Where The Wind Takes Me – Day 2

Where The Wind Takes Me Series - Table of Contents

EntryNotable Places/EventsStart of DayEnd of Day
Day 0 - Apr 21-22 2024Plane (Edmonton > Tokyo)Edmonton, CanadaTokyo, Japan
Day 1 - Tue Apr 23 2024Akihabara, Sensoji, Tokyo Sky Arena, Taiwan Food FestivalTokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 2 - Wed Apr 24 2024Nezu Shrine, Tokyo National MuseumTokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 3 - Thu Apr 25 2024Akihabara, Ginza, Yurakucho, Bocchi the Rock! Exhibition (with Quintopia)Tokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 4 - Fri Apr 26 2024Craft Gyoza Fes, Niku Fes, Odaiba, Kameido Tenjin ShrineTokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 5 - Sat Apr 27 2024Niconico Chokaigi 2024Tokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 6 - Sun Apr 28 2024M3-53Tokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 7 - Mon Apr 29 2024Train (Tokyo > Osaka)Tokyo, JapanOsaka, Japan
Day 8 - Tue Apr 30 2024Tsurumibashi, Expo Commemorative Park, Osaka Station (with Miyu)Osaka, JapanOsaka, Japan
Day 9 - Wed May 01 2024Kyoto, Takenobu Inari Shrine, SaiinOsaka, JapanOsaka, Japan
Day 10 - Thu, May 02 2024Train (Osaka > Tokyo)Osaka, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 11 - Fri May 03 2024Reitaisai 21Tokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 12 - Sat May 04 2024Japan Jam 2024 (with Quintopia)Tokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 13 - Sun May 05 2024National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (with Quintopia)Tokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 14 - Mon May 06 2024Haneda International Airport, Plane (Tokyo > Taipei), Liaoning Night MarketTokyo, JapanTaipei, Taiwan
Day 15 - Tue May 07 2024Taipei Main Station Underground Mall, Ximending Night MarketTaipei, TaiwanTaipei, Taiwan
Day 16 - Wed May 08 2024Shilin Night MarketTaipei, TaiwanTaipei, Taiwan
Day 17 - Thu May 09 2024Raohe Street Night MarketTaipei, TaiwanTaipei, Taiwan
Day 18 - Fri May 10 2024Songjiang Market, Guang Hua Digital Plaza, Shida Night MarketTaipei, TaiwanTaipei, Taiwan
Day 19 - Sat May 11 2024Dihua Street, Huaxi Street Night Market, Guangzhou Street Night MarketTaipei, TaiwanTaipei, Taiwan
Day 20 - Sun May 12 2024Gongguan Night MarketTaipei, TaiwanTaipei, Taiwan
Day 21 - Mon May 13 2024Plane (Taipei > HK), Train (HK > Guangzhou), Stayed with KelTaipei, TaiwanGuangzhou, China
Day 22 - Tue May 14 2024Zhongfu Square, Alpaca Sighting (with Kel), Dinner with Kel, Stayed with KelGuangzhou, ChinaGuangzhou, China
Day 23 - Wed May 15 2024Panyu Square, Dinner with Kel, Stayed with KelGuangzhou, ChinaGuangzhou, China
Day 24 - Thu May 16 2024Nancun Wanbo (with Kel), Stayed with KelGuangzhou, ChinaGuangzhou, China
Day 25 - Fri May 17 2024Train (Guangzhou > Xiamen), Zhongshan RoadGuangzhou, ChinaXiamen, China
Day 26 - Sat May 18 2024Xiamen Railway StationXiamen, ChinaXiamen, China
Day 27 - Sun May 19 2024Mingfa Shopping MallXiamen, ChinaXiamen, China
Day 28 - Mon May 20 2024Train (Xiamen > Guangzhou), Stayed with KelXiamen, ChinaGuangzhou, China
Day 29 - Tue May 21 2024Stayed with KelGuangzhou, ChinaGuangzhou, China
Day 30 - Wed May 22 2024Tianhe Computer Town, Dinner with Kel, Stayed with KelGuangzhou, ChinaGuangzhou, China
Day 31 - Thu May 23 2024Comic City, Shangxiajiu Square, Dinner with Kel, Stayed with KelGuangzhou, ChinaGuangzhou, China
Day 32 - Fri May 24 2024Train (Guangzhou > Hong Kong)Guangzhou, ChinaHong Kong, China

Wednesday, Apr 24 2024 (Day 2)

My computer went offline again, and I had to get Jon to hop over to my house to turn it on again. I did seem to figure out in the end that it was probably the Sleep power-saving setting though, which was set to 1 hour. but that I knew that sometimes doesn’t trigger because I’ve woken up in the middle of the night and the monitor is still on because the machine hasn’t gone to sleep. (It had to have not triggered for me to still access my computer remotely from Calgary airport during Day 0.) I did see this time that one of my last notifications in the Event Log before the computer went unresponsive yesterday was that the machine was going to sleep though. I had missed it before because it wasn’t an Error or Warning, which is what the event log filters out. Anyway the computer was still accessible at the end of Day 2, which is nice.

