typhoon tokyo

hama rikyu garden It rained all day.  We walked through Senso-ji temple again, but didn’t linger long.  By the time we got to the river most of us were soaked and some of us had lost our umbrellas in the wind.  We took a boat down the Sumida river, under one brightly colored bridge after another, but the windows were beaded with rain and visibility beyond the river banks was almost nil.   We docked at the Hamarikyu garden, deployed our clear plastic umbrellas (on loan from the hotel), and headed out on beautifully groomed but soggy paths.

Hamarikyu is built on the former grounds of a shogun’s mansion.  It centers on a pond that water gates fill with sea water.  Cormorants nest on the islands and along with the ubiquitous mallards there are ducks with white backs and red heads.  At the end of a long wooden pier over the water is a teahouse where ladies in dark kimono serve matcha in the traditional way.  With the rain dripping off the eaves and pouring from the bamboo gutters, with the fog shrouding the high rises that surround the park, with the dark pines wet and glistening on the green hills of the park, it is easy to forget that I am in the middle of the biggest city on earth.

From the gardens we took the train to Shinjuku, the busiest train station in the world and from there we went to the top of the government building for a 45 stories up in the air view of a rainy, cloudy, foggy Tokyo.  The city was invisible behind the streaked glass but at least they had a wonderful toy store up there full of those colorful active Japanese toys.

Akihabara was drowned.  The typhoon was picking up and driving people indoors, where the heaters were cranked.  Even the neon seemed subdued.  The cosplay girls looked miserable under their umbrellas but always managed a smile and a cheerful greeting as they handed out their invitations to the game parlors.   There is no shortage of fancy electronics here; they don’t even bring them in from the rain.  They just throw a sheet of clear plastic over them so you can continue watching Kumikyuko Nico Nico Douga even as your umbrella folds in on itself before the wind rips it out of your hands.  It’s all good.

(While I wrote this–3 am here in Tokyo–I’ve been watching the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear back home, where it is 2pm on a sunny  beautiful yesterday.  It’s been awesome…and strange.)

~ by gun street girl on October 30, 2010.

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