Today was our last day in Tokyo, but since our train wasn’t leaving until the afternoon, we had time to make one last touristic visit before moving on. Although there were more than a couple of places we didn’t make it to (like the Nezu museum which supposedly has a garden more beautiful than Monet’s garden or the Samurai museum where you can dress up like a samurai), we chose to visit the Edo-Tokyo museum. This was for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it was cheaper than the Nezu museum by about $10 a person, and try as I might, I could not convince Tim to go to the Samurai museum and dress up like a Samurai. Sometimes my husband is lame!
Nonetheless, the Edo-Tokyo museum was pretty interesting and recreated traditional Japanese architecture on a life-size scale. Edo is the former name of Tokyo, and if you ever visit Japan or do some reading about the country, you will see a lot of references to the “Edo Period.” What is means is Tokyo circa 1600-1800s.
Reproduction of a kabuki theater. Originally woman acted in the theater, but as it became a source of prostitution, women were banned. Young boys took their place, but when the same thing happened, young boys were banned as well. So that is why it was ruled that only men could perform in the theater.
There was a section dedicated to WWII. In this display, the top document is a Japanese newspaper announcing the Doolittle raid.
I never knew there was such as thing as “propaganda underwear,” but evidently in WWII Japan there was. I will say they look more like propaganda pajamas, but either way…
A sample of western artists who were influenced by Japanese art. The top two shows the original Japanese painting and Van Gogh’s version on the right.
Samples of traditional kimono/yukata patterns and colors.
A reproduction of the Tokyo Bay area circa 1800s
A miniature reproduction of a Japanese market
A reproduction of “book shop,” which sold light reading that had a lot of pictures. Basically this is the original comic book store.
The different stages of woodblock printing
The final product
Before clocks, bells like this were used to mark the time. A bell would hang in towns or villages, and any resident deemed to be within earshot had to pay a sort of tax to the bell man for his services.
A typical classroom. Notice the two swords hanging on the wall. I guess you decided whether it was for instructional or discipline purposes.
It is a bit hard to see what’s happening here, but this represents the scene right after a baby is born. The mother is in the back, sitting upright. It was customary to force the mother to stay sitting like this for 3 days and 3 nights, and it was noted that this often had detrimental effects on the woman’s health (I wonder how long it took to figure that out). The midwife is dunking the baby in a wash basin, and the father is sitting there being useless.
A litter to carry VIPs.
An example of the balloon bombs the Japanese sent to the United States.
I can’t tell you much about the painting, but I like it because the subject is Japanese, but the painting is done in a western style.
After the museum, we caught our train to Nagano. It only took about 1.5 to traverse the 141 miles from Tokyo to Nagano on the bullet train. For comparison, to go by car it would take 3 hours 10 minutes.
Once in Nagano, we had to catch another train to the small town where we would be staying. Since we weren’t having dinner there, we decided to stock up while in Nagano. We finally arrived at our ryokan (a traditional Japanese inn) around 6 that evening. It is everything you picture when you think of Japanese interior design: straw mats, table and chairs directly on the floor, paper doors, mattress on the floor, and a couple of surprises- complimentary robes to wear (yeah!) and rice sacks for pillows (boo). Being cold, hungry, and tired, I immediately put on my robe and insisted Tim do the same before we sat down for a dinner of Japanese fried chicken (which I do not recommend!) and sake (which I do recommend!).
I took this picture because the bottom right squeeze pack is called “Pocari sweat.” What is a pocari and why would I drink its sweat?!