But we’re jumping forwards. Day 2 was raining heavily and it was also a day where I had nothing in particular scheduled, so I stayed at home in the morning and did my blog and a bunch of tickets for work, as work did blow up a bit. I did go out for breakfast though, at a fancy cafe in the shopping street called Saint Marc Cafe:

It cost like 640 yen, that’s a Fried Egg Danish on top and Potato and Butter Danish Pastry on the bottom, and my own cup of water with a teabag of red tea that I got to steep myself. Fancy. It was really good.

Then I went back to my room and chilled until it was approaching lunch time and I needed to go out hunting and foraging to sustain myself. There were a bunch of little streets around the shoutengai (shopping street) that my lodging was on, so even though it was raining and only the street I was on was covered, while all the side streets were exposed to the elements, I grabbed an umbrella and went out exploring anyway.

After doing a big circle, I ended up at Higashi-Jujo Station again but went east this time, away from where my lodging was located. I ended up at a restaurant called Tonsaran with a cute overhead signboard:

By the menu, this was a Korean restaurant, I went in to eat there, and found that they were one of those restaurants that give you a pre-meal snack while you’re waiting for your order to be cooked.

I ordered something called Hidori Teishoku for lunch — this literally translates as “firebird set meal”, though bird is also pretty much interchangeable with chicken, and fire just meant spicy, but I liked the thought that I was maybe eating a mythical phoenix for lunch.

The restaurant opened at 11 am, and was still nearly empty when I came in at 11:45 am, but it rapidly filled up after I came in and by 12:15 pm when I was about to leave, it was full and there was someone waiting outside the restaurant.

Locals queueing at a store means it’s good, but for this one I had gotten in ahead of the queue, so that was nice and fortuitous. And the meal was really good. It was even mildly spicy.

After this, I took a train for several stops and a transfer, from Higashi-Jujo Station to Todaimae Station on the Namboku Line. I walked from there to a shrine called Nezu Shrine, which had an azalea festival going on with festival stalls and everything, but which I figured would probably be closed due to the rain. Yup. Poor abandoned festival stalls.

The shrine itself was open though and there were definitely still people wandering around. I also bought a goshuin from them, though it was a pre-drawn one that I don’t have glue to paste into my stamp book, rather than a hand-drawn one.

The temple grounds looked like this:

A good chunk of the flower garden was open to the public to view from outside, and thanks to the rain it was probably easier to view since there were less people around.

Although there were still a good number of people there overall. I really liked this next shot I took, because there’s a parallel to be drawn here between the colourful, blooming umbrellas and the colourful, blooming azalea bushes:

Both transient things brought out by the long spring rains. There was a path leading up into the garden itself but it cost 500 yen to enter and the ground was muddy due to the rain, so I decided my money wasn’t that transient and saved myself the fee.

On the way out, I passed a stall that was actually manned! Or rather, it was a food truck, but close enough. No one has enough hands to hold and consume pizza while also holding an umbrella though, so I’m not sure how well they were doing this day.

When the chef locked eyes with me while I was taking a photo of him, I waved to him and he held up a finger, then picked up one of these Japanese ball and stick toys, called a kendama, from the counter. He then proceeded to play with it, flipping it up and catching it on the top of the stick part and grinning as I took a photo of him. That was a fun interaction! I gave him a round of applause.

After leaving the shrine, I decided to walk over toward Ueno, which was south and east of where I was. Specifically, the path I chose would take me past Ueno Zoo and Ueno Park to the Tokyo National Museum. This walk took me nearly an hour or so, which wasn’t as long as yesterday’s walk across town but still got me 20,000 steps on my step tracker app by the end of the day.

I also saw this sign in Ueno Park, with a whole bunch of rules for flower-viewing season, which ended earlier this month in Tokyo.

In particular, I like “Do not use an electric generator and karaoke”. It reminds me of anime scenes that I’ve seen in the past where they have a karaoke machine during blossom viewing. I never really thought about it before.

I passed by a certain temple along the way too which had a peony garden and was also charging people to go in and view them. Unlike Nezu Shrine, this temple had walls around the outside of the garden so people couldn’t see it unless they paid 1,000 yen, and it wasn’t a particularly large garden to boot either (not that I could actually see it). I also went to the main shrine of the temple and they were also charging 500 yen for their goshuin, and it was also not a hand-drawn one, AND it was also not a special one (a special purple-text one which was only available on the 5th, 15th, and 25th of the month whereas today was only the 24th). so not only did I not buy anything from them, but I made sure to not include any photos or mention of them in the blog post either. I think some of these Japanese temples and monks have lost their way a bit over time.

Anyway, one way or another, I got to the Tokyo National Museum after a lot of walking. There were lots of people here, both inside and outside. Admission price was 2,100 yen for a ticket to both the normal and special exhibitions, but they said that the University student entrance fee ws discounted to 1,300 yen instead, and I flashed my student/staff card from the University of Alberta to them and they accepted it! Never mind that I’m not specifically a student this semester. I was within the past 12 months and have not graduated yet, so that should be good enough right?

The museum had interesting umbrella holders:

There were a couple different versions of the umbrella rack, and I liked that they have an entire key and lock system for umbrellas.

