Posted by: skyward | December 31, 2009

Celebration

What a year it has been … 

A life full of new challenges (and our own share of struggles) in a faraway place. 

Nonetheless, we are thankful for the (perhaps) once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience a work/school life for an extended period of time in one of the world’s largest — and liveliest — cities.  All of us have learned so much, and I hope we have all grown because of it.

Yesterday we celebrated our triumph (if we may say so ourselves) by taking a mini-sightseeing bus tour and visiting several interesting spots along the way.  We embarked on the journey in Ryogoku, called Sumo Wrestler’s Town, where we were indeed delighted to run into a wrestler in kimono riding a bicycle!  Imagine our surprise and joy.  He appeared precisely the moment when we began to talk about sumo wrestlers.  Incidentally, with the camcorder in hand, I was able to film the unexpected encounter.

We also savored lunch at a spacious restaurant with its own unique flavor, replete with a sumo tournament stage in its center.  The sole male member of our currently smaller family (with my spouse working in the U.S.), Daniel was the only person who was allowed to stand on the stage and pose for a photo, according to the Sumo Association’s male-only rule rigidly applied even in a restaurant.  Dismayed, my daughter persistently asked why.  I was hard pressed to provide a satisfactory answer.

Our next stop was Asakusa, filled with temples … and people, people, people everywhere.  It, of course, is one of the most popular scenic spots listed on virtually any Tokyo guidebook, known as a must-see place especially for foreign tourists eager to experience the traditional Japan.  We had visited there before, as newcomers to Tokyo, but the crowd turned out far larger at the end of the year, making it painful to just move forward.  We still managed to stop at one of the many stores along the Nakamise Street and munched on freshly made dumplings.

We also spent some time in Ueno and Marunouchi.  It was a hectic but fun trip.

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