This past trip to Japan was a treat because it was the first time I stayed in Tokyo proper (discounting the very first time, because I didn't know any one or any thing at that time). Here's a view from my hotel room:
It was especially cool because my good friends live just five minutes from the hotel. They came to welcome me the night I arrived, and I saw them again during the week. It was nice to get to know not just Tokyo, but their neighborhood in particular.
Another new-to-me venture was going to see the Imperial Palace. Well, we mostly saw the gardens around it (it's open to the public only twice a year). We got as close as about a football field away from the main gate, gaurded against random entries by menacing police bikes. It trips me out that in a developed country and one that is known for its technology, that law enforcement (and postal service) still ride bikes!
Japanese food -- 'nuff said. I was lucky to go out with different friends every night, which was super fun (but also a little exhausting, to be honest). It was nice to have long catch-up chats and feel a lot of love and support from seemingly far-off friends.
Lastly, a few random shots: ume blossoms just starting out; Japanese handkerchiefs, tenugui, and furoshiki; and a crazy (to me) pedestrian crossing -- on a Saturday afternoon!
The offshore earthquake caused a huge rumbling throughout all of Japan: some reports say that the ground shook for five minutes; and here on the west coast of the U.S. we're getting tsunami warnings, too! I got an email from a friend in the Tokyo area who said that there was significant shaking there, too, and I have yet to call my Japanese parents in the Western part of the country. Let us continue to pray for safety and recovery for Japan.