Cleanliness is everywhere! Despite no trash cans in sight, there was a rare bit of paper on the ground. How do they do that? Smoking is only in designated areas both indoors and outdoors. A minimal number of people wear face masks to prevent illness or share theirs. Due to such a fantastic public transportation system there is little car traffic nor pollution. Sidewalks and public buildings such as train stations have ridges in the floors to guide the blind. There are also raised dots at intersections and turns. People are friendly, helpful, and humble.
The Sky Tower is an very expensive tourist site providing aerial views of the city. Without the distant haze perhaps the twenty-five dollars each would have added to the experience as Mt. Fuji and the rest would have been visible. Crowds are herded along and put into elevators by attending staff which goes surprisingly quickly.
The Imperial Gardens were immaculate with yoshino cherry blossoms in full bloom while other were just beginning to put forth their beauty. The few rhododendron bushes were blooming and some oranges seemed ready for harvest. How do they grow in such a cold time when it is barely spring? The large grassy area was filled with picnickers though the ground was not showing a bit of green. Cute children were well-behaved, one toddler showing great intimidation of a very slightly sloping descent to his gently encouraging father waiting at the bottom. We barely got a glimpse of the Imperial Palace but the old unused guard towers were an interesting juxtaposition to the modern city architecture.
After posting some photos on FB, my cousin Claudia emailed a photograph of a drawing Uncle Buzz had done during the war long ago. It was essentially the same view in one of my photos!
The two mornings we were there we breakfasted at an Italian restaurant near the hotel where guests are sent. For nine dollars each we enjoyed a buffet with mostly Japanese foods along with American cereal, salad fixings, bacon, eggs, juice, fruit, tea, and coffee. Soups and pasta were part of the fare. The second morning I had steamed eggs which were like a custard with a paper thin taste of fish on top and a few soybeans inside. It was different but enjoyable. There was so much available we filled our bellies and then didn’t need to eat again until supper. Due to the convenience and tastiness we returned for more ramen noodles. That time we acted like experienced tourists!
Bill wanted to visit the Nikon Museum near Shinagawa Station. We found our way there and the women behind the reception desk in the hall indicated we would have to wait a bit for it to open. During that time we noticed a group of four men having a chat and when they were done they all bowed to each other. Not just once to all, each apparently has to bow to each individual! The bowing seemed to last several minutes! Soon we were perplexed as we saw some people going in the museum but the closed sign was still hanging. Suddenly one of the receptionists hurried over to indicate, using a brochure with opening times, that today was a holiday and therefore closed. Bill decided it must be due to the one-hundredth anniversary of the museum. While deciding what to do instead the woman returned and told us there is a Canon store and display in the next building. How kind! We did find it and looked around a bit. A clerk came over and wanted to take our picture and print it for us as a souvenir.
As we made our way back to the train station we decided to find the post office where Bill was to return the Walker Wifi on the last day of the excursion. As I needed a rest I waited for him to do that. We also decided that since we would have to return to that area we could visit the museum before heading to the airport for the flight back to LAX.
We bought some expensive goodies for lunch from Dean and Deluca and then made our way to the train to head to Kyoto.
When we returned to Tokyo almost three weeks later we did indeed get to tour the Nikon Museum. Lovely greeters showed us the lockers we could use for our backpack and umbrella stand. The display of cameras over the decades and the medical equipment were well displayed and lit. They even make lenses for spectacles, which we didn’t know. Some cameras were split in half so the internal workings were visible.