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SOLO JAPAN II 14.-28.3.2004.
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conclusion of my trip | photo gallery II
Saturday, 20th of March 2004
Tokyo

Day Seven:
Edo Museum

Cold morning inside

The weather this morning was very cold and rainy, definitely not a day for outdoor activities. The air was so humid that water was condensing around the front door and the room temperature was lower than I've been used to in Finland even during winter time (we tend to keep the room temperature around +21 degrees Celsius which is easy thanks to central heating).

The low temperature in Shiho's apartment was partly because the apartment doesn't have central heating (not common in Japan) and Shiho - like many other Japanese - tends to use the electric heater as little as possible because electricity in Japan is expensive.

Perfect weather for a museum visit

After breakfast we decided to go to the Edo-Tokyo Museum. I didn't plan to visit any major museums during my stay in Japan, but the weather wasn't going to get any better, so I thought I'd give it a shot after all.

We walked to the station, took the Yamanote line and transferred to the Soobu line before arriving outside the museum. Near the entrance there were lots of umbrella locker stands where visitors could leave their umbrellas safely for a 100 yen coin deposit in exchange for the key.

High tourist count

The tourist concentration inside the museum was obviously the highest I've ever seen in Japan, but the museum was still big enough to consume all of us without the need to use elbow tactics to move forward.

Unfortunately I'm not going to give a detailed history lesson of the edo-period (1600-1868) in Japan. In short, it was a time in Japan when it decided to be isolated from the outside world and enjoyed an amazing long period of peace (over 250 years!). Peace and isolation made this a culturally very rich period in Japan. The name "Edo" comes from the capital of Japan of that time, which is now known as Tokyo.

I have to admit there was a lot of interesting things to see and learn in the museum and as a bonus most of the things on display were allowed to be photographed (sometimes using a flash was prohibited, but nothing more).

Just as we were about to leave, I was asked to fill a questionnaire that was given to other tourists as well. It mainly asked why I came to Japan, what places I've visited, etc. As a reward I was given a box of incense (which had a not so traditional smell of vanilla).

Visiting a Japanese family

We then left the museum and went to meet a relative of Shiho's. This was a very interesting visit, but unfortunately I won't write about it here in respect of privacy. All I can say that it gave me a chance to see more of the real Japan and was one of the highlights of my trip, yet I'm not going to tell you about it. This must be pretty annoying to you readers. Gomen nasai. ^^;

Mitsubishi motors scandal

It was pretty late in the evening when we returned to Shiho's apartment. While watching the evening news, it became clear that one of the hottest news topics right now was related to Mitsubishi motors.

They have been accused of hiding a major design fault in the wheel hubs of their trucks and cars. They actually crack loose alarmingly often while driving and in one incident a wheel flew right towards a woman and her child, killing the woman and seriously injuring the child.

Mitsubishi motors has been very reluctant to admit any flaw, but now there was a press conference where the head of the company made a public apology (a very big thing in Japan!). Despite this the media seems to be ripping the company apart right now and to my knowledge this has been going on all summer this year. Not a good year for Mitsubishi motors then.

Splendid day

That was pretty much the story for today. It might have seemed to be a dull day travelogue-wise due to a museum and a family visit I'm not even going to write about, but for me it was one of the most educating days of my trip so far.

back to top | proceed to day eight!


Photo copyright Ude
Walking along a rainy street in Mejiro, Tokyo.

Photo copyright Ude
The edo-museum. No, it doesn't represent the architecture of that period.

Photo copyright Ude
Nice looking samurai sword, and probably not for sell.

Photo copyright Ude
Wandering around the museum.

Photo copyright Ude
Kabuki theatre display (yes, they are just dolls, it wasn't a real performance).

LINKS TO SERVICES, PLACES, ETC. MENTIONED TODAY:
Edo-Tokyo Museum - Opening hours and other information of the museum can be found from their website.
Copyright 2003-2019 © , second edition. Latest minor update 4th of May 2010 (fixed and deleted broken links)