Today is the first day of our group visit and we all looked excited to officially begin our trip in Japan. At the metro station, we found a cream puff drink that looked super cool. Do they really put puff into a drink? Professor Kurashige didn’t hesitate a moment to get it, and realized it was just like cream soda, but without soda.
Our first destination was Edo-Tokyo Museum, a huge building among its neighborhood, with a bizarre shape. It also had an escalator that was really similar to one at Pompidou. The museum was about the history of the city of Tokyo from 17th century to late 20th century. Since it was a history museum, I assumed it would be boring, but it was not. There were many interactive parts that allow you to actually experience the city life in ancient Tokyo, like how to put out a fire. There were actual models of the house they live in, the sushi stands, and so many more. We learned that Tokyo was called Edo, and how the “shoguns” reigned Tokyo in prosperity for nearly 300 years.
Because we had some extra time, we went to a garden on our way to lunch. It was hard to imagine that there could be gardens in the heart of Tokyo, and it was not like a park, but a traditional Japanese garden with all the decorations. It felt magical to be in there, as we were in the heart of a crowded, busy city, yet there was a peaceful hideout for people to slow down their pace for a little.
We were supposed to try the food for sumo wrestlers near the sumo arena, but there was a match going on, so it was a little disappointing. However, we saw several sumo wrestlers out in the street and Verdi even approached one of them for pictures. We went to a nearby Japanese restaurant for lunch later, which has tempura, a little hotpot, and sashimi. It was really good, so I guess it was hard to tell if the sumo game was bad for us.
In the afternoon, we went to Akihabara. It was famous for its electronic goods, but now it was more about manga and maid cafes. Professor Kurashige invited us to go to a maid cafe, but most of us declined. According to Sam, the maid cafe was crazy, as the maids called him “master.” The rest of us spent the afternoon exploring the area. I went to a cat cafe. It was small, but there were nineteen cats. They were lovely, and we had a lot of fun playing with them. It is a heaven for cat lovers and I definitely recommend it.
In the evening, we had dinner with some of the Meiji students. We also went to Karaoke with them, and had a lot of fun. The students were really nice, and I hope the collaboration with them will also be good.