August 22, 2010

Things to Look Out For In Kurihama

Kurihama is all the way at the end of the JR Yokusuka Line. The Keisei Line also dead ends here.

There is a helpful map by the Keisei Line train station.

Yeah...That random encounter table can be a beeotch.

(It's a Godzilla dear....get in the Taxi)

There is a less menacing attraction though, and it is of some interest to history buffs...
This little bay is considerably built up now.

But across the street is a small, somewhat overgrown  park that commemorates what happened nearly 160 years ago....

...with this huge (~60 feet high) monument explaining the significance of the place.

Oh, wait.

  Yes, this is where Commodore Perry landed. His orders  involved rescuing American seamen who were being held in Japan after being shipwrecked, returning several Japanese fishermen who had been rescued by US vessels and opening trade relations with Japan.  His arrival not only opened Japan to far less restricted outside trade, it started in motion a chain of events that would lead to the downfall of the Tokugawa Shogunate and bring about the Meiji Restoration.

There is a nice little museum...

... which contains dioramas as well as artifacts of the period, including Edo newspapers that were following the story as it unfolded.

( click here to embigulate)

The monument is made of rocks from Newport  Rhode Island (Perry's home town).

The rear of the park is a children's playground and is immaculately kept. I spoke to the sole groundskeeper whose duties include running the museum, keeping both parks in order and being janitor for the museum. He was a very friendly fellow who spoke no English but dug out some English language pamphlets.

Given the amount of development in the area ( the place is very industrialized now) It's remarkable that this little bit of history survives. If I understand the text in the museum correctly (It's mostly, but not entirely bilingual) there is a big ceremony here every year on the anniversary, with reinactors and, of course, fireworks.

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