Friday, December 03, 2010

A visit to Senso-ji shrine

A post long delayed. And this is a kind of a long post so bear with the photographs :)

I was going to Asakusa to buy tickets to go to Nikko and ended up spending a hour and something at Sensō-ji which is Tokyo's oldest temple and one of its most significant. Crowds were crazy there, it was the first time I was jostling with people apart from the one time in the Metro. Old & young Japanese, loads of tourists armed with DSLR's and shops selling all sorts of souvenirs, sweets. So much activity was on that one street called Nakamise-dori.

But first the walk to the temple itself was filled with awesome stuff to see

Notice the statue on the upper floor as if watching the passers by

This is a caricatured list of the various shops in the area - comp stomp (composition stolen from another photographer) :D

Quite the monster isn't he? Very drool worthy!

And then I saw the shrine.

Right in the middle at the bottom you can see the Kaminarimon or "Thunder Gate". This imposing Buddhist structure features a massive paper lantern dramatically painted in vivid red-and-black tones to suggest thunderclouds and lightning. (Source:Wikipedia)

A little detail from the lantern

Then comes the Hōzōmon or "Treasure House Gate" which provides the entrance to the inner complex.

Yes, one more lantern and there is a box which you can see, where people throw in money before entering the inner complex and yes they throw in the one puts it gently as far as I could see :)....

On the ceiling in the Hall

Some other sights within the temple precincts

Gentleman praying respectfully before Buddha

Ema, wooden prayer plaques typically seen in a shrine

At the back, you can see the pagoda of Sensō-ji (also a comp stomp :D)

This place was way cool. I sat inside here and listened to a Buddhist monk chant his prayers!

This is amongst the very few hexagonal temples left in Japan. Liked the play of light here.

Here's a last shot of the temple in mid-afternoon light just as I was stepping out.

I walked around for a while here. It felt like there were mostly old people walking the streets and everything had gone old or decayed. Even went into a Traditional Arts Museum there - which had no English translation at all :)

Here are some interesting tidbits from the streets

An amusement park nearby

Extremely cute street art

In order from L-R - The building in construction is called Tokyo Sky Tree, Asahi Breweries right next to it and the Golden Flame (commonly referred to as the Golden Turd if you please :P) right next to it. At the bottom you can see a cool, futuristic looking ferry. This is an entertainment ferry with tables so you can go drinking and stare at Tokyo from a different angle.

Next up, Nikko with its awesome fall colours....

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

A 48 year old man croons "I'll be there for you"

and makes a baseball stadium full of people go crazy - that has gotta be something right? Ladies and gentlemen, I watched Mr Jovi who was trés bon (Thank you Medems!) yesterday and it was an amazing experience as the photos and video below will show you!

Richie Sambora was nothing short of awesome on the guitar. I mean he was just mindblowing and his talent is not exaggerated at all IMHO! He also sang 'Lay Your Hands On Me' and got the whole crowd participating.

But first the experience of attending a concert in Tokyo. This is an indoor baseball stadium called Tokyo Dome.

We have seats! Yes, we do! So if you get tired of yelling and screaming, you can plop your bum down and say 'Ah'! :D It is so organised - its unbelievable. The loos are neat and clean inspite of maybe like a 1000 people going before you! There are ushers who take you to your seats. Of course everyone stands up, once the lights go out!

I must admit, so far, there are only two occasions when I have seen Japanese people so animated in public, one when then they are drunk (stereotypical but true) and second at concerts. There was a 50 year old lady next to the two of us who had come alone and knew lyrics which even we didn't know! She seemed to be thoroughly enjoying herself :)

He started off with a song from his album 'The Circle' which is what the whole tour is about anyways. The whole crowd listened with rapt attention.

And he sang a whole lot of other stuff which included Bad Medicine, Keep the Faith, Runaway and the like.

And then he finished - a two hour long concert where I screamed and yelled and punched my hand in the air and hugged my husband repeatedly :) :) Was a thoroughly exciting experience.

Of course the 'encore' followed. Everyone sat back in their seats and waited for him to come back. And he came and he sang....

And he ended with 'Living on A Prayer' quite interestingly. Just his voice and the crowd went nuts! And then of course the whole fist-pumping, hands in the air routine re-started for everyone.

And then the final goodbye - where everyone kept waving crazily at him. Go see him if you get the chance!