Sunday, April 8, 2012

In Japan - Blooming flowers - Yoyogi Park

This is my third day in Japan. We arrived at the dorm pretty late on the first day (if I'm not wrong we reached Ikebukuro station around 6 and walked for about 10 minutes from there to our dorm). The dorm doesn't have a particular name, so I'll just call it The Dorm.

The dorm is pretty decent. Considering it's in Tokyo, the size is not too small. I have a room on my own, which include a mini kitchen (when I said 'mini', I really mean it), a medium fridge and a bathroom. The responsibility to clean everything in my room is solely mine, but that means I have less worries about other people being messy.

I spent the first half of the second day attending a welcoming ceremony, which was a little bit long because the speeches had to be translated into English, Chinese and Korean. Well, the good news was that I could understand about 80% of the speech although I use contextual knowledge to figure some meanings out. After that I met a good ol' classmate of mine. She also stays in Tokyo, but a little farther down. About an hour by subway (which I will sometimes refer as densha some time in the future, accidental or not). We met up at Hachiouji and went to Karaokekan (カラオケ官). Since she has a membership card, we only paid 700 yen each. We spent 2 hours, I ordered iced coffee milk and she ordered iced cocoa milk (each of us had to buy at least a drink). The drinks are 350 yen each, so you could say the 2 hours of karaoke was worth 350 yen.

Then I headed back to dorm. Slightly a little early because I was not familiar with the place and I don't really want to find any troubles by going home when it's dark and it's hard to ask someone for direction.

I unpacked some stuffs, grabbed a bento box for dinner, then looked up for hanami (flower viewing) spots. There was one at Hello Kitty's Town down in Tama City, but I figure it's going to be a little too far if I want to explore Shinjuku Gyouen National Park (voted the best viewing spot) and Yoyogi Park in Harajuku, so I ended up saving Hello Kitty's Town for later dates.

Anyways, the flowers bloom very beautifully, the sky was clear blue and the weather was cool. A little bit warm if you stay under the sun for quite some time. 

I'll start with Yoyogi in this post and Shinjuku Gyouen in the next one:

I don't know the name of the flower but it was very bright and pretty.

The narcissistic me. Teehee.

I'm not sure if that guy was saving a spot for hanami, or is homeless.

Trashes are normally gathered at one place. They still scatter here and there because the trash doesn't fit into the container, but they're still kept close to the designated trash area.

There was a bird viewing spot in Yoyogi Park, but somehow the only birds present were the crows. They're pretty loud, although each of them sings in a different tune. In a way, it was kind of like listening to a crow orchestra.

More trash. 

The sakura flowers I found at Yoyogi Park are white, so when the petals fall it felt like snow was falling.

If you look a little closer, not all of them have bloomed. The sakura bloomed rather late this year because this year's spring has been rather cold. I was lucky because they just bloomed when we came.

A lot of the trees are huge and they spread widely. People brought some sort of plastic-like mat to sit on. Most of them are plain blue in color, but some fancy ones have Hello Kitty or other graphics on them.

Also inside Yoyogi Park lies a dogrun. People came and unleash their dogs and puppies. Kind of like a gathering place for dogs and their owners. The dogrun was segmented by dog size and weight.

There were a lot of activities going on. There was a group of elderly who was doing taichi / taikyokuken there because the park is spacious.

And a number of them play badminton.

In the middle of the park lies a pond and a fountain. 

I sat on a bench close to the pond while drinking cold beer. I'm not usually a beer drinker, but everyone around seems to be drinking beer so I tried to get the same feeling. And you know what? It was probably the most delicious beer I've ever had.

The edges of the pond are pretty flat, so a lot of people decide to set their base there.

Last but not least, festivities come with street foods nearby. Yes, there were takoyaki, okonomiyaki and other stuffs. They sell beer a little bit more expensive (500 yen instead of 300 yen if you buy inside the park). I bought torikawa yaki (pan fried chicken skin), served with kimchi for 350 yen and it was very delicious.

Well, I did say above that I will be posting about Shinjuku Gyouen next, but I forgot that since Meiji Jingu is just next to Yoyogi Park, I went there before I went to Shinjuku Gyouen. So, yes, the next post will be about Meiji Jingu!


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