Monday, 11 September 2017

Travel diaries : Japan (Part III)

If you haven't read the previous posts in this series, click on the links below
Travel diaries : Japan (Part I)
Travel diaries : Japan (Part II)

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My second day in Tokyo started earlier than my companions, so I decided to walk around the area with my camera. I expected to see a lot of rush and chaotic streets, so I thought I will capture some cool long exposure shots from a foot overbridge. Did not turn out as expected though, as the roads were surprisingly empty, or at least way more than Indian streets. So my shots consisted of like 10 cars, obeying traffic rules and cruising along steadily.


More cars would have made this shot so much cooler!


Giving that up, I had some breakfast at a confectionery nearby and got ready for the day. First up was the Kyu-Yasuda garden right next to the Yokoamicho park I had visited the day before. Trust me, I have never visited a garden as peaceful as that one, ever. It is basically a zen garden with lots of greenery and a pond. Maybe all the zen gardens are this peaceful, but at least I can vouch for this one. The pond abounds in Koi and turtles, and it was a pleasure just to sit in one of the benches and observe them going about their business.


A bridge somewhere in the garden


Turtles and Koi in the pond

The plan next was to visit the Imperial palace, so we took the metro for that. But upon reaching, we found out that it was closed for the day, so we clicked a few pictures near the cherry blossom trees outside the palace complex and decided to make a move. I do not remember where the others went, but I wanted to go to Ginza, so I did. I was accompanied by one of my colleagues, so we took the train there and decided to first grab some lunch.



Cherry blossom trees outside the Imperial palace


After lunch, we made our way to Itoya, a very famous stationery store in Ginza. It is paradise for stationery lovers, and being one of them, I must have spent a good 3-4 hours there. I came back with some cool calligraphy pens in the end!

It was dark by the time I exited the building, and I bumped into a few others from my group who had come to Itoya. Together we went through the streets of Ginza, and boy, the streets were more like what I expected of streets in Tokyo. Ginza being one of the most upscale areas of Japan, and one of the busiest as a result, gave me another opportunity at some long exposure shots. A couple of my colleagues helped me out here by being a part of the shoot. Here are a couple of photographs from Ginza.


Tried to show the busy streets of Ginza with a long exposure shot


And another one


Soon it was time for dinner. All of us gathered and made our way to Shinjuku. The plan was to eat and then party late into the night in one the clubs. I however, wanted to make the most of my time in Japan, so I did not feel like staying up late. So again accompanied by one of my colleagues, I made my way back to the hostel around midnight, minutes before the metro closes down for the day, and retired for the night.

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The morning alarm sounded and it was time to kick off the third day. The day started as usual, with breakfast at a nearby confectionery and a couple of hour's walk around the hostel area. Again as usual, my colleagues had their own plans, and I had my own. I kept roaming around aimlessly and finally thought of making a move. I got ready and accompanied by a couple of friends, I made my way to the Sumida Hokusai museum at around noon, which is just a 10 minute walk from the hostel. 


The Sumida Hakusai museum

I am frankly not a huge fan of museums, but as it was so closeby, I had to go see it once. And it was really nice too. It was architecturally unique and interesting. I barely spent 15 minutes inside the museum though, and went and sat in the park nearby. It was full of children playing and it was the perfect spot to try out my new calligraphy pens to write random thoughts in my notebook, while I waited for my friends to get done with the museum.

When they came out about half an hour later, we made our way to another museum, the Edo-Tokyo museum. This was the building right next to our hostel, so we effectively walked back 10 minutes from where we came. Edo-Tokyo museum is all about the history of Tokyo (Edo is the former name of Tokyo), and it was elaborate in every way possible.



The Edo-Tokyo museum



Intricately detailed 1:30 scaled models at the Edo-Tokyo museum


We opted for a free guided tour around the museum and that person patiently explained each and every thing in the minutest of details. There were physical models scaled 1:30 to explain the life of the people of Tokyo over the years, and the models were mind boggling. Apart from objects and tools and books etc, a section also had life size replicas of houses of common people and it was as if we were transported back to those times, spending a day with those people. The tour must have lasted a good two hours, and I actually enjoyed it. But now it was time to eat, because it was around 4 PM and we were yet to have lunch. I really wanted to have a sumo meal, but I did not find any place where they serve that, so I found a restaurant serving Japanese food, ordered loads of stuff a la carte and ate till I could feel my belt tighten around my waist! I will post about the food I had in Japan in detail after I finish with this series on my travel experience, and if you are a foodie, you should keep an eye out for that one!

It was drizzling lightly, but that did not stop me from going around. Next, I went to Takeshita dori. The entire street is a famous shopping street, mainly targeting teenagers... apparently. Apparently because by the time I reached, which was around 8 PM, everything was either shut down, or was about to be shut down. I still walked down the street and bought very random things like green tea flavoured kitkat and Japanese face mask for no reasons at all!



As it was raining, I just took out my phone once and hence, this is the only photograph I have of Takeshita street


The entire office gathered at Takeshita dori shortly, amidst steady rain, to decide on what's next. They decided something, I decided to go do something else. Accompanied by a friend, I headed off to Shiba park, to have a look at the Tokyo tower. I don't generally do too many touristy things, but when I went all the way to Tokyo, I wanted to come back with a picture of one of the most iconic structures of Tokyo. And so I did, not afraid to travel alone in an alien city (Technically, I did have a friend with me, but I would have gone regardless), not concerned about what my friends wanted to do. I am sure they made full use of their time, but I did not want to come back with regrets just because others did not want to do something I did. Afterall, I don't know when I will get to go to a place like Japan again. 



The Tokyo tower


I took a lot more pictures, even though it was raining, and took a metro back to the hostel. I was in love with Tokyo on day 1. By this time, I was madly in love (you can give me suggestions on better adjectives maybe?) with the city. I loved every bit of it. The streets, the efficiency of transportation, the people, their culture, the food, just name it. I already did not want to come back even though I was going to be in that country for a week more. We were almost done with Tokyo and we were going to Kawaguchiko the next morning to see the great Mount Fuji. I will cover that in my next post, which I promise, will be up no later than next Monday. Stay tuned and have a great day!

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