Tokyo Ueno Park

The second day of our Japan trip began with an unhealthy breakfast because our hotel package didn’t include any. We therefore had to buy some carbs from the nearby convenience store, Family Mart, the night before. I call them carbs instead of food because at least 55% of the calories came from carbohydrates, while only 10% came from protein. I didn’t bring a scale to Japan, but I must’ve gained 5 pounds of blubber during these 9 days.

Bad BreakfastThe destination for the morning was Ueno Park. We took the Oedo Line from Shinjuku to Ueno-okachimachi station, which saved us 3 stops than if we were to take the Yamanote Line. This trip was in 2012, before Suica was widely used. So we bought a lot of these paper tickets.

Subway TicketI found photo-taking of station maps to be quite useful, even though I already had a Lonely Planet travel book. The station maps were usually more up-to-date and detailed.

Subway MapUeno ParkUeno Park was a short walk from exit A3 of Ueno-okachimachi. It was a regular large park with some museums and monkey bars. There was, however, an interesting and overweight artist who painted teddy bears on the pavement with water droplets. This was outside the National Museum of Western Art.

Teddy Bears Meanwhile, other slimmer artists tried to perform some circus acrobatics. All though they needed more practice, at the end of the day, I guess it’s the effort that counts.

Circus ActTo build onto the theme of an artist’s park, there was a large abstract mirror ball outside Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum. The ball could also be practically used for photo-taking.

Mirror BallMirrors could also be used to reflect the happy faces of these wheat pots.

Wheat PotsI included this photo because I wasn’t sure what the hanging colored ornaments symbolized. Probably it was for some festival?

Mini Pennants

We then took the Yamanote Line 15 stations counterclockwise to Harajuku. Besides looking at the young designer wear, we also passed by the Yoyogi National Stadium, which houses ice hockey tournaments, concerts, and will even host the 2020 Olympics handball competitions. Looking at the exterior, can you believe this structure was built in 1964? I just have to give it up to the Japanese architect Kenzō Tange.

Yoyogi StadiumMore unsolved mysteries. Anyone know what these lanterns symbolize? They were located in a tree log park near the Meiji Jingu shrine.

Lantern WallMeiji Jingu ShrineIt was raining for 4 out of 9 days. Only after arrival upon Narita International Airport did I realize a small non-waterproof hole in my shoe sole. Whenever I stepped on a shallow puddle, the water would soak my socks through capillary action. As I only brought along 1 pair of shoes, I should’ve bought a new pair at Takeshita Street, just like my classmate. Instead, I saved up that money to buy a maple leaf ceramic ornament for my cute betta fish back home, as well as a caramel nut creme crepe.

Takeshita StreetWe finished the evening exploring some fashion shops in Ginza, as well as getting lost for 1 hour between our hotel and the closest subway station. Guess I should’ve trained up my map-reading skills.



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