Hiro's parents were down last week for the week to attend oldest aunt's funeral. Although it breeches norms in some parts of the extended family, they also did their best to do sightseeing in Tokyo and enjoy themselves, as far as possible.
Hiro's father has a thing for the Edo Tokyo Museum. I used to be impressed by the museum, but was less so this time, the history was less cohesive, less comprehensive, more piecemeal. There used to be a wonderful display of Edo newspapers that has been removed to make way for odds and sods that the museum has acquired. The English also seemed lesss than before. Much of the section on the Yoshiwara, which was new, did not have English. I wonder whether there is someone new at the top...
Anyway we wandered out of the Edo Tokyo Museum and I thought it might be interesting to take a detour via the Kanto Earthquake (1923) Memorial Hall in Yokoamicho Park. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yokoamicho_Park. By sheer fluke it was the 89th anniversary of the earthquake - 1st September 1923. The earthquake, which struck just before midday, must have felt apocalyptic, even in a country accustomed to earthquakes. The earthquake struck at a time when people were cooking and the fires that followed the earthquake were devastating. More than 140,000 people were killed in the earthquake and fires that followed. Many of those who died, died in the place where the memorial hall is located. Residents crowded into the defuct Honjo Army Depot hoping to escape the flames and instead were engulfed...
There is no mention inside the hall of the massacre of Koreans that followed the earthquake - spurred on by false rumours that Koreans were poisoning the wells. The Tokyo metropolitan govt site says there is a memorial to Koreans. I didn't see it - it's certainly not prominent. Next time I am back there I'll see if I can find it.
|The memorial temple built by Ito Chuto, who also built Tsukiji Honganji.|
|Hiro's parents lined up for onigiri - Hiro & I were aghast - though to be fair,|
I guess they were just old enough to remember
the war and post war deprivation. Unsurprisingly they were not very tasty...
|A Japanese garden. One of the lessons of the Kanto earthquake was the need|
for public space as evacuation areas.