Monday, April 9, 2012

In Japan - Shinjuku Gyoen

This is the fourth day. There was another general orientation, which I think is pretty helpful although at some time it goes pretty slowly. Thanks to the orientation now I know more about the train system (Pasmo, Suica, Train Pass, their differences and how they work), manners on public transportation and other stuffs. It was especially interesting when our student coordinator explained about chikan (perverts who molest their targets on the train, especially found when the train is fully packed). Not because I find the subject matter interesting, but because the drawing he did on the white board was really funny. A stickman chikan. And somehow the naughty arm touching the but looks very intimidatingly funny. To me. LOL.

The results of the placement test was out. Some people knew the results right after but mine was an anomaly so it took some time for the teachers to decide.

I'm placed in Level 4, which basically studies everything in N2 Japanese language proficiency test. And this was the third time I bragged about this online, but I'm sorry, I was really surprised and thrilled to the fact that I didn't have proper Japanese language classes unlike many people there and yet I was the only one from the group of US newcomers who reached that high of a level. 

Attending Japanese Conversation Table back in college (although it was only a year) definitely helped me a lot. Watching anime and J-drama with no subtitles, too.

Alright, as promised, Shinjuku Gyoen :) I took a Metro subway from Meiji Jingu Mae to Shinjuku Gyoenmae (which literally translates to "in front of Shinjuku Gyoen). It was about a 2 minute walk from the station to the gate. There are two gates: Odeki Gate and Shinjuku Gate. 

I started from Odeki Gate, and the line to the ticket counter was... 1 hour. And I was alone. Poor me have no one to talk to but Facebook because I don't really know everyone in the dorm yet and those whom I know either already had plans or didn't want to go out too early. But the park was worth the wait.

The Odeki Gate entrance. Entrance fee is 200 yen per person, and once you go out you cannot come back in. The entrance was fully packed with people @__@

Even from the entrance you could already see so many sakura trees blooming.

Pretty, right? :)

I took the park map, both in Japanese and in English, because the contents are different. While both have the overall map with pointers, only the Japanese map includes pictures of 7 different types of sakura. The English map gives you descriptions of the park's highlights and history, but it didn't have any explanations on the sakura types.

So while I thought there were only white sakura, there are actually the pink and red ones too. And even if the colors of the petals are the same, the shapes are different. The middle section of the flowers may have different colors too.

Here's pink sakura:

White sakura, pink sakura and the narcissistic me xD

This one has a both pink and white sakura on the same branch. And the pink is of a different shade too :)

There were beautiful ponds inside the park, and as you cross the ponds, you will be greeted with more sakura petals!

There were still some tress that have not bloomed yet, like this one:

But nevertheless, they are still very beautiful.

Alright, enjoy the rest of sakura pictures!

Oh and lastly, aside from the Japanese aspects, Shinjuku Gyoen also has Western style gardens. They're located closer to Odeki Gate, while the Japanese traditional gardens are located closer to Shinjuku Gate. I walked all the way from Shinjuku Gate to Odeki Gate because I missed the French Rose Bed as I came in earlier. I didn't want to miss it, so I decided to walk from one end to the other end. According to road signs on the park, the distance from one gate to another is about 700 meters. So yes, that was quite a long walk considering I had been walking for about 5 hours nonstop by then.

Only to find that the roses are not even budding yet :(

The 'bald' bed rose. Boo.

Okay, time for me to do some readings before the first class! 


Post a Comment

Comments are welcome, but please comment responsibly :)