Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Edo-Tokyo Museum

When in Tokyo do as the Tokyoans.....  I know it's impolite to take photos on the train...but I've done it anyway...I've noted lots of photos getting snapped of our family this week while on the train. Turn about is simply fair. Today I tried to get a shot of the feel of the train as part of it twists and turns. Focus on the door to the front car....I was not panning with the camera. 

We ventured to a new subway line today - the Oedo (Edo) line.  The subway stations we've been at look like this....

But we must have hit a more affluent part of Tokyo today....check out these tracks!  A restraining wall, double doors at the entrance, clean, finished walls, better vending machine selections...there was even wifi! 
And just in case you can't decipher the shaking, noise and lights....this reader lets you know when a train is approaching! ::wink::

This sign is fuzzy....but it says, "Don't rush into the train." I love it. I wanted to get photos of the other really cool posters teaching manners...but everyone behind me was rushing to get into the train. ::snort:: you KNOW we loved the new subway line....but there really was a purpose in taking it. We went to the Edo-Tokyo Museum today. Zander summed it all up when he stated, "That's an impressive museum!" - even after 2 1/2 hours of tour.  I doubt I can do this museum justice at 10:30 p.m. when I have to be up at 05:00 but I really don't want to be "behind" when we get home from vacation. 

As we approached the replica of the  Nihonbashi, a gentleman asked if we'd like an English speaking tour! YES! We had been led to believe you needed to reserve guides 2 weeks ahead of time so this was a score! He asked if we wanted a one or two hour tour. We chose two. It took 2.5 hours....time WELL SPENT. 

He was wonderful and it was invaluable to hear his personal insights and to be able to ask questions...during the give and take and back and forth it became apparent we were not typical....about 1/2 way through he asked Michael, "Are you Christian family?" 

This museum centers around the Shogun era of Japan - the Edo Period. We've just finished studying this time period and it was great fun for the kids to see things that actually belonged to the people they've studied. 

This palanquin was for a Daimyo's wife to travel in. Life was VERY ordered and strict in this time period. We have become more certain the Shogun era had pros and cons. YES, Japan was united and peace reigned; but at quite a price in personal freedom. There's a lesson here. 

Kabuki theater

Ieyasu Tokugawa - the founder of the Tokugawa dynasty which established unity in Japan, closed Japan to foreigners and ruled for nearly 300 years. We never did get a clear reason for why he's standing on a turtle. I asked - didn't understand the answer.
The Tokugawa crest

Model of the common town folk center of Edo....if you notice the sections of the ridge lines on the row houses - one family would have one section.

 This model is AMAZING. They made the figures based on actual photos. The details are stunning - and my point and click without flash had a hard time capturing them...but each of these little figures cost "$500 US" to create.

The rocks on the roofs were to keep the roof from blowing away

I thought these were beautiful! Our guide (whose name I can't remember  - it's late) laughed when I said how pretty they were. He said, "These are just underwear." Others laughed with him while I took a photo.

Then - he said, "This is a loin cloth. Do you know what a loin cloth is?" ::snort:: I obliged and took a photo.

This is the Daimyo's palanquin. The daimyos spent a year on their property and then a year at the Shoguns' courts. Their families were required to stay in Edo in the Shogun's compound. Our guide said they were hostages. The shogun determined when the Daimyo would visit, how he would travel, where he would lodge, how many people he must bring with him. According to records one trip cost this Daimyo "$2 million US dollars." WOW.

Ieyasu Tokugawa was a capable leader - if a tad bit ruthless. Personal freedoms seemed to matter little.

Squadron uniforms

Picnic ware

Wooden cisterns and aqueducts pretty cool for the 1600's. 

Actual size of a row house....

Same size for a family of four

In the Edo period, wood block prints, called Ukiyo-e, or pictures of the pleasure seeking floating world became popular. I've bought several prints at Asakausa. It was interesting to see this display.

The bottom row are wood print blocks. These blocks were printed with ink. The middle row shows what is added to the print by the block. The top row shows the picture after that block is stamped. Read the photos from the right to the left....

Samples from period books...stunning

Stacia with 100 cold goins  gold coins

Censorship began with the Christians - and spread. There's a lesson here. There is  a dark side to Japan's isolationism. It began with persecution of Christians when Tokugawa felt Japanese culture was at risk from Christianity. Missionaries were kicked out. Christians were executed. Then the country was closed. We've had this verified several places. We're studying it further.

Sample of books from a lending library

The kids were surprised how heavy the Samurai/Daimyo standards are - these were carried into war. 

This is a model of the Mitsukoshi Department store in the EDO period. What makes this amazing is that Mitsukoshi department store STILL exists on this corner of modern day Tokyo. This gives this one store the distinction of being in business over 500 years. You can see it in the Ginza district.  Some people still dress up to shop here.

The kids try their hands at moving 40 lbs of human waste from Edo to farmer's fields.

Stilts for walking in the river

The boat in the front is a fireworks boat....loved seeing the boats out on the Sumida river. The girls and I have done this same river cruise a couple of times.

Kabuki Theater - this stage rotates - and was moved by men under the stage

We were thrilled when our guide took us behind the barricade to backstage of the Kabuki theater.

Zander thinks this is a good way to travel

Stacia would like one of these bikes

This print shows the various hair styles a woman was encouraged to sport as Japan entered the Meijii Period. During this time the Shoguns disappeared, the government became a Parliament and the trend was to western wear (note the dress) and styles.
During the Mejii era this Russian Orthodox Cathedral was allowed to be built. Here you see the Nikolai Cathedral with the Tokyo skyline in the background. The building to the right is a school where our guide attended.

Ginza district in the Edo period

See bombs recovered from the Tokyo Air raids was sobering. Looking at the photos of neighborhoods destroyed and lives killed was heartbreaking. War, though often necessary, stinks.  This is a balloon made by Japanese girls and women. It would be loaded with weaponry and floated over the enemy...this was in the last days of WW2.

What a cool escalator...but as you look ahead the people seem to disappear over the edge at the end......

This photo is just to remind us to look for the book by Morse - a Day in Tokyo or some such title....written by a man who was a professor I think who lived in Japan in the Edo period. 

We had thought this museum was next to the outdoor Edo museum and there is an earthquake museum nearby we wanted to visit...but we decided we would quit while the kids were still enthused about museums and go back to the New Sanno.  

Michael ran to get gas. I took the kids for their last swim. We enjoyed our last dinner here on this trip. I did laundry and blogged. Michael tracked our route. 

Tomorrow at 0500 we'll load up and begin our drive to Iwakuni Marine base. We're not quite sure what we'll find along the way so don't be alarmed if you don't hear from us again until 14 Feb. 

Choosing Joy!
©2013 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...