Thursday, 13 August 2009

Ueno Park

There is a national holiday going on in Japan this week, where most people get wed, thurs and fri off work. A lot of people seem to leave the city to see family and escape the heat! Yesterday Neil and I decided to head to Ueno Park, which seems to be the Central Park, or Regents Park equivalent in Tokyo. It was another steaming hot day and the cicadas seemed to be chirping even louder than normal, sometimes it builds to a crescendo. We got the subway to the park (even the trains have blinds to block out the heat - thus making it even harder to know what station we were at!). It was great to get to the relative calmness of the park and walk along tree-covered paths, taking in the sights and people-watching. I decided to get like the locals and take my "parasol" for cover - just a brolly, but so needed in the heat. There are several museums (as well as temples, and a zoo) in the park and we decided to head to the Tokyo National Museum to dip into it's permanent collection, which was very inspiring. After a fab lunch of tempura prawns and rice in their restaurant, and a flavoured ice from a local street vendor, we pootled around the nearby streets of the Yanaka District. This area survived major earthquakes and WW2 bombings and consists of narrow roads with tightly packed houses. Nearly every one found room for an arrangement of beautifully kept foliage in the area outside their front doors - like most homes in Tokyo. Very pleasing!

We then decided to head to the Tokyo American club, to get me signed up and to have a cold beer in their bar. Who would have thought I would have become a member of a "club"! I now have my own membership card with a rather fetching photo of me sweaty-faced and ruddy after walking up the hill to get there - goodo!

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