Last full day is Japan, and Blogger still won’t let me post a damn picture. Maybe it’s the hotel internet connection, or maybe Goog is just screwing with me. I’ll try a huge picture dump when I get home – I have some beauties, plus video.
The bad news is, Ishihara was re-elected easily. I just can’t figure out what Tokyo sees in this sour old turd, but they keep re-electing him. Being an incumbent and “law and order” nationalist didn’t hurt when the disasters struck, that’s for sure.
As for me, I had more great ramen, but the bulk of my day was spent in Nikko. It was one of the last major holdouts from my first two trips that didn’t make the cut, and I really wanted to check it out. It was a Sunday and Nikko is normally swamped with day-trippers and weekenders from Tokyo, but it was surprisingly quiet. Maybe they all stayed home to vote, or maybe because Nikko is further North (though protected by mountains and less impacted by radiation than even Tokyo) there’s an instinctive reluctance to go. I can’t say – but I did get to see the remarkable place relatively peacefully. The shrines to the Tokugawa Shoguns Iemasu and Iemitsu and tremendous – the former (built by the latter) for it’s un-Japanese grandiosity and the latter for it’s discreet beauty. But my favorite place in Nikko was the Kanmangafuchi Abyss. It’s not much of an abyss – just a gorge with tumbling waters and a nice waterfall – but it has an incredible line of 70+ Jizo statues in varying states of moss-covered decay, dating back almost 400 years. Jizo is the protector of travelers and children, and I can’t think of anyone who needs (and deserves) it more.
Tomorrow I at least have a solid half-day – I don’t need to be on a train to Narita till 4 or so – so that’ll be a casual shopping day and fond “Ja ne” to Tokyo and to Japan. I feel more at home every day I spend here and it kills me that much more to leave, but I just have to trust I’ll return. See you tomorrow with one more update, and hopefully some pics.