Thanksgiving in TOKYO

It still feels a little surreal that I actually visited Tokyo last weekend. It doesn't seem real that I'm on the other side of the world sometimes, but hey, here I am! Duke and I had planned to go to Tokyo over Thanksgiving weekend but then the typhoon hit the Philippines and he was sent out there to help with relief. With no idea when he would be returning, I decided I was going anyways, which worked out since there was another couple from our squadron going. Thanksgiving morning I was at the airport waiting to board my flight and I got a text from Duke saying he was coming back that afternoon (yay)! So he was able to buy a ticket for that evening and meet us up there for a couple days. It was a Thanksgiving miracle!! Here's some pictures from part I of the trip.

 flying out of Okinawa
 my "thanksgiving dinner" Some delicious ramen.
 The first evening/night we wandered through Ueno Park and the surrounding area.

Takoyaki- basically battered balls with octopus inside. I like to think of them as the Japanese version of the aebleskiver, except savory, not sweet. I did discover that it is not a good idea to put the whole thing in your mouth 5 seconds after it came off that grill. They were good, but I still think octopus tastes flavorless rubber. Am I right? 

 panda bear pastries!
 Had to put on the pj's in the room. How could we not?
 Day Two: Headed to Yoyogi Park and checked out the Meiji Shrine.
 It was neat to learn the Shinto traditions. This is a temizu, or hand washing station. You rinse your hands and mouth to purify your actions and words.
 We got to the shrine and were lucky to catch the procession of a traditional wedding ceremony. It was pretty cool. I love seeing other cultures in action!
 When you go into the shrine you pay your respects to the gods by throwing in a coin (we heard a 5 yen coin is the usual), bow twice, clap twice, offer a silent prayer and then bow once more.
 consecrated (and cute) barrels of sake
 We headed across the street to Harajuku area. I had high hope for this area, but it's mostly shopping (which is awesome, but not awesome when your husband is sitting on a bench waiting for you) and there weren't many people out because it was the middle of the day. It's a place where mostly teenagers hang out I guess and sport their "crazy" fashions. Best time to visit is on a Sunday so I hear. Still fun to walk around though!
 I love how all the students in Japan wear uniforms to school. I think they're pretty cute. And I can't tell you how many times in Oki I think "oh there's some missionaries!" Nope, just a couple boys in their school uniform. It makes them all look so smart compared to US students I think. You are what you wear! Or something like that.
 Forever 21!!!! Since I now live in a place that has none of these good old American stores we made the husbands let us do a little shopping. Also hit up H&M. Felt good guys... felt good.
 This is Shibuya Crossing. Busiest crossing in the world. Compared to what I read it seemed pretty calm. But again, it was the middle of the day. It's five crosswalks and ten traffics lanes that all converge. The traffic waits a full minute for everyone to cross and as many as 2500 people may be crossing at once. 
 These people were getting some groomals taken it looked like. Really cute!
 Hachiko. This is a statue of a dog who waited for his owner at this station every evening for a decade after the owners death. I hear there is a movie coming out (or is out?) about him. Such a cute little story. I'm pretty sure Winston would never do that. He'd be off chasing sticks and cozying up with the next person who brought him in. The little brat...
 It was so good to see some fall colors. We don't really get fall down here in Oki. Gorgeous.
 Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden (these people love their gardens! and so do I)

 We headed to Sunshine City in Ikebukuro to get a view of the city. Look what had just opened up! Blue Seal! It's a big ice cream chain down here in Okinawa and I guess it's expanding!
 Headed up 60 floors at 600m/min. Thats about 1200 ft/min. Fast.
 Pretty city lights
 That tower in the distance is Tokyo Sky Tree. It's 634 meters (2000 ft). That's one big ol' tower.

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