blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit

blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit
By Alison Hobbs, blending a mixture of thoughts and experiences for friends, relations and kindred spirits.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Somewhere over the Rainbow ...

We crossed the Rainbow Bridge in Tokyo Bay on the Yarikamone Line from Fune-No-Kagakukan Station to Shinbashi. This is a driverless train whose wheels roll on either side of a concrete monorail; the views from its windows are absolutely sensational, especially on such a fine, clear, cold day as today has been. I swear we could see a hint of Mt. Fuji in the distance under the very few clouds to the southwest of here.

Yarikamone Line with train
Our intention was to visit Tokyo's Maritime Museum, a huge building in the shape of a ship, but discovered after a complicated ride (see below) that it was closed for renovation. We weren't too disappointed, being so gratified by our discovery of the Yarikamone Line and there were outdoor exhibits in the grounds of the museum to be looked at free of charge: a bathyscope (reminding us of our friend Nicola Vulpe's novel) and a submarine on one side of the building near the palm trees and swimming pool. An Antarctic research ship called Soya, which we could board, was moored on the other side, like the ship we visited not so many days ago in Bristol. Then followed the Rainbow Bridge for which our train entered a tubular steel cage that we could see through, but not easily take photos through.

The Bathyscope

Radio operations room on the Soya

Notice the “Eiffel Towers” in my pictures? We saw one of them after dark last night as well, as well as the illuminated Rainbow Bridge, come to that, on our way to a noisy supper at Rippongi Hills, but that's another story.

This morning, after coffee and a bacon and egg sandwich under the flyover, via Otemachi Station on the Hazomon Line, we first made for the Imperial Palace Garden which I'd been thwarted from entering last Monday. This time, with Chris, I got in, and we saw the Emperor's blossoming Prunus trees the other side of the outer moat and the imposing walls of huge, grey, tessellating stones (the Emperor himself went into hospital yesterday for a heart bypass operation that, according to the news, was successful). The Honmaru Goten Palace stood here in the Edo period, consisting of three sections: a ceremonial and governmental area, the living quarters and administrative office of the Shogun, and the buildings where the Midaidokoro (his wife) lived with her maids and children. Beijing's Forbidden City sprang to mind! We sat on a bench on the roof of a former guardhouse talking to a civilised gentleman whose English was flawless and looking at the wide lawn that replaced that former palace. On the shadier parts of the lawn a sprinkling of snow had not yet melted. Varieties of bamboo were growing at the edge of the path, labelled with their Latin names.

Part of the Imperial wall, with snow in the shade
After going round the upper garden we looked at the lower garden which had a naturalised grove of trees in it that will soon be full of spring flowers; beyond that we found the blossom and then we passed through the Hirakawamon Gate. “The criminals and the dead,” explained the notice, “were pulled out from this gate, which is why it was called Fujyomon Gate, which means impurity.”

From Takebashi Station (bashi means bridge, you know, or at least I assume it does), after a good deal of research and planning, we took the Tozai Line to Monzen-Nikacho where we changed onto the Oedo Line going south to Tsukishima (one stop). By now it was lunch time so we came up overground to look for a likely place to eat. Rather a lot of wandering because Chris was reluctant to order strange fish. In the end we popped into a little place (the restaurants in Tokyo are mostly little) which looked like someone's dining room with cushions and shawls on the seats, and a motherly lady there spoke enough English to offer us fried rice which came in a large bowl, tasted excellent and was inexpensive, I had a glass of hot green tea with mine. And then to the Yurakucho Line to Toyosu (one stop again) and so to the Yurikamome Line I mentioned in paragraph 1. It went round in loops like my blogpost.

Hirakawamon Gate
Back to the hotel via the Shiodome and from there onto the Oedo Line again straight to Kiyosumi-Shirakawa so that I could show Chris the Kiyosumi Garden that I'd fallen in love with yesterday. It's easy to walk across the Kiyosubashi from there to the riverside promenade near our hotel. A jogger had paused in his jogging to talk to a cat on the steps there.

1 comment:

CWC said...

Now *that's* a blog post. I haven't got any pictures but you're missing the exciting launch of yearly ice breaking upstream of your dam near Bordeleau park. And you can almost see some of the asphalt at RFC.