Monday, January 21, 2008

A day in Tokyo

I just spent yesterday with a friend as a tourist in Tokyo. Half the day was spent at the Emerging Science Museum. We could have stayed all day and still not seen it all. Japan is really on the cutting edge of innovative technology. The walking, talking, responding robot didn't just fascinate the kids but kept us all rivet ted.

Walking through the space shuttle where the astronauts live and work for months on end was like walking through a movie set- but this was real.

The next stop was an Onsen (public Japanese bath). This one gave you a taste of what it was like in the rural traditional parts of Japan. We were given a kimono (known as yukata in Japan) to wear and suddenly we found ourselves blending in (sort of) as EVERYONE was wearing one and there were just 10 or so patterns to choose from!

The middle section was set up in the style of a village street full of vendors of wares and food and even side shows (a man playing a trombone).

There were many choices of massages from foot to back to a full body massage; a soak in 14 spring-fed hot pools, a lay on sand or pebbles for heat therapy and the rock studded foot bath as seen here. Sounds easy but it takes grace and poise to walk on the strewn rocks that are there to massage tired feet, while keeping your kimono up out of the water. Did I manage? Well......

One place we looked in, but didn't spend the money to go in, was a pool you sit beside with your feet dangling in the water and little fish nibble off the dead skin on your feet. Ummmm...

We came home late and tired but with lots of good memories and happy massaged feet!
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Saturday, January 19, 2008

Second Mile People

I love Isobel Khun’s book called Second Mile People. I am in Japan right now facilitating a two week workshop and finding my own second mile people.

I have been to Japan 8 times but still a friend met me at the airport. She had to come an hour train journey to meet me, yet did it gladly.

I arrived to a warm room with flowers and hand written welcome note on the desk from the Center managers.

One supper time I was thrilled to see a Japanese friend who was a volunteer helping serve the meal, even after a busy day at her office. I had met her once in Manila and then at this center 2 years ago. That time I had lost a contact and this new friend not only took me to the optical shop but actually paid for my new contact lens!

I have been here 8 times but rarely get out of the conference center to explore the sights of Japan. This Sunday one of the office secretaries is planning to take me to a special place for a Japanese traditional bath. Taking her day off to give a visitor a treat.

I thank God for my second mile people.