The thing about museums and taking pictures of the exhibits is that many people take pictures of stuff in it, as though they were going to go home and then study all the exhibits and their notes afterwards, but no one actually ever goes back and looks at it afterwards themselves, never mind any sort of audience, say perhaps 200-500 years in the future. So instead, I limited myself to one exhibit per gallery that I took a photo of, and then just spent the rest of the time actually absorbing the exhibits (like a vacuum cleaner). Also a good maybe half of the gallery halls, and everything in the special exhibit section, which was about Honen and Pure Land Buddhism (a topic I’ve actually studied a little bit on in my East Asian cultural classes in the past couple years), prohibited photography anyway, which seemed antithetical to the goal of a museum to me as an archivist, but whatever.

Anyway, I then took those pictures and cut them down even further, distilling them to just a handful of photos to present here. For starters, there were a lot of buddha statues and related artifacts in various parts of the two museum buildings, though seeing just a row of Buddha heads by themselves was quite a sight.

There was also a mummy and a human-shaped cartonnage that it was originally encased in:

And a money tree ornament from Ancient China that I liked:

Not every gallery was a showcase of ancient artifacts. One of the exhibits in an interactive area featured a bunch of cushions with what apparently were some sayings from Egypt, Mesopotamia, and China.

I flipped them all to read them. According to them,

  • If you dream of a huge cat, you will have a good harvest.
  • If you dream of drinking water, you will live a long life.
  • If you dream of entering a room in wet clothes, a war will begin.
  • If you dream of eating an apple, your wish will come true.
  • If you dream of wearing funeral clothes, your property will increase.
  • If you dream of eating a pear, you will starve.
  • If you dream of flying, you will get back what you lost.
  • If you dream of drowning in a river, you will be purified of evil.
  • If you dream of catching a bird, your property will be taken away.
  • If you dream of mountains and trees, you have a bad liver.

Okay then. Next up, this exhibit of a “human-shaped object” from India (which was in the Southeast Asia section for some reason).

I really liked this basket bowl and would like one, it was probably the item that moved me the most in the entire museum.

I thought this artist was sort of cleverly cheating his way into a big commission, as these were huge panels:

I lined up this sutra case with a five-storey clay pagoda behind and was somewhat amused:

And I found this room dedicated to Prince Takamado’s netsuke collection, which is a collection of sculptural accessories similar to button fasteners.

This was neat because Prince Takamado was the one who sponsored the Japan Centre in the University of Alberta, which arranged my Ritsumeikan study abroad trip last year, and Princess Takamado had apparently been to the University before to give a lecture on those netsuke. I didn’t manage to go to that lecture though, but I do remember reading about it in a newsletter.

The museum also had a gift shop, which was laid out very weirdly, with a ramp (starting on the near right side of the photo) leading up to a second level (far side of photo) and then a steep flight of stairs (far left side) heading back down from that second level back to the main one.

In that gift shop, I found the exact type of CD that I like to look for and purchase, so I bought it with all the ephemeral money that I saved from not entering flower gardens today:

So that was nice. The museum was also pushing this mascot character hard, but the character is so ugly that I didn’t even want a plushie of it:

Though I like the cactuar sort of posture that it is posed in. Cactuar, from the Final Fantasy game series, are actually cute though.

Finally, there was an interactive station where you could use stamps to build an ukiyo-e (woodblock) style picture on a provided sheet of paper — each woodblock contained a section of the overall picture and were used as reusable (and somewhat customizable, by mixing and matching) stamps to create the image on whatever the final medium was meant to be.

I was utterly exhausted after this and the 30 minute warning bell before closing time had long gone off by then, so I made my way home. I stopped at a restaurant called Renge Shokudou Toshu back in the Jujo shopping alley and had another nice teishoku (set meal) for dinner:

It was delivered by a nice robot.

I’ve eaten mostly Korean, Chinese, and Taiwanese food since coming to Japan, oddly enough. I should branch out. Maybe into Indian food!

One of the shops near the shop that I live in is a used CD and DVD store called Dean, and I picked up a couple cheap CDs from there, literally four of them for 506 yen, two that were on my wishlist and two that were just randomly there and looked interesting while being much too cheap.

I also picked up a couple of socks from a 100 yen store, because I didn’t have enough to cover every day of my travel between washes and I was already getting blisters on my feet from all the walking I had done in the first two days of my trip alone. That wasn’t a good sign. I also picked up my first bottle of banana milk, a drink that I’d discovered and craved from previous trips to Japan.

I slept later in the night than last night, but it was still far too early in general, although I had both a video call from Zian as well as a weekly one-on-one meeting with Ronnie that I had to be up for, so I ended up taking a nap, waking up to do those two calls, and then falling asleep again not too long afterwards. Exhaustion, perhaps in combination with jet lag, is still very much a factor for me so far on the trip though. But it’s probably a good thing overall since it means I’m getting a lot out of my time here.

Also, this poster was on the bathroom wall in my lodging:

Why the fish and piano at the end??? (And the cake at the start, I guess)?

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Where The Wind Takes Me - Day 1

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Where The Wind Takes Me - Day 3

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