Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Golden Week


Oh god. So here I am behind in writing this thing. I really need to make sure I stay up to date with this otherwise you will continue to not hear from me for a week or so and then have a ridiculously long-winded post about the things I’ve been doing. I’m currently typing on a Japanese keyboard so forgive me if there are misplaced apostrophes, etc.

On that note, Golden week just passed. For those of you that don’t know, Golden week is a magical week where 3 holidays managed to land on the same week! Yay! That means I had Friday off and then the following Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. I still had to work Monday and Friday, which was a pain, but that’s still better than having to work the whole week. During Golden week, I had plans to visit the zoo, Sankeien garden, Tokyo, and maybe go down to Enoshima to see the aquarium. Well, it rained on Tuesday and Thursday of Golden week. What a bummer.

Since I had Friday off, I went to the zoo. I figured I might beat out a lot of people in going because I figured some people would be traveling all day to their destination of choice (IE people from Kyoto visiting Yokohama). I’m not sure if I was right or not because Zoorasia was packed. I still had a lot of fun though. I was able to get very close to see a red panda and some tanukis; closest I’ve ever been.

Besides all of the cute animals, the zoo itself is cool. There is a huge natural area and the enclosures are quite large and nice for the animals. Zoorasia is a lot better than I’ve seen at most zoos at least.

On Monday night, I met up with Gwynnie and Jeff. They are both ALTs from Hamamatsu. I was really excited to meet them finally! I’ve been reading Gwynnie’s blog for almost a year now. I met them at Kannai station and we walked to China town from there.

We found the Seiryuu gate and Jeff was kind enough to take a picture of me with the Hello Kitty panda statue. It only took me 2 years to get that stupid picture. We bought bubble tea (mango) and Jeff and Gwynnie bought a fornicating panda sake set. I lol’d so hard. We also found a giant tea kettle.

On Tuesday, I moped around my area of town. It was rainy so I went to one of the local coffee shops and drew some pictures. The coffee wasn’t the best and neither was the cheesecake. I had fun though because the barrista was nice and they were playing old british music. Needless to say, I probably won’t be going back there. There is one other coffee shop locally owned in my area and it is attached to a book store. I will be checking that place out probably this weekend. On Wednesday, my couch arrived. Afterwards, I tried to make it to Sankeien, but there just wasn’t enough time. I decided I’d just go back to China Town. Back at Chukagai, I found the Genbu gate. All that’s left for me to see is the Byakko gate. I blame Fushigi Yugi for this obsession. I ate some delicious veggies and wandered back home.

On Thursday, I went up to Tokyo. I wanted to hang out with my friend Mat again, but my phone died and I was on the other side of town from him. I still feel kinda guilty about that; miscommunication and bad timing. This was my first time in Ueno in a really long time. I think the last time I was there was in 2006. I had been around the area (Asakasa, Nippori, Akiba), but not actually in Ueno; the park. The park was lively with street vendors and a lot of people hanging out and having fun. I was there to see 2 exhibits: Rembrandt and Tezuka.

The Rembrandt exhibit was amazing. I was able to see the same etchings printed on various papers side by side for the first time in my life. The etchings had been distributed around the globe and are in various collections. Having been to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the Rembrandt House in Amsterdam, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and seeing a good portion of these pieces before you would think that the exhibit wouldn’t be as fascinating, but being able to see these pieces together was amazing. There were also pieces from the Louvre and various museums in France and Britain alongside some private collections in New York. This was one of the best Rembrandt exhibits I had ever been to. I wasn’t allowed to take pictures, so here are some pictures of the outside of the museum.

The Tezuka exhibit was not nearly as awesome and I also wasn’t allowed to take pictures. Having been to another Tezuka exhibit in 2009, this one didn’t hold up to the last one. The exhibit was on Buddhist art and featured works of Tezuka’s comic Buddha. The exhibit was small, but was very interesting and after having studied Buddhist art history, it was cool to see works from Pakistan and Afghanistan in real life. There were also various statues and sculptures from around Japan.

After the museums, I went to Akiba to try and find this maid cafe Sara (bffl. XD) told me about. The cafe I was searching for was staffed by men dressed as women. SO! I thought I found it. I ended up going to a cafe called Mai:lish. Now, if that doesn't sound like the right place... Anyway, it turns out all of the staff were women and the place is well-known from being in an anime series called Stein's Gate, which I've never heard of. So that was the 3rd maid cafe I've been to (@home cafe, Cos-cha, Mai:lish).

After Akiba, I met up with my friend Matt (not Mat who I mentioned before) who lives in Hadano and is also an ALT with Interac. After some frustration about trying to find him and his friends, we met up briefly and discussed how things have been going. It’s interesting to hear just how different our experiences here have been. I think it’s mostly due to the fact he is a man and he’s living in a small city.

Friday I worked and Saturday I cleaned my apartment, bought groceries and chatted with a friend who just graduated from my college. Congrats Ringling 2011! YOU DID IT! Saturday was crappy cause it rained all day and I thought I was going to do laundry. On Sunday, I was able to finish cleaning my apartment and do laundry. I left my laundry out to dry and made my way up to Shimokitazawa to see my old dorm manager/ friend and his wife. It was the first time I had seen them since 2009. They just moved from Osaka up to Shimokitazawa and were having a sort of house warming party. It was a lot of fun seeing them again. We had coffee and donuts and Miyuki cooked some amazing food. I have to get her recipes. OMG. SO GOOD. :D

I found that I really like Shimokitazawa. There are a ton of indie shops and cool people with really laid back mentalities. It reminded me a lot of Boston. Hopefully I will be hanging out with Justin and Miyuki more often ‘cause going up there was a lot of fun. Shimokitazawa concluded my golden week. I may not have made it to Sankeien and Enoshima, but I still had a lot of fun and met some awesome people.

1 comment:

  1. What a fun way to spend a week of "non work" time! Some of your photos are really GREAT! We're looking forward to seeing some of these places, too.