Weekend in Tokyo
|07/02/2012||Posted by Marie A Gleason under Asia, Short Term Programs, Summer Session||
Submitted by Megan Czerwinski on the 2012 summer session program in Kobe, Japan sponsored by the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures…
Our group participated in many cultural activities this week like ikebana (flower arranging) and a tea ceremony. Over the weekend, I made an excursion on my own to Tokyo which is about two hours away from Kobe by shinkansen (bullet train). I spent most of my time in the suburbs outside of Tokyo, but I was able to visit a few distinct areas within the city.
The first was Harajuku which is known for fashion, and I was very surprised at how small the area is. The number of larger chain stores didn’t fit my initial impression of the alternative culture of the area. I made a brief visit to Akihabara which is known for electronics and anime, and there was immediately a huge difference in atmosphere, with large screens everywhere playing new music videos and advertisements on every building.
The most interesting area was Asakusa, a section of the city dominated by a large temple that still evokes the feeling of Edo Japan. There were traditional festival food stalls and souvenir shops selling traditional goods along the streets leading up to the temple. While Asakusa was very crowded and the Tokyo Sky Tree was still visible, the presence of the temple made it feel like its own secluded area.
I also got an omikuji at the temple, a type of fortune, which said I’ll have good luck soon!