Sunday, June 05, 2011
We had a rocky start today, literally. A 5.6 earthquake centered at Fukushima (just north of Tokyo) woke Hank and Marc, but not me, about 1 this morning. Marc felt one aftershock, which I also slept through. Off and on during the trip I've been peripherally aware of the earthquakes which frequently shake Japan. When you check the weather at the government site, you also get information on earthquakes and tsunamis. I realize it's the same level of very mild anxiety I have in San Francisco, I'm more nervous about quakes in a city than when I'm visiting family in rural California.
Marc and I checked out of our rooms (Hank is staying in Tokyo for a few days more, then headed off as a volunteer in the clean up efforts in Northern Japan). We got breakfast the station again, and then returned to the temple area we had gone to our first night here. Today we were more awake, as was the temple and street. The temple monks and nuns were out in the street, offering blessings to those who wished, and street stalls were everywhere. I loved the ones selling red underwear, said to help give energy to ladies of a certain age (and I would be of that age).
The grandmothers were out in force for a minor festival at the shrine, and for the bargains to be had on the street. Do not get in their way, as they will be quick to put an elbow in your side and move through.
I found a jar of the base for the yuzu (a citrus fruit) and honey tea that I so enjoyed on Naoshima. It's now tucked into my bags in the hold of the 777 that I'm aboard, forty thousand feet over the Pacific. I'm crossing my fingers it will be intact when I get home. I also bought baby castellas, little egg and honey sponge cakes that came to Japan with the Portugese. The samples rivaled beignets, and the dozen that are tucked into my bag, along with some mango something (I thought it might be yogurt when I bought it in the store, but once opened, I'm pretty sure it's not -- one of the problems with being illiterate) are food for the plane. The food on the way over was pretty dismal.
Hank got us to Tokyo station and put us on the Narita Express to the airport, and I am now 1200 miles closer to home, anxious to be there and see my guys again.