October 4, 1961 – Tokyo

Imperial Hotel, Tokyo, Japan – Raining

      We woke up early this morning so we would have time to get ready and have breakfast before we started our scheduled tour.  I didn’t sleep well last night but nevertheless I got up, dressed and went down to the dining room for breakfast as soon as possible.  Edith and I got there too early though and we had to wait for it to open. 

      While waiting for the dining room to open for breakfast I wrote Ramona another letter so I could get it mailed while we were still in Tokyo:

 Oct 4, 1961 Raining- Tokyo, Japan

Dear Ramona and everyone;

     We have to be ready for a tour soon, so while waiting for the dining room to open for breakfast I’ll write my daily. 

     Yesterday was an exciting day for me.  We went to bed at 7:30pm the night before after a hot bath, the first sleep we had in 36 hours.  I slept straight thru and woke up at 6am, got up and by 7am we were eating our breakfast. 

     We really fouled the waitress up.  Edith, Mary and I sat down.  Mary ordered her orange juice but told the waitress she would not order her breakfast until her husband came.  This was bad.  Edith and I gave our order then Edith decided to sit on the other side of the table so when the girl came back she didn’t know what to do.  She was so confused I had to straighten her out.  Then the 3 girls around us started chirping like birds and she brought our breakfast and when we started to eat Mary decided not to wait but to order her breakfast.  Well you never saw such confusion because to them this was a thing unheard of.  We didn’t wait until Mary’s husband came.  I’ll bet the girls were ready to walk out. 

     After breakfast we went up to our room it was raining and we thought we couldn’t go shopping.  Edith wanted to write some letters so I went for a tour of the old Imperial Hotel which is beautiful.  So I walked around the shops and was trying to find my way back when I met Franz and Mr. Malmed of the tour.  They said they were looking for a Sumo Wedding about to take place.  We walked thru all the corridors of the building and believe me there were many. 

     We finally saw the table of invitations and the girls with the pretty kimonos and the Sumo wrestlers which would be acting as ushers.  At first we couldn’t get much information, Mr. Mahmed wasn’t having much luck.  I started contacting people and I had much success with a Japanese man with a white coat who seemed to be one of the hotel people.  He could speak a little English.  He taught me to say “Doma Arigato”, thank you very much and how to bow.   Also “Kirei” beautiful, which the little bride certainly was. 

     First we walked down a corridor to the large dining room where the tables were set for at  least 500 people.  Three large bouquets of colorful chrysanthemums on each long table; 8 different sized rock crystal wine glasses beautiful silver and lovely white cloths.  In front of the bride and groom table was an 8 tiered wedding cake in white and decorated. 

     So we went back to the lobby and just then the bride all in white brocade kimono and dressed beautifully walked by with four attendants.  One little woman dressed in black was constantly by her side.  The bride was tiny and beautiful like a doll.  Her eyes down cast – always.  They walked into a room and everyone was very quiet no music.  She must have come out another door.  Later she came into the lobby attended by her four ladies and also a large group of men in morning clothes, tails, etc.  There were 27 people in this group.  The bride Koroku Hiroko was now dressed in a red and gold kimono and her hair was dressed with the little happiness and joy symbol of red and white stripes.  The groom was in his Sumo dress, his name Kaoga Hama Chsone and he is the champion sumo wrestler in Japan at this time.  Many pictures were taken and each time it took about 10 minutes for the ladies to arrange the bride’s clothes so they would appear to the best advantage.  All this time I was without my camera.  As soon as I was able to get away I hurried to our room to get my camera and also to ask Edith to come down.  By this time the bride had changed to another white brocade dress.  I managed to get several pictures of the bride and groom.  They were very gracious and I also got a picture of one of the Sumos.  Then I was given a 20th Century Pear.  The man saying “much happiness luck and long life.” 

     It was all very exciting and I am hoping my pictures turn out good.  Edith is printing this and you will get a copy of the Fillmore Herald – so read it.  I revised it a bit. 

     I’m tired so bye, love Mother

     The dining room opened while I was writing so I finished it at the same time as I waited for the food.  I was glad our breakfast went better than the day before and it tasted good.  I was hungry and knew it would be awhile till we would be given some lunch. 

