That would be the bikes at the most excellent Tokyo Great Cycling Tour. What a lovely, lovely time we had today (despite the rain…at least, it was cool). We started at 9am, toured Tokyo Bay, the crazy-mad fish market, Odaiba Island (man-made goodness with a huge Gundam that totally made our day), under the Rainbow Bridge, across half a dozen other bridges, up 34,000 steps to a majestic shrine, through Zojio-ji temple where we had our fortune told (mine is very good!), then along the imperial grounds and back to TGCT headquarters at 3pm. My legs are sore and I lost contact with my butt around the time we hit the shrine. But what a time!
Trivia: our fantastic guides explained the difference between a temple and a shrine. Temples have warrior-gods standing guard at the entrance and are a building where you can go inside. A shrine is humbler and has torii at the beginning, and their guardians are more shinto animal-gods. Also, at the shrines, the set of animal-gods guarding the entry is special: one has its mouth open to form the first letter of the Japanese alphabet (which sounds like the English “eh”) and the other animal will have its mouth closed, to form the last letter (which sounds like “mm”). So the protection they offer runs from the beginning to the end. Cool!
And now, photos!
Dog with mouth open.
Dog with mouth closed (yes, they look like lions to me, too).
All kinds of action going on. This was the tuna saw. There were these HUGE tuna, frozen stiff, then the guys would take one and plop him on the bench saw and start cutting. The fish market is crazy, mad, demented, and probably dangerous (those little forklifts don’t stop for nobody). Plus, lots of fish blood. Brr.
The steps. All 34,000 of them. That’s how many it felt to my poor legs! Son bounded up those suckers two at a time and waited at the top for us mere mortals.
The 7th of July of every year marks a special festival called Tanabata. An extremely romantic story about two lovers separated. Those are wishing trees, where you can tie your wish. There were all kinds of languages on these wishes.
Tomorrow, Shinjuku and some kaiten sushi (conveyor belt sushi! We can’t wait!)