(Before getting into this blog post, the main photo above is of this really cute gift I received from Atsuko, the old lady who I spent New Years Day with – see my other blog posts! It was a Congratulations present for the Coming of Age ceremony I took part in last week – hand painted boxes with biscuits inside! I like the photo so I thought I’d use that as the main photo for this blog post… Anyway, carry on reading for this blog post!)
Now that classes are coming to an end, my free time is ever increasing. For some reason there were no classes at university today, but I had the day off anyway as my class on Wednesday has now finished (last week was the final class).
Being stingy as ever, I looked up free things to do last night in preparation for today and I was getting really psyched for some free museums that I had planned to go to, but quite a few of them were closed this Wednesday. Boo.
But I found one that wasn’t closed today, and so I hopped on my bike and went to the ‘National Hansen’s Disease Museum’ in Higashimurayama.
Only 35 mins away by bike, I was really excited about going to this museum. Partly because it was free (of course) but also I had no idea what Hansen’s Disease was.
So this museum is all about, yes you’ve guessed it, Hansen’s Diease.
But what is it?
In actual fact, this disease has another name that is more familiar to me – Leprosy.
This was a really interesting museum that was set up “for the purpose of eradicating the prejudices and discrimination associated with Hansen’s disease and restoring the dignity of patients and former patients by promoting public edification and dissemination of accurate information regarding the disease” (from the website).
It was really interactive and there were loads of videos and photographs that helped tell the situation of Leprosy in Japan.
The biggest problem was that it was all in Japanese. Of course, I didn’t expect anything less, but I was hoping there was going to be some English translation or something like that written next to the Japanese. I didn’t know any of this medical vocabulary in English, let alone in Japanese so my brain started to hurt not long after I arrived, hahaha! Nevertheless, it was good kanji reading practise.
They even had some waxwork figures to show what the living conditions were like for those who had Leprosy and were segregated from society. I was the only one walking around when I went and it was kinda scary – I don’t like waxwork figures as I always feel like they’re going to come alive at any second.
There was even artwork and pottery made by people with Leprosy on display. I think it was really good how the museum thoroughly covered all areas concerning this illness, from the causes and prejudice right through to the recovery and success stories.
After visiting the museum, I cycled around the area and picked up something to eat from a nearby supermarket. I then decided to head to Tachikawa, which is the next big ‘town’ after Kunitachi on the train line. Up until now, I had never been there but I recently found out that there is a Takashimaya and Isetan department store there. As you know, I love going to these two department stores. Why?
BECAUSE OF THE FOOD HALL ON THE BASEMENT FLOOR!!
Yes, I love going to the food section of department stores as there are normally free samples and I love looking at all the sorts of cakes and delicacies you can buy.
I normally don’t buy anything as I can’t afford it but today I splashed out and bought this baked goodie that had white bean paste inside. I’ve had it on several occasions but I realised when I was writing this blog post, that I don’t know the name of this wonderful treat. It is like a taiyaki – baked doughy outer layer with bean paste in the middle. It only cost me 80yen which I thought was a bargain, especially for Takashimaya.
Now I’m looking up things to do in the next coming weeks. I might go to some other museums and art galleries tomorrow, but I have my part time job so we’ll see how things go.
Sorry, this was a bit of a random blog post and very factual. Nothing much has been happening since my last post, but I’ve written all my essays and done my presentations for this semester (completed everything last night!) so I should be doing more interesting posts in the future!
Thanks for reading!!