No, this three-story pagoda is not the latest proposed “granny” unit in historic Nevada City, but I joked that it might as well be a candidate for one. In truth, it is a pagoda in the Chinzano Garden in Tokyo. The garden is now ablaze in fall colors, and it is one of our sights this week.
We are enjoying Thanksgiving week in Tokyo. We are visiting temples and shrines, the world’s largest fish market called Tsukiji, the Imperial Palace Gardens, museums, the Giant Pandas at the Ueno Zoo, the world-leading electronics shops in Akihabara, the Sony building, the food halls in department stores such as Mitsukoshi, a Sumo wrestling “stable” and more. We also went to Suntory Hall to hear classical pianist Emanuel Ax and the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra. The concert hall is a real gem.
We are enjoying sushi, sashimi, Kobe beef, yakatori, teppanyaki and other local food. We also signed up for a Japanese cooking class outside the Tsukiji market, a bustling place with every imaginable kind of fish and shellfish.
The fruit and vegetable stalls at the Tsukiji market have Satsuma mandarins, akin to the ones that are now in season in Placer County.
Tokyo is an expensive city, but the dollar is strong, and that helps out. Though its population exceeds 13 million now and it might seem intimidating, we find Tokyo to be an easy, accessible and friendly city. A little bit of Japanese on our end, and a little bit of English on the other end goes a long way. It’s totally manageable.
Old habits die hard in Japan. To cut costs, U.S. newspapers have become thinner. But Japan still publishes on broader sheets of newsprint. So when the Wall Street Journal is printed in Japan, it has a big white border. LOL.
Japan’s economy has just slipped into another recession, causing some political rifts. Critics blame “Abenomics,” a program of aggressive money printing that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ordered upon taking office a few years ago to jump start the Japanese economy. Others point to Japan’s shrinking working-age population in a country with full employment.
Earlier this week, Japan celebrated Labor Thanksgiving Day, an occasion for commemorating labor and production and giving one another thanks.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving!