Blog: JAPAN – a mysterious and intriguing destination by Douglas (Part 1: Tokyo)
A travel blog by Douglas, 10 years old, about his recent family trip to Japan.
Today I arrived at this unique location and was in intense anticipation to observe these breathtaking sites, first visiting the Senso-ji temple in Tokyo.
The sacred gates leading to the temple contained two large statues and one colossal lantern with elaborate and delicate carvings. The sheer scale of the gates and statue astonished me truly surpassing my expectations. The divine architecture of the gates seized your attention making you realize the tremendous labor it would require to meticulously carve it. Contained inside the courtyard of the temple were merchants selling goods of diverse varieties, from mythical samurai swords to serene rice paper illustrations and exotic food. The courtyard also contained a magnificent five story pagoda with a majestic spiral of gold on top looming above us. The temple itself was an astounding sight, a huge structure of complex architecture; it had huge pillars supporting a large ceiling depicting dragons and various gods. Outside incense slowly burned for eternity veiling the temple in mysterious smoke. Contained inside the temple were various objects made out of solid gold, one of them was a golden Buddha perched inside an inclosed area.
We then went to the electronic town Akihabara. I was dazzled by a new and frantic world surrounded by spectacular neon lights and large electronic billboards. We had a sumptuous dinner of chicken hotpot and delicious fish and salad.
Today I visited the Imperial Palace East Garden and we were lucky enough to see the remnants of the famed cherry blossoms, only occurring once a year. Outside of the Imperial Garden there was a shallow moat bearing carps. At the front a daunting, studded gate guarded the garden restlessly. Inside the garden there were ancient buildings scattered around the grounds, each unique, some depicting carvings of dragons and demons on the circular roof tiles. I was taken aback by height of a few distinctly aged buildings.
We then went to Ginza, where we walked along a long subway that stretched for eternity; it held an ocean of people. My dad’s boss who was over 6 foot tall would have had a difficult time in the subway since the ceiling was quite low. Height would not be an advantage here. Ginza with its broad sidewalks and its elegant shops attracted hoards of shoppers. After exploring a few shopping complexes we had a delicious lunch. We then entered the Sony building stocked with electronic consumer goods ranging from the latest and the most advanced models to relics of the past. I was very impressed by a goggle that projected very realistic 3D images.
Today our day started before dawn in intense anticipation and concluded abruptly with all our hopes dashed. We had planned to see the gigantic fish in the Tsukiji Fish Market auctions but this ended in frustration and fury. The system was extremely disorganised. The merchants and security guards led us in loops until we ended up where we started and finally found out that no more people could be admitted because the maximum number of people had been reached. We went back to the hotel to sleep off the disappointment.
After that huge disappointment we navigated our way through the labyrinthine subway of Shinjuku Station to arrive at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. We took the elevator to the observation deck on the 45th floor. The view was breathtaking. These unique perspectives of Tokyo were just spectacular, revealing the metropolis in all its grandness.
Keio Department Store was a huge store containing everything you could possibly desire – shoes, sports equipment, plants, anything. In the large food court there was a diverse variety of foods to satisfy all taste buds. But there are no seats to sit on and enjoy your meal and we had to eventually resort to go to MacDonald’s to find some seats. The chaos of this department store would certainly be 10 times more chaotic than a typical busy market.
At night I again visited the government building. Observing Tokyo in the night was just mind blowing, the neon lights fitting the description of a veil of true brilliance blanketing Tokyo in a startling urban Aurora.
Today I went to Roppongi. On arrival I was met by a colossal spider with long, thin legs and a large pouch containing eggs. We then went to the National Art Centre. The Art Centre was truly a symbol of modern architecture featuring elegant curves with evenly distributed slim, light green tiles. At the entrance was a sleek long spire and was truly a wonder if you looked directly up it.After that we had lunch then we went to Tokyo Tower. Outside of Tokyo Tower a performer with a monkey performed tricks. We had to endure a nauseous elevator ride to the top. Being above Tokyo at terrifying heights was just phenomenal. The tower commanded a truly panoramic view of Tokyo’s famous sights. The revered the Zojo-Ji Temple dominated a large portion of the landscape with its sacred structures. Some bizarre structures were also visible as well as the Fuji Television HQ with its iconic ball linking its twin towers. There was a transparent glass floor; while I stood upon the glass it paralysed me in terror while my father did not even approach it.We went to Zojo-Ji next and we were greeted by the tranquil chanting of monks and the deep echo of a bell. At the front of the temple was an immense gate. The temple was about two stories high with an incense burner at the entrance with a delicate carving of a lotus plant.
Today we saw an excellent basking performance in Yoyogi Park in Harajuku and went to the Meiji Jingu Shrine dedicated to Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoke.
Meiji Jingu is a popular location for Japanese weddings. At the front was a colossal Shinto gate faithfully guarding the entrance. I observed a Japanese wedding where the groom and bride and his relatives marched solemnly following a monk conducting a religious ceremony. I think Japanese weddings are formal and serious affairs unlike western weddings.
After that we went to Yoyogi Park. There were many basking shows but one that impressed me most was an entertaining show featuring a mixture of tricks, hilarious acting and borrowed various movie scenes from the Matrix. In one of the acts I was gestured by a man to come and participate in an act to lift a suitcase when all performers had failed. The suitcase was in fact light and it was the performers acting that had convinced the crowd otherwise. I also witnessed another boy participating in a trick where a man held a performer suspended in the air, the boy then held on to the man’s legs and they revolved rapidly around. The rest of it was comical and amusing acting. I particularly enjoyed the Matrix segment when the performers strived to acquire a long coat which was repeatedly stolen by other performers. A performer then fired a fake gun and the bullet was guided by another performer in slow motion until it hit the performer who had possession of the coat and multi-coloured streamers burst out. There was also another skit where all performers get into a car and pretend to shoot down stuff. Halfway through this a teddy flew out of the imaginary car and died infuriating a performer who produced a cardboard chainsaw and proceeded to cut off a performer’s hand which turned out to be a prop. He immediately grew a new hand and the trio fled. Overall I enjoyed it thoroughly, the timing and acting was supreme and the tricks employed in my opinion were of a high standard.
Part 2 can be found here.
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