After the palace we walked to the Ginza to do a little more window shopping. We took Mama & Papa Willett to a little Udon noodle shop for lunch and then through a Japanese department store. Something everyone should see once in their life. The bottom floor is usually a grocery store, packed with chef's cases as far as the eye can see. Each filled with every kind of food and pastry one could imagine. Okay, you caught me. While this post wasn't about eating we did happen to visit what could be called a "food city". But we didn't buy anything! Oh wait, Yes we did.
Monday, February 21, 2011
As promised, we do more than eat. Last weekend was the rendezvous with Mama & Papa Willett. Or should I say, Nana Sue and Grandpa. The main event was obviously Ella spending time with her grandparents but we managed a few other things too. One thing we didn't do (very well) on our last trip was visit the Imperial Palace. Saturday we walked through Marunouchi-naka-dori Ave., a wonderlust of high-end boutiques, window shopping while we made our way. The Palace was as beautiful as we had imagined. There is something about standing in front of a 100+ year old gate (Japan's capitol moved from Kyoto in 1888) that guards one of the worlds only living emperor's. It creates two moments: 1. You realize how old the world really is and, 2. you realize you are so far from the United States which is really so, so young. We didn't get to do much except stare at the iron fence and bamboo gate with the Palace peaking up out of the perfectly sculpted trees. You can only enter the grounds two days a year, Jan. 2 for a New Year's greeting and December 23 for the Emperor's Birthday. On these days you can tour the grounds and stand outside the Palace hearing speeches from the Emperor and writing him letters about what you want - which he actually reads.