Day 4: Tokyo

Community Highlights Asia Day 4: Tokyo

First off we visited the Edo Tokyo Museum. We had a lovely guide who we quizzed a lot. Unfortunately we ran out of time so I didn't see everything there was to see.

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Edo: former name of Tokyo.
Edo period: 1603 -1868, when Japanese society was under the rule of the Tokugawa shogunate. Started by a warlord called Tokugawa leyasu - a samurai who united Japan into 1 nation. He moved capital from Kyoto to Tokyo.

Samurai: military nobility (ruling class) of medieval Japan. Basically like a  knight.

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Shogun: supreme military commander appointed by Emperor (who was the supreme power but actually largely powerless). The Emperor didn't even have control of his own armies! How the Emperor lineage survived 1000 (+) years astonishes me. Literally the belief in deity was that strong, plus the fact the shoguns probably had all the power already. First recorded Emperor 600 BC.
The Shogun governed Japan from 1100 to the end of the Edo period. Under the Shogun was the Daimyo - the lords of different regions. The Shogun kept a tight rule on them to prevent being usurped. This is how the Edo period lasted so long...
Edo period was a really peaceful period- there were no wars for basically 200 years! No fights with China or anything! Mind blowing.

Parts of eastern Tokyo were actually man made! It used to be wetlands. 80% of children could read and write in Edo period!!! Even commoner families paid for their child's education in the hope of getting apprenticeships etc. Unlike us throwing faeces in the rivers- the Japanese fermented it and used as fertiliser.
During the tour a random Japanese man came up to me,said konichiwa, shook my hand then walked away! ;D 

During the Edo period missionaries were expelled as seen as a threat. Seemed quite wise to me as everywhere else where missionaries went, take-over soon followed. Out of the Western powers it was only really the Dutch that Japan had a close relationship with. Exchanged silk etc for medical information- again mind-blowing that the Japanese were so open to science and medical advancement unlike the church in Europe which opposed advancement of science and medicine because they saw it as a threat.

From 1641 only Chinese, Dutch, Korean and Southeast Asian traders were permitted. This heralded 200 years of isolation from the rest of the world. I reckon their isolation is what protected Japan from attack.

The last (15th) shogun knew he'd lose a fight so took voluntarily retirement and returned power to the Emperor. The Edo period ended and Edo became Tokyo.

Kabuki theatre replica from early 19th century:

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The sounds of birds are played in the station and I thought it was for its relaxing effect but google says it is an audio-visual guide for the blind as to which station/ warning that stairs are near.

It's a real shame but we couldn't watch sumos because they have a tournament on at the moment. Also our guide told us that because it was a weekend the promised sumo museum was shut. I wish I'd known that earlier so I could have gone in the week. Oh well, still had a good day.

Back to Tsukiji fish market for more sushi!

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Samurai museum: Live sword demonstration:
Average height of ancient Japanese samurais: 5 ft!

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In the evening I wandered over to Virtual Reality Zone, which was not far from our hostel in Shinjuku. Entry for 4 games was 4400 yen (£30). Expensive but worth it for the one-off experience. VR mariocart was my absolute favourite. I played a horror zombie VR which was scary and also a skiing one where I kept dying. I had to keep moving my feet to ski and the headgear blew air on me so it really felt like I was skiing out of control. The last VR game I played was a heights one- walking on plank of wood to try and save a kitten in a skyscraper. I'd had a good laugh at a Japanese girl's expense- she was so afraid she was crawling along the plank of wood on the floor. I properly wobbled on the plank when I looked so far down, and I actually had to grab this fake kitten and bring it back. Wish we had this in England, great place for young people to spend an evening.

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This featured blog entry was written by 2018-19Nicola22 from the blog JAPAN & AUSTRALIA.
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By 2018-19Nicola22

Posted Mon, Mar 18, 2019 | Japan | Comments