Tokyo – Days 9 & 10 – 03/27/2018

Tuesday evening – and the end of my 10th full day in Tokyo.

Yesterday was my last day of training. But with Sukura now in full-bloom, I did take some time in the morning to revisit Shinjuku Gyoen. Being a work-day, I was pretty surprised at the number of people going in the gate. But I know a spot or two that most people don’t bother to walk. It’s a beautiful Garden, and I got some really great photos. Even more people pouring-in as I exited…..

My lesson started earlier than usual, due to arrival of another student. We worked very hard, and dove deep into the Philosophy and Practice of Yukimura-Sensei. With Yukimura gone, I am fortunate to be the student of his most senior student. Despite everything I’ve done, I am just beginning to grasp the depths of this Art.
Lessons complete – review of everything we worked on – and I received my Honors for what was accomplished. Also a second conversation on a possible opportunity for performance here in September. I’m not holding my breath – but – well, I’m holding my breath….. It would be a tremendous honor.

I am Osada’s most-senior – and only – student in NM. And his most senior, and only student from Maldives also received a lesson last evening. I was invited to stay and observe. And we got to visit for a while before parting ways at Ikebukuro Station.

All-in-all, this has been a most productive trip. I progressed in so many ways – had the opportunity to see performances by, and meet some of the Art’s greatest – and now will mostly be a tourist for a couple days before returning to NM on Friday.

Which is what I did today. Akihabara – which is the place to go to discover all the things you never knew you didn’t have. Electronics, appliances, gadgets – trust me, you have to be there to apprciate the shrine to consumerism that is Akihabara….
Ueno is the place more people go for Hanami than any other. And though I’m glad I made a stop there, I didn’t linger as long as I might have. I usually revel in the crowded nature of Tokyo. But the train was packed – yeah, kind of what you’ve seen in pictures. So was the park.
So I jumped back on the Metro, and over to Asakusa. I discovered a little park on the other side of the Sumida River a couple years ago. And had heard that it was a lesser-known destination for Hanami. And I’m really glad I walked up there. Last time I was in Sumida Koen, there may have been two others. There was a goodly gathering today – families – kids – older folk too. And the Sakura were beautiful – in the fullness of bloom. I was walking along the edge of the pond, when I came upon an older man playing Shamisen (the three-stringed Japanese “banjo”) and singing to a Heron perched nearby. I sat there for a long time watching and listening. I was moved beyond words by the beauty of the experience, and the amazingly good fortune of coming upon this scene…. The returning Gods of Spring definitely shined a little light on me today. Honest, I’m tearing-up again just a little, remembering…

If you want souvenirs, Asakusa is the place to be. I wandered around the Shrine – visited the Koi pond – and the memorials. Said “hello” to the Buddha… Then walked the streets checking out the shops, and picked up a thing or two. Oh, yeah – the tea shop too…. I practically know those people – I stop by every trip I make. And got a little dinner at a Yakitori, before returning for the night.

I’m back in Kabukicho now – pretty tired after walking the city for so many hours. Plan for tomorrow – more “touristing” – still want to get over to Ginza for shopping, and maybe lunch at a little Sushi place I heard about…….