I’m finally beginning to get over jet lag a week after coming back from Tokyo—by next weekend I figure I’ll be back to normal. 🙂
This trip was so I could take a few classes for my day job, so while I did have to do work-related things, I also got to do some fun touristy things—and didn’t have to pay for the travel expenses. 🙂 The best part of the trip was spending time with my friend Mike M, who moved to Tokyo seven years ago. We’ve seen each other in Colorado a few times since he moved, but it had been a while, and we had a ton of things to catch up on. He took me on a whirlwind tour of the city, which was super fun. His wife met us later in the day and we went to Roppongi Inakia for an amazing dinner. It was a good thing they both speak Japanese because I wouldn’t have known to order half the dishes they picked!
One of the more memorable adventures on this trip was walking to Tokyo Tower and back with a few of my co-workers. We stayed at the Grand Hyatt, which is right next to Mori Tower, a 54-story skyscraper that our company’s office is in. On the last evening of class we walked over to Tokyo Tower, which is a communications tower designed in the style of the Eiffel Tower. We started to walk back toward the hotel and stop at a restaurant along the way, but decided to take a slightly different route. We could see Mori Tower, so we knew which direction to head in. What we didn’t realize is that there are two Mori Towers! Ours was Roppongi Hills Mori Tower, but at some point we accidentally started heading toward Toranomon Hills Mori Tower, which is 52 stories tall and also has the words “Mori Tower” on the top. Oops. 🙂 Once we got there and realized what had happened we looked at the map and found it was about a 40 minute walk back to our hotel, so we took a cab back. The next day one of my co-workers realized she actually had taken a small video clip that showed both towers, but none of us noticed this at the time. 🙂
Our last day was a team building day for the smaller group I work in, which meant we got to be tourists for the day. We went to Yanaka, a neighborhood that escaped the bombings in WWII, and is considered one of the more traditional areas of Tokyo. There’s a cemetery, temples, shrines, and lots of shops. One of my favorite shops was Kanekichien, a tea shop where I bought tea (hojicha and genmaicha, which are both very, very good—I wish I’d bought a few other varieties as well). My other favorite shop was Isetatsu, a store founded in 1864 that sells chiyogami, a kind of paper printed with colorful patterns, and created with traditional wood block printing methods. (Yes, I bought one, and will get it framed. :)) I also bought some beautiful pieces of furoshiki cloth. This is an approach to using pieces of cloth to wrap things in an artful way. We’ll see how mine turn out…
The weather forecast called for rain on our tourist day, and I thought: pshaw! How much can it possibly rain? Apparently enough for me to become completely soaked. 🙂 Fortunately the lady at Isetatsu put a plastic bag over my shopping bag, so the papers I purchased didn’t get wet. I finally stopped at a 100 Yen store and bought an umbrella. Our last stop before heading back to enjoy a fabulous dinner at Roku Roku was Nezu Shrine. I really wanted to visit this shrine and see the path of vermilion torii, and they were just as neat to see as I’d hoped. There were only a few other tourists there, probably because it was raining :), which made it feel even more special it was easy to get a good look at everything without having to peer around other people.Saturday morning I wandered around a little on my own, and stopped by two shrines that were close to our hotel: Juban Inari Shine, which has two frog statues to honor the legend of a giant frog that extinguished the flames of a great fire. This shrine also has a statue of a boat containing the Seven Lucky Gods. These gods ride on their takarbune (treasure ship) at New Year’s and stop in ports and bestow gifts on those lucky enough to come across them.
A lot more happened on the trip—so much that I’ve started making notes while I still remember everything. It was really, really fun, and I’d love to go back again someday.
Now I’m back in the real world, and hopefully I really am finally adjusting back to Colorado time. 🙂 I’m wrapping up the last few details for the next volume in the anthology series A Procession of Faeries. Things are going well, although my computer died today 🙁 so instead of finalizing the book cover, I ordered a new computer and set up a temporary profile on my husband’s computer. The good thing is that because I keep almost everything backed up and/or in the cloud, it was surprisingly quick to set things up. I was super organized and made notes on what I set up, since I’m going to have to repeat this when my new computer arrives.
I do have new short story that came out last month: “After,” which appears in issue 002 of Vagabond magazine. My story is set in a post-apocalyptic world where most of humanity has been wiped out by a virus. But don’t worry, it’s a (mostly) uplifting story!
The best part about my trip was coming back to Rosie and Jasper. 🙂