A Nightingale Sings in Nijo-jo

Kyoto, Japan

June 28, 2009

Enter the Edo Era: Nijo Castle

A nightingale sang in Nijo-jo (Nijo Castle) with every step I took. Centuries before the Twitter age, the Tokugawa shogunate already used tweets. This castle, built in the 17th century in Kyoto, was famous for its tweeting wooden floors – the uguisu bari (nightingale floor). When I got to Kyoto, it was the first place I wanted to see and hear.

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Found in Translation

Osaka and Tokyo, Japan

June 24 and 27, 2009

Tokyo Towel. No, not a cloth to cover your nakedness as you emerged from an onsen (a public hot bath). Just an example of the Japanese quirk of rolling the hard /r/ to a loopy /l/, as in that hilarious scene in Lost in Translation involving a befuddled Bill Murray and a demanding dominatrix. In my case, I got befuddled looks because I looked Japanese but couldn’t speak Nihonggo.

Tokyo Tower

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The Morning After

Yokohama, Japan

June 27, 2009

I survived Tokyo. Its crowds, its convoluted metro lines, its punishing summer heat. “There’s got to be a morning after,” went the cheesiest song ever from a disaster movie. After a full day traversing Tokyo, I found that perfect morning after in Yokohama. Not that the day, or night, before was a disaster. It was just the most gruelling city tour I had ever done.

Old World Elegance of New Grand Hotel in Yokohama

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