Shwarmabob's adventures in the Land of the Rising Sun
« Reply #85 on: October 21, 2015, 12:10:39 PM »
why is the water so green? pollution?
algae:

There are 12 moats around the Imperial Palace, including the Chidorigafuchi moat, a famous spot for cherry blossoms, and the Hibiyabori moat near the central government offices in Kasumigaseki. The moats hold a combined 450,000 cubic meters of water.

A major problem is the explosive growth of blue-green algae in summer. Higher water temperatures raise the concentration of such nutrients as nitrogen compounds, resulting in algae-clogged moats that emit a foul smell.

According to the ministry's Kokyogaien National Garden Office which manages the moats, water quality has been deteriorating because clean water has stopped flowing into the moats and water does not circulate.

Clean water once flowed in from the Tamagawa Aqueduct, built during the Edo period (1603-1867). The Yodobashi water treatment plant in Shinjuku Ward, which supplied the moats with clean water, was shut down in 1965.

Rainwater is now the only source of clean water that flows into the moats. To make matters worse, water quality is further degraded by human waste spilling out of sewer pipes during heavy rain.

The ministry has installed new facilities to purify moat water and remove algae based on a water quality improvement plan drawn up in 2010. However, this measure failed to stop the massive buildup of the algae.
- See more at: http://news.asiaone.com/news/asia/tokyo-palace-moats-may-get-subway-water-cleanup#sthash.RIwl1Vnn.dpuf

Offline MosheD

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Re: Shwarmabob's adventures in the Land of the Rising Sun
« Reply #86 on: October 21, 2015, 12:37:33 PM »
Ooc, were you this into history/random facts before Ddf or only now because it improves appreciation for destination? You seem very knowledgeable

Offline shwarmabob

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Re: Shwarmabob's adventures in the Land of the Rising Sun
« Reply #87 on: October 21, 2015, 03:44:46 PM »
Ooc, were you this into history/random facts before Ddf or only now because it improves appreciation for destination? You seem very knowledgeable

Thank you. I was already nuts before Ddf

The above lines about the algae is a quote verbatim from an article that addresses the algae and pollution issue in the moats. see the above link http://news.asiaone.com/news/asia/tokyo-palace-moats-may-get-subway-water-cleanup#sthash.RIwl1Vnn.dpuf

So, no I did not actually know that "The moats hold a combined 450,000 cubic meters of water." - I am not that crazy - until I read that article myself as I was pondering stbaum's observation.

It is also possible that I overdid the colors enhancement in Lightroom. Since the pictures were taken midday, they were a bit "washed-out", maybe the green is too green now.

As far as history is concerned, yes, I did know a few things before this trip :) but I find that the more you prepare the more you appreciate the place/people/history. You find beauty and joy in the process of discovery and intellectual challenge. Naturally, you don't even have to travel great geographical distances for this. Some cannot/don't travel geographically and still travel "in their mind" (I am not referring to chemical substances).

Others, when they travel, seek out similar setting to what they already know and are comfortable with - staying in the same type of hotel/eat in the same type of restaurant/meet the same people. This is not a criticism of anyone, each has to find the right balance, whatever you decide how far out of your comfort zone you want to go.

random facts

 :o Not sure what are you referring to? That Generalissimo Douglas MacArthur theatrically marched around with his pipe?


Maybe it's the age, ich bin ein alter kaker, but not as old as MacArthur when he said:

"...When I joined the Army, even before the turn of the century, it was the fulfillment of all of my boyish hopes and dreams. The world has turned over many times since I took the oath on the plain at West Point, and the hopes and dreams have long since vanished, but I still remember the refrain of one of the most popular barrack ballads of that day which proclaimed most proudly that "old soldiers never die; they just fade away.
And like the old soldier of that ballad, I now close my military career and just fade away, an old soldier who tried to do his duty as God gave him the light to see that duty.
Good Bye."

You gotto love this stuff

Offline AharonInIsrael

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Re: Shwarmabob's adventures in the Land of the Rising Sun
« Reply #88 on: October 21, 2015, 04:03:43 PM »
Being that it is Friday, I encourage the troops to hold out for a few more hours until our Shabbos queen brings mishneh lechem vekidush rabah. Since many TRs include the dining experience I didn’t want to leave out the visuals for this either:


Haha, love it!

Offline Yehoshua

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Re: Shwarmabob's adventures in the Land of the Rising Sun
« Reply #89 on: October 21, 2015, 04:51:07 PM »
Others, when they travel, seek out similar setting to what they already know and are comfortable with - staying in the same type of hotel/eat in the same type of restaurant/meet the same people. This is not a criticism of anyone, each has to find the right balance, whatever you decide how far out of your comfort zone you want to go.
What's the point of that? Isn't the main reason people travel (for leisure) to experience different cultures, eat different food (when kosher is available), and see different places? In fact the thing I miss out most when travelling is the food, since kosher isn't available in many places (and even when it is, it's not always local cuisine rather traditional Jewish/Israeli food).

I'm on your side here.