Thursday, October 14, 2010

3 Shades of Green

My second day in Tokyo started out with a strange shade of green.  Getting used to Coke Zero instead of diet coke has been somewhat of a challenge for me.  So to be "good" my inclination was to substitute my usual diet coke with another beverage.  Maybe one that is a bit healthier.  I had the urge for apple juice.  I caught the 7am Tokyo Highway bus from my hotel to Tokyo Station.  At the station there is a store, not a 7-11, but one that is similar.  I searched the shelves for apple juice.  I took my purchase, along with some other goodies to the check out.  It was painless.  I am getting accustomed to the currency change.  I had few minutes to spare before my train for my next activity when I decided to crack open that apple juice.  First shade of green.  What I thought was apple juice was in fact green tea.  They look the same to me.  It even had an apple on the outside of the plastic container.  It was me who turned green.  Yuck, I am not a fan of green tea.

One of the sights I wanted to see in Tokyo was the Sumu Wrestlers.  They crack me up.  I know it is a serious sport, and that tradition prevails.  I visited the Tokyo tourist office yesterday and the kind young lady gave me detailed instruction on how to get to where some Sumu's were training.  They train each day from 7:30 am to 9:30am.  I had a lot of ground to cover to get to where they are training.  From Tokyo station I took the JR ( Japan Railroad) to the Bakuro Cho Station.  There I was to find the subway station, Bakuro Yokoyama and take the Green Line, Toei Shinjuku line & get off at the Hamo cho St Station.  A total of 3 trains.  When I came to the surface street level I was in a neighborhood that was less like the downtown area of Tokyo and more residential.  Still the streets were narrow.  I found my way a few block towards the park & saw a Sumu outside.  It is customary to allow four people inside to sit on chairs to observe the training.  All seats were full, so I stood outside and watched through the open glass windows.  It took me quite a while to get to this location, and I only saw the last 20 minutes of the training.  The oil that they use on their hair smells like incense.  The  body stench does not smell so good.  Hard to describe.  Gym feet and incense combined I suppose would be the best description.  My second shade of green was envy.  I was shocked that men so big were so flexible.  While they were stretching, a few of the men could actually do the splits.  Front to back as well as side to side.  They might be big, but not fat.  Alot of muscle and strenght.  After visiting with them afterwards,  (one spoke broken english)  I walked around the neighborhood and through a park.  I watched some kids play lacrosse in a field that had a 100 foot net surrounding it.

With my subway map in hand I am off to my next stop.  Most who know me know that I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints ( Mormon).  Our church has temples through out the world.  ( )There is one in Tokyo.  Because of great directions that I received from a former Missionary to Japan ( Thanks Todd !),  I able to navigate from Hamacho ( Sumu Wrestlers) to the area where the Temple is located.  I took the Green line one stop to Bakuroyokyuama and changed to the orange line to Ningyocho.  Next I got on the silver line and got off on the Hir-o stop.  I came up to the street level and saw a sign showing the neighborhood.  In Todds instructions he said that theTemple was across the street from the park.  I saw that the park was quite large & I suspected that I would be walking around the park in hopes to find the Temple.  I came around the corner to where the park is located & I had to make the decision to go left or right.  While contemplating I looked up & saw the golden Moroni statue on the steeple of the Temple.  My decision was made, go left.  I walked up to in & went inside and spent a couple of hours.  No green, just white.

After my Temple service, I decided to explore the beautiful park across the street.  It was what I had always imagined a typical Japanese garden or park to look like.  The beauty was in the details.  Bridges, archways, ponds and ducks.  Turtles, carp and koi.  There was even an old man fishing & releasing his fish that he caught.  Green ferns, trees that scooped and trees that bended in many different directions are my last shade of green.  I do not think this this was a zen garden, however it was a place that was peaceful.  Maybe it was because I had just had a great experience and felt like the park was somewhat holy as well.  It was a spiritual feeling to be in the outdoors like that in the middle of the city.  I sat on what I thought was a log, only it was cement made to look like wood, and was able to look in all directions and just see green foliage.  What a contrast from the rest of Tokyo.  If you were to ask me what color is Tokyo, I would say "grey" because of all of the cement buildings and sidewalks. It is grey with splashes of color that are the neon signs, etc.  It was refreshing to be surrounded by trees, birds and turtles.  All need green space to thrive, just like we do to survive.  I think there should be more green spaces.


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