Author Topic: Shwarmabob's adventures in the Land of the Rising Sun  (Read 19551 times)

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!

Online 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 didnít 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 ďthe 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.Ē
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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Online 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

Online 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 didnít 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.

Offline tzifanya54

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Re: Shwarmabob's adventures in the Land of the Rising Sun
« Reply #90 on: October 22, 2015, 10:53:25 PM »
Just read the whole thing in one sitting! Amazing stuff. And yea I gotta agree you do know a lot of random stuff!

Online shwarmabob

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Re: Shwarmabob's adventures in the Land of the Rising Sun
« Reply #91 on: October 22, 2015, 11:51:07 PM »
Just read the whole thing in one sitting! Amazing stuff. And yea I gotta agree you do know a lot of random stuff!
Thank you for all the encouragement from everyone :)
there is nothing random here - except the Amundsen story.

When I was young my teachers were the old.
I gave up fire for form till I was cold.
I suffered like a metal being cast.
I went to school to age to learn the past.
~ Robert Frost

Online shwarmabob

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Re: Shwarmabob's adventures in the Land of the Rising Sun
« Reply #92 on: October 23, 2015, 12:01:57 AM »
Between the jet leg, the heat and the constant walking we are all exhausted. Time to head back to our apartment in Minatoku to prepare for Shabbos.
You may be in a hurry but do not rush in the metro:



and if a creepy fellow like ol' Bill Clinton starts up with you or someone else, please express your dissatisfaction:
« Last Edit: October 23, 2015, 12:39:50 AM by shwarmabob »

Offline coralsnake

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Re: Shwarmabob's adventures in the Land of the Rising Sun
« Reply #93 on: October 26, 2015, 02:35:54 PM »
I see that racism is alive and well in the Orient
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Offline Yehoshua

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Re: Shwarmabob's adventures in the Land of the Rising Sun
« Reply #94 on: October 26, 2015, 02:38:42 PM »
I see that racism is alive and well in the Orient
lol

Online shwarmabob

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Re: Shwarmabob's adventures in the Land of the Rising Sun
« Reply #95 on: October 28, 2015, 05:35:09 PM »
On the way home we visit to a Seven Eleven convenience store which is conveniently located around the corner from our apartment. We load up on drinks for the soon-to-be-arriving day of rest. Yes, I already hear the rumbling of the Kashrus police coming after meÖ so if you are curious, itís orange juice, milk, beer and eggs in the shopping bag. We keep the neshamos of the Shwarmabob hatchings pure so they only drink beer. The parentsí souls are already knackered and weary so we need milk with our coffees.

As I turn around to head out of the store, guess what I see, my heart starts racing and I didnít even have the right beverage yet! I reach into my pocket searching for the right credit card to use Ė multiply those numbers by 5 points Ė where does that take us?



Then it downs on me where I am; no point run today, yet itís not a bad place to greet Shabbos HaMalka.

Offline Yehoshua

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Re: Shwarmabob's adventures in the Land of the Rising Sun
« Reply #96 on: October 28, 2015, 05:44:27 PM »
Lol!!! Too bad.

Offline stbaum

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Re: Shwarmabob's adventures in the Land of the Rising Sun
« Reply #97 on: October 29, 2015, 09:52:19 AM »
We keep the neshamos of the Shwarmabob hatchings pure so they only drink beer. The parentsí souls are already knackered and weary so we need milk with our coffees.

lol
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Online shwarmabob

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Re: Shwarmabob's adventures in the Land of the Rising Sun
« Reply #98 on: June 22, 2016, 04:26:31 PM »
After freshening up and resting an hour, itís time to head to shul. Mrs. Shwarmabob takes a rain check, she is completely out due to the heat, our earlier walks and jet leg. Our attempts to convince her donít work, so with a heavy heart we set out on our own. I memorized the route and I really hope that I wonít meet Mr. Amnesia on the way. There is no eruv here and I canít remember either the address of our apartment or the address of Chabad, but I walked through these streets before. Not in a previous life, but on Google Streets.

BĒH we find Chabad, a shul with sefarim, an interesting and friendly minyan of people and delicious dinner. Apparently, the local custom is that everyone new has to say a vort. I say something semi-intelligent about Derech Eretz, the Japanese and Pirkei Avos. Sadly, this rubs some folks visiting from the Holy Land the wrong way who wonít talk to me after this. Oh well, excusez moi, we have a great time with the rabbi, the Sake, Dr. Tuna and other visitors.

Shabbos morning I sleep in and wake up at 6am. I experiment with dissolving instant coffee with cold water and milk and sip the resulting mixture on the small balcony overlooking the hushed side street for the next couple of hours. Itís the only time I experienced quietness and cool temperature during our stay in Tokyo. As I ponder life observing an elderly lady watering flowers across the street, a young boy of bar mitzvah age riding a bicycle down the alleyway, the feeling downs on me just how totally unexpected our being here is. When I was that boyís age riding my bike, Japan was not even a dream; even much closer destinations were unattainable. Time ticks away, the sun rises higher on the horizon and with it the heat returns and the rest of the Shwarmabobs awaken.

We spend Shabbos in shul and later walk around a bit in Minatoku. As Maariv approaches, there is a tremendous fireworks, everyone piles out to the roofs and to the streets. As I later find out we are witnessing the Sumida River Fireworks Festival. The festival dates back to 1733, when it was established as a ceremony for remembering the victims of a famine the previous year. When we get to shul, we have to wait until the minyan returns from the park where they went to have a better view of the spectacle.



After Shabbos we go out to Roppongi Hills which is close enough to make it home before the metro shuts down. Roppongi is the music, club and bar center of Tokyo. Lots of people walking about, maybe it's the Motzei Shabbos hang out place. It used to be the center of the Japanese mafia/Yakuza, and maybe it is still. There are a few hustlers out on the streets trying to get some tourists into overprices bars. I am the frugal type, Mrs. Shwarmabob keeps an eye on me, they got no chance and they seem to know it. We chill out as Shwarmabob Jr calls it; have a coke at a cinema complex, attempt to take pictures of Tokyo tower in the dark without a tripod and decide to go back to the apartment before the metro stops running.


Offline Yehoshua

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Re: Shwarmabob's adventures in the Land of the Rising Sun
« Reply #99 on: June 22, 2016, 04:31:29 PM »
Thanks for the continuation!