Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Tuesday the 30th Ueno Park at last

On the final full day we caught the subway to Ueno Station and headed out towards the park. Heading along the south side of the park going away from the station we soon came upon Shinobazu pond with it's massive amounts of lotus leaves. Steven started taking pictures at this point, Cindy had left her camera at the ryokan as she planned to just enjoy the sights. In the pond is a small temple to Benten a deity who is considered a patron if the arts. The present shrine is larger than the original structure as the building was expanded in the 20th century and the island it was on connected to the land by a pathway. On the sides of the pathway were various stones and statues as well as a passed out salaryman in his suit, probably left over from the night before. After steven took pictures of various sights we started to head for the zoo. We were fortunate in that the weather was nice after the previous day's heavy rain. Abandoning Steven to a photo frenzy I followed Cindy towards the zoo. Losing track of her I went in and headed to the monkeys, get separated from someone when you first enter a zoo, just go to the monkeys and they will eventually wander by. Soon I spotted her and Steven and we wandered together. The zoo was quite nice with plenty of school kids ranging from preschoolers to middle school students. later we would spot high school students at some of the museums.

Leaving the park, after a lunch, we headed to the Natural History Museum. A;long the way we spotted an acrobat, stands selling food and drink, a musician with puppets; this fellow was European and had the audience in stitches as he ran a puppet dog in front of a women with three dogs on a leash that wanted to head for the puppet. His outfit was vaguely East European with a beak of a nose to match. Heading further on we entered the museum and spent some time enjoying interesting exhibits. Before we exited we headed to the gift shop where Cindy purchased some small items including a rock sample from Japan. Steven bought a high quality set of beetle replicas.

We continued to wander in the park listening to jazz musicians and enjoying the walk. Now this was a Tuesday and the park was filed with people ranging from the students to people waking their dogs, to elderly out for a stroll, mothers with children and the homeless to live n the park in small shelters they have built. The authorities allow the homeless to stay as there are few of them ad they usually move on after they find work. At one food stand the owner was having a friendly drink with some of the homeless as they chatted.

Before we left the park we went to the Shitamachi History Museum with it's replicas of full sized buildings from the Meiji through early Showa periods. This is a very small museum on two stories but it has several nicely done exhibits, you can even take off your shoes and go inside the buildings.

Then we searched for a place to get dinner and headed back to the ryokan for the last night.

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