|In the center of Tokyo, The Imperial Palace at sunset, with hanging cherry blossoms. To me it looks like a Castle!!|
Many years ago before I even knew I was going to be living in Japan, I read a book about Japan, it was called The Empire of Signs.
It was by a French writer named Roland Barthes. He talked about how when he visited Japan he got to know it through reading many different `signs`, mostly visual and cultural, as he didn`t know the language and anyway is one who reads into things with his writing. He described Japan as an `Empire of Signs`. For example, he talked about chopsticks and how he learned something about the culture by the way people use chopsticks to `choose` and `divide` foods. He contrasted with the way in western culture we use a fork to `pierce` into foods, and the way the plate is arranged, a western way is with a main at the center, but on a Japanese plate many small dishes and dishes within dishes. He looked at the plate without a center, vs. the western way of eating, and shows the reader his view of Japan people through a series of essays each one unfolding and shaping his narrative. It was a very interesting book and at the time it opened my eyes to a new world of Japan, a country I didn`t know I would one day live in, but a country I had always been drawn to for it seeming so different from my own.
One of the things he also gave a chapter to--the chapters in his book were each a short essay on an aspect of Japan-- was the center of Tokyo, and the Imperial Palace that is located there. But mostly he described the center as `empty`. As the Palace occupies that center, if you look at the plan of the city center, it is `empty`. The Palace is built, like the castles, with a plan that surrounds an `empty` center. I was intrigued by this idea of the `empty` center of Tokyo, and the writer contrasted it with the busy and congested centers of most of our cities. (note these recollections are from my memory of the book which I read maybe 20 plus years ago!)
Funny how the other day when I was in Tokyo I wasn`t even planning to go to see the center of Tokyo, but I ended up there!!! I wanted to find a place called David`s Deli, to try it during he Passover week, and the station clerk said to go outside to change to another subway line.
When I went to the exit out of the subway to switch trains, I saw a sign in the station that said `This way to the Imperial Palace`. The subway I needed to transfer to, was just that way, and a walk above ground. So I took a detour and took a walk around the center of the city. I never made it that day to David`s Deli, but to the Imperial Palace instead.
I had been there once before years ago when I first visited Japan with my husband on our "honeymoon" trip. So returning there this time after years of living here, it was a new experience finding myself there on my own on Passover week!
The cherry trees were wonderful and there were so many kinds!! I took more photos with the Matzah, keeping in the theme of Cherry Blossoms and Matzah. Indeed, in the center of the city you can see, there is a "moat" of water surrounding the Palace, (it looks like the castles), and a lot of green as well. When I got there it was already close to sundown, and the gates were closed to enter, but I enjoyed taking a walk around the center.
I kind of forgot I was holding matzah, when a couple approached me near the time of the sundown, and smiled and said something about the matzah!! It turned out they were a Jewish couple who had just arrived in Tokyo and were there on their 30th wedding anniversary. They said it really blessed them to see the matzah, totally unexpected. I was blessed by meeting them too.
I was surprised how much the Imperial Palace resembles the Castles! I hadn't noticed that when I was there the first time.
God Bless you and thank you for reading and sharing in my Tokyo posts, I think they are just about done, as I have already started making Challah again. Today was the first Shabbat after Passover.
For you who kindly asked how I am doing with my daughter in her new life and me in mine, thank you for asking. God so wonderfully and lovingly is bringing me new fellowship to celebrate the Shabbat with, starting the first Shabbat after Passover.
May we bring what we learned from the Passover weeks and be set free into the new season..
Blesssings and Shalom!