The autumn leaves are falling like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are always two cups at my table.

T’ang Dynasty poem

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~


Thursday, November 26, 2009

To Find Old Tokyo...

A friend sent me this article. I've excerpted a portion below. Click here to read the full article. There is a slide show.

Near Tokyo, a City Shows Its Age, Proudly

TO learn about Tokyo, you sometimes have to leave it. The capital has been rebuilt so many times that those wanting a glimpse of what it looked like years ago head to places like the Museum Meiji-Mura, more than two hours away.

But the city of Kawagoe, right in Tokyo’s backyard, is a more practical alternative. Less than 45 minutes by train, the center of Kawagoe is filled with a well-preserved collection of century-old kura, or warehouses, that still double as stores, workshops and homes.

Many kura are clustered around an even older wooden clock tower and a jumble of buildings from the Taisho and early Showa eras that create the feel of a small town with a charm missing in many Japanese cities. A former castle town, Kawagoe does such a good job evoking the Tokyo of yore that it is affectionately called Little Edo, a reference to the ancient name for Tokyo.

Its streetscape is so authentic that NHK, the national television broadcaster, is filming one of its serialized morning dramas in Kawagoe, a city of 330,000. That has stirred further interest. One afternoon in June, busloads of Japanese grandmothers and grandfathers ambled up and down the city’s streets admiring the three dozen or so kura, the old-time candy shops and the graceful Kitain Temple.

But as I learned more than two decades ago when I taught in the city, the real crowds arrive during the third weekend of October, when Kawagoe puts on one of the most colorful street festivals in the country, replete with three-ton rolling floats.

1 comment:

Sensei Strange said...

I have been there!