Sometimes I’m Not Smart Enough to Order Food in Japan

Today is P’s last day on this trip. We are trying to get a couple typical Tokyo experiences in. One of those, according to the guidebook is Meiji Jingū a Shinto shrine built to honor Emperor Meiji, whose reign encompassed the period in which Japan transformed from an isolationist state to a modern nation.

We entered in under the massive torii (gates), into the grounds.

Beyond the first of the torii we strolled with numerous visitors along the shady paths, protected by trees from the glare of the sun.

The shrine itself was packed with people. It was a Sunday, and I don’t know if that is a Shinto day of worship, or just a matter of convenience that brought everybody here.

Oh – there was a wedding as well, so that obviously brought a few people.

After the procession passed, we continued beneath more torii deeper into the grounds.

In the distance the city still hovered, waiting.

Eventually we found the Treasure Museum of Meiji Jingu. It is a gorgeous building that harbors remaining treasures, including porcelain, of Emperor Meiji. It also has pictures on the walls of the Japanese emperors. Interestingly enough, historically there were female emperors of Japan, although there was always a male of the bloodline involved somewhere.

We left the treasure museum, walking halfway across the grounds, only to discover that P had left his water bottle there. So we doubled back, retrieved the water bottle, and went in search of our next destination.

We wanted to see Shibuya Crossing. You know what I’m talking about – the 6-way overcrowded crosswalk they always show in videos of Tokyo. And you know what? It would probably be a lot less crowded without people like me stopping to photograph things. It was a yawner. It was spectacle for the sake of spectacle.

We needed lunch. Our initial plan was for ramen, as there was a highly rated ramen place nearby.

But this brings us to one of the challenges in Japan – you sometimes have to order by machine. At the ramen place, you have to punch your order into the machine, pay the machine, and then take your ticket to the front. Sometimes for us, the machine has been computerized and can offer instructions in English. That’s been great. Sometimes, like today, the machine has been just baffling. Heck, I think the person in front of us left his ticket there by mistake, which leads me to believe nobody knows what they’re doing.

Intimidated by the technology we dove back into the streets of Tokyo, and found a dumpling place nearby. Yes it turned out to be Chinese again, but we wanted dumplings, and I figure Chinese food in Japan is almost certainly better than Chinese food in the US. It was fantastic, by the way. Also it strikes me that, wherever I go, if I don’t know what to order, I pick Chinese.

Last stop for the afternoon was the Snoopy Museum. We ran across this last night and had to go back. I find it amazing that Charles Schulz has had so much influence.

From the red dog house to the Red Baron.

We weren’t supposed to take pictures but I needed this one.

With that we returned to the hotel so P could start packing. He leaves in the morning, so I’m on my own tomorrow.


Eventually we headed back out for dinner. In this case it was Katsu, or breaded fried food, typically pork or chicken. My pork tonkatsu was delicious. As was the gigantic beer I had with it.

Then it was time for rest.

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