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    Museum Week: Tuesday

    Tuesday, May 31, 2011

    Good morning all and welcome to Day Two of Museum Week!

    What can I say about Day Two? That it turned out to be nothing like I expected? That I wish every day were like Day Two?

    If every day were filled with cool breezes, sunshine, French food, and beautiful temples, then...yes! I would wish every day were like Day Two.

    There was just no way we were going to go indoors~on purpose~on a day like Tuesday.

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    Instead, armed with his favorite sand bucket and train, the scallywag and I strolled about the area near our apartment and had a wonderful afternoon snack at Le Pain Quotidien.

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    It recently opened in Tokyo, and as we are all huge fans of French cuisine (particularly those pastries and tartines), we had to stop in.

    Wouldn't you if this was on the menu?

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    Sitting within the dining space, it was pretty impressive to know that everything about the Quotidien establishment was either organic, environmentally friendly, or upcycled.

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    The only thing more impressive was the food! It was to die for.

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    Ordering a lemon tart, Belgian brownie, and cafe au lait, the little guy and I sat at our table for a good 45 minutes. We giggled and took pictures~his little hands barely fitting around my camera. And of course we ate, savoring each delightful sip and delectable bite.

    Since Eldest was on her way home we knew we couldn't stay too, too long, so with the assistance of our sweet waitress, we took a picture together and headed to our second location, an outdoor museum if you will: Shiba Koen.

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    Koen is Japanese for park. There are many of them within Tokyo, but you may be surprised to learn that most used to be private since they housed Temples. Shiba Koen is such a park.

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    It opened to the public in 1873, and is home to a rather famous Zojoji Temple, built in 1393. That's right 1393. Goodness does this country have history! Sadly, most of the other buildings that once stood nearby were destroyed during the air raids in 1945.

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    Thankfully the main Temple for the Jodo-Buddhists still stands, and visitors as well as practitioners can visit whenever they want. Whether it's to pray, chant, or just quietly observe, all are welcome.

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    Even the scallywag and his boisterous personality is allowed entrance.

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    We went inside to smell the burning incense and see the golden alter, but I did not take any pictures. There were several people deep in prayer, and it seemed disrespectful to interrupt.

    Instead, the little guy and I retreated to the pebbled grounds to play with, you guessed it, the pebbles.

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    Oh yes, and rocks.

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    It felt so incredibly nice outside, this happy boy and I could have stayed on the grounds for hours.

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    But not only did we have Eldest arriving home soon, but dinner to figure out! Two pretty important things. Knowing it was time to leave, the scallywag and I left through a small garden area dedicated to the jizobosatusu, or the protector of the souls of stillborn children.

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    Dressed in little red bonnets and adorned with colorful windmills, the jizobosatusu is the Buddhist equivalent of an angel. Mothers who have lost children are allowed to dress these miniature dieties in baby clothes as well as leave toys. But it's good to note that this divinity is the protector of all children, not only the ones who have passed before their parents.

    It's a beautiful garden, but a sad one as well. Having lost my own unborn children, I can empathize with the pain of the families, and often find myself bowed in prayer before we leave.

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    Yesterday, this particular statue caught my eye. It's the first time I'd seen an entire body dressed, but more than that, there seemed to be a letter or prayer inscribed on the little gown.

    In my mind it wasn't important to understand what the letter or prayer said. That the words came from the heart of a parent was all I needed to know. It was a very moving sight to behold.

    The scallywag was noticably quiet as we passed through the garden, hugging me tightly as we headed back home. Considering we'd gone from running about the Koen grounds to leaving on a more somber note, I was surprised that he'd picked up on the change in mood. Surprised and touched.

    What a special little guy.

    And so ended our second day of Museum Week. Day One brought a challenge in the form of opening myself up to something new, while Day Two ended up challenging my heart.

    What, I wonder, will Day Three bring for my son and I?

    7 Responses to “
    Museum Week: Tuesday

    Majigma said...

    I am really enjoying reading about your museum week. I have such fond memories of the temples and gardens in Japan. They most peaceful and lovely places I had ever seen and I love seeing them again. And I can't get over how cute your baby boy is. :)

    Ally Garner said...

    I am LOVING this series on Museum week. You're a terrific photographer btw!

    The jizobosatusu are some of the most touching images i've ever seen. My goodness, they're so beautiful and yet represent such unimaginable pain. Truly looking forward to hearing about your adventures the rest of the week.

    PS-i'd give my right arm for pain au chocolate right now. When i studied abroad, this was my fave treat, esp from street vendors. Yum!

    Ruth said...

    I love the look on Jaxs face while playing in the rocks.
    And the sweet pic of the two of you.

    love
    R

    Kerri said...

    Great posts this week! It is amazing - the 1300s! What history! I love the photos and I love the baby memorials. :)

    Your Southern Peach said...

    What a great day and a fun idea!!!

    I was so impressed with the amount of green space when I visited Tokyo. It's such a beautiful city with a serene feeling despite it's massive population!

    Thanks for sharing!

    Best,

    Amy

    Southern Living: Preppy Style said...

    Wow! My mouth is absolutely watering over that French food, yummy! The museum week is wonderful and your pictures are always so colorful and amazing!

    Suburban Princess said...

    Your son always looks so well behaved!

    At the French restaurant...did they speak French?