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October 21, 2008 - Tokyo

I began this day with taking a quick shopping trip to Matsuzakaya department store, a few blocks from my hotel, just past the Okachimachi JR (Japan Rail) station. On Friday, I will take my first subway trip, solo, from near this corner. I am beginning to build a network of familiar pathways, and will slowly build upon that.

The block and street structure here in this neighborhood, and perhaps in a lot of the down town areas, are very interesting. Rather than big building's businesses taking up the whole vertical space, the street level is all small shops, or businesses that provide for the generous foot traffic to and from work and the trains. There are two way streets every two to three blocks, but inside each block is a grid of one lane streets, rather like a tic-tac-toe grid, but not as neatly laid out. These lanes are one way, and are shared by bicycles, cars and trucks, and pedestrains.

The neighborhood that I am in has a good number of jem, mineral, and jewelry dealers, and many of those are only wholesale to large buyers. I can see three or so floors of such business being carried out from my hotel window.

So, this day began with the shopping trip. Shortly after my return, Ataru and Chiharu arrived to join me for lunch and a great day of walking around Tokyo. We stopped in various places in the market area, and went to the upstairs of one establishment to look at and to purchase some interesting carving tools.


The intersection at Matsuzakaya department store.


Chiharu & Ataru Maeda






A train ride to Yanaka and then to the Ivory Carver's Association meeting place.



Ataru demonstrating how the carvers sit while working at the uma dai (horse table is the literal translation)


Yanaka area cemetary


Streets of Yanaka



Ataru at his work bench. Straight ahead of him is a filter covered fan, and the structure around the main desk area helps to guide the dusts back into the fan filter.


The favorite sushi restaurant in Matsuda! Each customer to walk through the door is greated heartly and loudly by these fellows. What a happy place! These are two of men who prepar very tasty and beautiful sushi. They watched me as I ate it, not really believing that I would do it! Only one thing served to me was not to my liking. That was ground up liver of something that was a very heavy flavor. I was very well satisfied by the time to leave came around! What a fun place to go!


Yup mom, that's me eating raw fish! Yummm!


My first solo JR train ride. I made it safely to the hotel. It was easy enough to know when to get off the train,
since it was Ueno Station, at tthe end of the run. I did figure out how to transfer to the Okachimachi station, which was a few blocks closer to my hotel.

I walked eight miles this day!