a quick peek at a slice of Japan with 5 hours and $25…… – so it turns out I had an 11 hour layover in Tokyo on the way home.
And I was saving $20 for the taxi in Boise, but now that Aaron Beck is picking me up – I’m gonna go see what I can see….
Should have planned it a bit better and taken advantage of my 3 seats in a row on the plane for a sleep, but got stuck
watching movies again. Found a deserted corner in the Tokyo terminal for a quick cat nap until a profusely appologetic
policeman said I couldn’t sleep there. Every other word was ‘sorry’. These people are so polite, neat and orderly! How bizarre
while still being in Asia! Ok, quick 2 hour cat nap in designated area, then back out through security (hello again!) and followed
a hot tip from a Japanese stewardess : I took the train to Narita Station (round trip less than $10!) and walked to the
Temple Gardens with the fall leaf festival in full swing! (No big parties, it just means that the fall colors were in full swing)
So beautiful! Small delicate maple leaves in reds and oranges, with coy swimming in ponds with an example of every style of
Japanese pogodas from different eras. Lovely! Now, this wasn’t Tokyo proper, this was Narita – and as I strolled through the
curvey narrow lanes with miniature cars, and miniature construction cranes and minature everything, it felt like a Lego land set.
Except the Japanese edition with waving arms of ‘lucky cats’ and plastic food models and prices (thank you!) in front of restaurants.
After buying a round trip ticket for $9, and putting my heavy backpack full of brass trinkets from Nepal in the baggage storage ($3)
– I had a little over $10 left. It’s like a game. I decided to try some mystery food. I gambled on some muffin looking things with
sweet (surprise!) bean curd in them straight out of the oven. Yum! He asked where I was from and prompted me for the state -he’s
been to Idaho at one of those things where you chase the cows…. a rodeo?! how random! At the Temple Gardens? (sorry, no map
or visitor info other than just asking directions where ever I went – everyone so helpful and polite. Like ridiculously polite.)
I wandered into a Buddhist ceremony? (all I had to do was take off my shoes and put them in the blue plastic bags provided)
Huge room that echoed the chanting and the drums went right through me! Beautiful purple robes they wore and they made
an auspicious fire under huge Grecian collumn shaped chandelliers. Then everyone rushed the stage with their purses?! and
the dude in charge waved them over the fire several at a time. Hmmmm maybe a prosperity ceremony? ok, I’m in! I put my
wallet normally in my thigh pocket in my satchel bag/purse and gave it to the guy. He motioned for my camera bag, too. Good
thinking! Money lucky! money lucky! for everybody in the room!!!! Yeahy!
I did my community service of taking portraits of everybody together (so they didn’t have to rotate to take two people at a time
out of three) and made peoples’s day. One couple looked like they had just gotten married and I took a pic with their phone,
but she showed me their real wedding pics (on her phone) and said they went to Las Vegas for their honeymoon?! omg. I really
just wanted to take their picture, too, but didn’t want to be a creeper. I wished them a long and happy life. Sampled all the crazy
food items at the Temple gates, and settled on some sweet salty candy and some candied cumquats. And one more of those bean
things from the rodeo guy on the way back to the train. Oh yeah, and also wandered into what was either a cemetery or a headstone
emporium. If it was a cemetery, then they had pint sized plots, which makes sense – because every thing is pint sized here. and
profusely polite, neat and orderly. Thanks, Japan, for the quick 40 second hug.