Email To: Sardina Family, Rochester, New York
From: Akasaka, Tokyo 22 June 20:02:16
Hey Ma, Dad and Jenn,
How is everything Stateside? Mini-golf looks like it was fun; what course did you play?
Everything is going well here in Tokyo. It rained nearly all day Sunday, following our Skype conversation. I ran into a few kids from the program at breakfast, and we hung out together all day.
First, we tried to go to the Kabukiza Theater to see a Kabuki play, however, tickets were sold out. Kabuki is the tradition-style theater characterized by actors/actresses adorned in masks and ornamental kimonos. We got some information about ticket availability in general, and it sounds like if we can get there by 4pm when the box office opens on weekdays, it would be possible to get a relatively cheap ticket. This could potentially be something to do when you are here, depending on your interest levels.
So, instead of the theater, we decided to visit the National Museum, located in Ueno. This ward is home to several Museums in addition to the National Museum (Art, Science, etc.) and there is a Zoo located nearby as well. The National Museum was terrific! It is located on expansive grounds, and consists of 5 or 6 buildings, each housing numerous displays. I would recommend starting in the main building, on the second floor, working your way counter-clockwise through the exhibits. This path tracks the history of Japanese art and culture from the initial settlement of the island, up through the Edo period and into Modern-day Japan. I grabbed some food at the restaurant within the grounds, while the girls went on a tea ceremony tour to the idyllic tea house located behind a pond. They weren't thrilled with the entire undertaking (I don't think that they really enjoy tea), but it sounds like something that Ma would particularly like to experience. I believe they are held daily at Noon and again at Two.
Following the museum, we walked through a Pachinko hall/parlour, and had the peacefulness of spending a day in the National Museum completely destroyed in about 3 minutes time. A Pachinko hall is like a more crowded, louder and smokier reboot of a Vegas slot room. Even if I could figure out how it all worked, I am not sure I would want to hang around long enough to actually play!
We went out to dinner at a restaurant up the street that has a giant touch screen remote from which you order small food-items(Yakutori skewers, pot-stickers, sushi rolls, fried rice,etc.) to share with the table. I believe it is a chain (a place we ate at as a large group in Shubuya had the exact same menu and the decor was eerily similar), however the food is decent and relatively cheap. Oh yeah, Dad, its located right next to the Maserati dealership! (I don't think they allow test drives, but we should see if we can get some pictures with these cars!!)
All-in-all today was relaxing. We started a new class, International Trade, and I really enjoy the professor and the subject matter! We have an exam tomorrow, and then have some interesting plans...more about that later.
Can't wait to see you guys...Jenn should I try to save a ticket for the Giants game for ya? It is at 6pm the day you arrive (you guys get here Friday at 1:15pm)...