January 12, 2004 – Coming of Age Day

Shiodome City Center

Shiodome City Center

Today was a National Holiday: Coming of Age Day. It is a holiday to celebrate all the people who became 20 years old in the past year. 20 is considered the age of majority in Japan. Since I had the day off, I went to Asakusa with Yumi and one of her friends.

Asakusa is home to Sensoji – a giant Buddhist temple. The approach to the temple is a 250 meter long shopping area called Nakamichi. This is a great place to buy souvenirs and touristy stuff. Due to the holiday, the temple area was completely packed with people in kimonos, so getting around was difficult.

After spending some time around Sensoji, we went to the Shiodome area near Shinbashi and Ginza. This area used to be occupied by a large train station. Expressways and changes to other nearby train stations made the original Shinbashi station unnecessary. Since real estate is at a premium in Tokyo, the large area of land occupied by the train station and yards was redeveloped into an area filled with skyscrapers. Shiodome has become on of Tokyo’s most modern city centres.

The three of us wandered around some of the tall buildings and then went to a restaurant called “Vietnam Frog” for dinner. The food was fantastic and they had an English menu.

As a conversational English teacher, I have to be fairly good at having a conversation. I usually pride myself on being able to talk to almost anyone and still be somewhat interesting. During dinner my brain shut down and I literally had nothing interesting to talk about. Seriously, nothing. I ended up discussing my job in English at great length for some reason. When I got home later I was thinking “why did I just end up talking about work the whole time?”.

It was a great day out – I got to see a historical side of Tokyo and one of the newest major developments as well. I just wish I would have been a little more interesting for my friends to listen to…

(full rewrite of original post which was only 4 sentences long)

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