Sunday, March 29, 2009

So long for now, heated toilet

Few things in the world can bring such placid moments as a heated toilet seat that also allows one to use a bidet, vibrate, and for those less private moments emit an electronically initiated flushing noise. What happens when you become used to such pleasures and then have them taken away? Toilet withdrawal.

During the last two days of our time in Tokyo, we ran around, checked out some familiar sites and stumbled across some new ones.

One of the first stops was Edo Museum- located right next to the Sumo Hall at Ryogokyu Station. For 600 Yen, you can ascend six stories to the spacious viewing floors and check out all sorts of cool exhibits from mustachioed Samurai armor to replica dioramas of ancient Edo settlements (complete with little binoculars to look out across all the tiny people and buildings).

We then had a really nice tie-in of all things Japan: a wide variety of wood cutting prints showing sakura blossoms and iconic snow-capped Fuji- our winter nemesis- decked out in tons of color. From Edo Museum this was a solid transition into sakura blossoms alongside the Imperial Palace and Yasakuni Shrine.

Alongside the Imperial Palace and located midway to the Tokyo Station railway stop is one of my favorite statues- this being of the brilliant tactician and loyal Samurai Kusunoki Masashige. Masashige is known for giving his life in protection of the Emperor during the 14th Century:

"During an internal power struggle, the Emperor insisted that Kusunoki meet another Shogun's superior forces in the field in a pitched battle. Kusunoki, in what would later be viewed as the ultimate act of samurai loyalty, obediently accepted his Emperor's foolish command, left his death poem with his young son and knowingly marched his army into almost certain death. The battle, which took place in modern-day Kobe, was a tactical disaster. Kusunoki, his army completely surrounded, committed suicide along with 600 of his surviving troops. According to legend, his last words were Shichisei Hōkoku! (七生報國; "Would that I had seven lives to give for my country!")"- Wikipedia

And then it was time to go. Off to Narita we went complete with tons and tons of bags. Reid, Hiromi, Schactler and Peterson all surprised me with a birthday cake at the airport, which was a complete surprise and flattering to say the least.

Then we processed through customs, had some last minute sushi, a last glimpse for now at cool & campy Japanese signs. And then Japan slipped beneath the wing of our 777 bound for Seattle.

I'll miss you heated toilet.

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