When visitors come to Japan I get to do things I don't normally do. A while back, eight of us (3 big and 5 small) took a Hato Bus Cityrama Afternoon Tour around Tokyo. It was great.
Leaving Hamamatsucho bus depot armed with onigiri and sushi, the three-and-a-half-hour trip took in Tokyo Tower, the Diet Building, the Imperial Palace, Asakusa, and ended up in Ginza.
The guide was an oldish fella who did a lovely line in self-deprecatory quips about Tokyo, Japan, and himself. He spoke quietly but smoothly, and his knowledge was extensive. His patter was so easy on the ear, and he was so likeable, that it felt like listening to your grandfather telling tales of yore. He had stunningly good English, but, for the sake of Japanese authenticity, he steadfastly refused to use any articles, definite or indefinite.
I learned more on that bus tour about Japanese history (and in a far more entertaining manner) than I have from any books.
It was all pretty good stuff, although perhaps the highlight was breathing in the Asakusa incense (wafting in the middle of the photo) in the knowledge that my brainpower was mysteriously improving by the second.
Wednesday, May 17, 2006