Sunday, May 24, 2009

Day 3 in Japan

I have a knack for getting lost during travels with Jase. The April wild goose chase out to the suburbs of London to try to find a museum that was in fact only 200m from our hotel. And two similar incidents in less than 48hours here in Japan, the last of which involved my getting us to our fave soba restaurant in a totally roundabout way, adding 30 mins to a subway trip that should have taken usonly 10. Oh well. It's the jet lag, right? Can't have anything to do with an addled middle aged mind !!

Jase is here for a 6 week residency at the Tokyo Wondersite and I was able to combine a trip to see him with a few days of business in Hong Kong. The slowdown in the media biz does have its rewards, at least until the money runs out......

Friday was a work day for both of us, so not much touring around except for a gym workout together and an opening at a  museum, where Jase was able to mingle and network with Tokyo art types and I was able to enjoy the art and sip bubbly water at a marvelous garden party in the museum's outdoor sculpture garden. 

Saturday morning we boarded the train for a weekend trip to Nikko, a town in the hill country north of Tokyo which houses a world heritage site and magnificent lakes, waterfalls, and hotsprings spas.  Nikko's historical claims to fame are as a training center for Buddhist monks in the 8th century and the burial site for Tokugawa Ieyasu, Japan's first shogun from the late 16th century.

The shrines and pagodas are famed for their elaborate painted wood carvings, some of which are now being restored. Among the not to be missed carvings are a series of monkeys featuring the 'hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil' trio. Yep, that's where this paradigm originated. 

Fun to see.

The entire complex is meant to impress, and it does.  Lots of daytrippers isiting from Tokyo area and elsewhere. We decided to spend two nights which will give us time to sightsee, hike a bit, relax, and enjoy the quiet of the place. They roll up the sideqalks at dusk, and we found only one open restaurant within walking distance oif the hotel. Jase joked that in NYC you can count on the Chinese restaurants to stay open on nights and holidays. Here in Nikko it's the Koreans, and we enjoyed a meal of bibimbap before a quiet evening stroll.

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