      All of us were ready for our tour at 7:30am on time for a change so Kiki guided us out to our bus.  All of us moaned when we saw how hard the rain was falling.  We hoped it would taper off but Kiki informed us the projection was for hard rain throughout the day.

      Our bus transferred us to the Asakusa Station for our early morning train ride to Nikko National Park which we heard enjoys great fame.  Kiki told us that it is internationally noted for its architectural wonders such as Toskogu Shrine and Rinnoi Temple, all in the natural setting of the Snake River and lakes.  The train was beautiful, the scenery charming but the track was poor so the ride was not an easy one.  Once we arrived in Nikko they took us to the Kanaya Hotel for our luncheon.  I chose the brook trout and chicken which turned out to be very tasty.

Vermilion Sacred Bridge

     The hotel where we ate at was near the vermilion painted Sacred Bridge over the Snake River.  Once we had finished eating and were standing near the bridge Kiki went over some of the history and significance of it with our group.  He told us that only descendents of royalty were permitted to cross the bridge to visit the Shinto Shrine on the other side.  However, General Mark Clark was given the greatest of honors and the only American, to date, who was permitted to cross the bridge to go the shrine.   Kiki said the tradition still stands today that only royalty cross the bridge so we respected it too.

     After seeing the colorful bridge we went to see the Toshogu Shrine with its fabulous Yomeimon Gate.  While there we also saw the sleeping cat and the relief of the Three Monkeys that was over the Sacred Stables.  The details of both were impressive.  Kiki then took us to see the Ablution Pavilion which was quite intricate.  I took several pictures and bought one that showed a scene from the Festival of Toshogu.  As we neared the Inner Shrine, Kiki had our group all remove our shoes before entering the shrine itself as since it was the tradition in Japan.  I had a hard time taking off my shoes as it turned out to be quite a feat to remove my footwear, slip on socks while holding onto my heavy wool coat.  On top of that I also had to hold the rain coat I’d brought.  Once inside we toured throughout the shrine and learned many things.

Toshugu Worship Shrine

Five Storied Pagoda at Toshogu Shrine

Sleeping Cat at Toshogu Shrine

Three Monkeys Over the Sacred Stables

Yomeimon Toshogu Shrine

Ablution Pavilion in Nikko

     Kiki told us that the government does much to keep these buildings looking the same way they were made.  He said even repaint them every 20 years.  We found out that the shrine has over 30,000 visitors every day during the height of the season and most of the tourists that come there are Japanese natives.  After hearing what Kiki had had to say made me more aware that I had been seeing predominately Japanese tourists while we walked around whereas in the United States the majority of tourists I did see were Americans.

     Once we reached the Inner Shrine I had to take a deep breath because it was so gorgeous.  I could have stood for hours to look at it.  There was a strong sense of reverence by those inside it worshiping.   

     After leaving the shrine we traveled to Lake Chuzenji which was 4,194 feet above sea level.  We saw the Kegon Waterfall and I enjoyed the scenery so very much.  The spray from the water made a little rainbow that made me smile. 

Kegon Falls and Chuzenji Lake

Upper Part of Kegon Falls

Lower Part of Kegon Falls in the Rain

     We returned to Tokyo by the express train having finished our touring for the day.  On the drive back I went over the pictures I’d taken that day and what I’d noticed.  I remembered that we’d seen school children on tours everywhere we went and that I’d tried to get a picture of them.  They had all seemed so well dressed in uniforms and wanted our autographs.  I had also noticed the streets didn’t have any beggars and were very clean.  The Japanese people were to be commended because they used every inch of ground for something.  None of it was being wasted. 

     We got back to our hotel and had dinner at 7:15pm.  Dinner was good and I ordered a nice steak to eat.  Afterwards Edith and I returned to our room so we could have some time to ourselves.  I took a nice warm bath and looked through my luggage so I could get it all packed up quickly in the morning because we were leaving Tokyo.  I pulled out a book I’d brought along to read but quickly put it aside because I was too sleepy.  I turned off the light to see if I could make up for the sleep I’d lost night before.

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