There’s something oddly comforting about watching the World Series from your Tokyo hotel room. (Even more so when the Yankees lose.)
It’s Sunday, and I’ve devoted the day to doing as little as possible. It’s a lofty goal, but so far I’m doing a good job of achieving it. Yesterday was something of a washout, literally and figuratively: the rains started coming down in earnest mid-afternoon, which sent me and some of my colleagues scurrying for cover and, later, for the hotel. (Not before my leather jacket got soaked, alas. Any advice for dealing with sopping wet leather?)
Before the rain, we went to Meiji Shrine, a Shinto affair dedicated to Emperor Meiji (and Empress Shoken) after their deaths in the 1910s. (Although, like everything else in Tokyo, it was blown to bits during dainiji sekai taisen; it was rebuilt in 1958.) Saturday was ol’ Meiji’s 149th birthday, the Autumn Grand Festival, and Culture Day, a Japanese national holiday, so the place was packed. There were hundreds of little kids decked out in elaborate kimonos or traditional samurai outfits, their beaming parents walking beside them. (Kimono fact of the day: they can’t be cleaned by any traditional method. If a kimono becomes stained, it is taken apart, thread by thread, cleaned, then completely rewoven. It was a sloppy day, so I fear some serious unsewing was going on last night.)
Culture Day at Meiji Shrine means lots of yabusame (archery on horseback) and martial arts demonstrations. It also meant bumping into none other than Sakurako Tsuchiya, the sake brewer from a few days ago. She was selling her wares to the crowds. (Bonus Sakurako fact: she got a master’s in computer programming before becoming the country’s most celebrated sake brewer! Could she get any better?)
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Joshua Benton is the director of the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University, among other things. Before that, he was a staff writer and columnist for The Dallas Morning News. (More.)
Any opinions expressed here are solely mine, and not those of my employer. In many cases, they may not even be mine.