Akihabara Adventure

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Today I plan to spend a relaxed day in Akihabara, Japan’s Grand Central for fans of anime, comic books, doujinshi, maid cafe’s, electronics DIYers and buyers of geeky hipster consumer goods.

11:00am JST

First stop is a late breakfast / early lunch at one of the many noodle shops along the Eitai Dori. Today Andrew suggests a new place where I have the pork ramen, yum. Not the best noodles I’ve ever had but for Y390, its an excellent and hearty breakfast.

For today’s journey into mid town Tokyo we have also decided to visit an old friend, Etchujima Station on the JR system.…

Tomioka Shrine & Fudouson Temple

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John and Andrew pay a visit to the Tomioka-Hachimangu shrine and Fukagawa Fudouson temple in Monzen Nakacho. Monzen Nakacho, where we are staying, is the site of the Fukagawa Hachiman Matsuri, one of Tokyo’s “big three” festivals. This festival is HUGE and fills the streets of Monzen Nakacho, but it’s only held every three years and 2012 is not one of those years.

11:30am JST

Its a gorgeous, warm, sunny day in Tokyo. I’m hanging outside of the apartment building, soaking up rays while waiting for Andrew. I also have a nice chat with Claudia, another Sakura House resident, who is working on her thesis in the old court music of Japan.…

Ueno Park

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Refreshed by a good lunch and bottled drinks from a vending machine, Andrew and John make their way to Ueno Park from Ameyokocho. Although I’ve been to Ameyokocho in the past, I never found the time to visit nearby Ueno Park which is a very peaceful public space with a lake, zoo, temples and shrines, several museums and plenty of space to walk.

3:30pm JST

After scaling several flights of stairs, we arrive at the southern entrance to the park where we find the statue of Saigo Takamori, one of the generals in the Battle of Ueno. Then we proceed to walk the central pathway, lined with hundreds of cherry trees, although not in bloom at this time of the year.…

Ameyokocho

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Again, we roll the dice… today’s adventure will be a return visit to the shopping district known as Ameyokocho in Ueno. In the years following WWII, Ueno Station became the gateway for migrants seeking work and prosperity in the city, and adjacent Ameyokocho something of a black market. Since those days, Ameyokocho has evolved into the legitimate street bazar, collection of open air stalls and shopping district you see today.

12:00am JST

Once again the Oedo subway line proves to be the most convenient jump off point to the Ginza line and then Ueno. From the subway exit we find ourselves before the Ueno train memorial.…

From Oshiage to Asakusa

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Today was somewhat more laid back but no less productive or hard on the feet, as Andrew and I searched for different perspectives of Sky Tree. After photographing Sky Tree in Oshiage, we headed across the river to Asakusa, for a different perspective and different lighting.

9:30am JST

After all the exercise from yesterday’s photographic excursions, I’m feeling rather hungry, so I convince Andrew we need to have breakfast at Matsuya. From the apartments we take the more picturesque back way to the Eitai-dori. Monzen Nakachou is rich in imagery, including the giant morning glories, commuters rushing to work, the canals and bridges, utility workers, early morning sun and nature, just daily life in the neighborhood.…

Return to Odaiba

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Today’s random throw of the dice says “Kiyosumi Garden” a few blocks north of the apartment. I had visited Kiyosumi Garden on my first trip to Japan in 2007 and found it to be all around lovely, and full of natural and designed wonders, living in harmony with each other. There’s even a monument to Bashou, the preeminent Japanese poet. Andrew, a friend also staying in Japan, has never been to Kiyosumi Garden, so this is a good opportunity for him.

9:30am JST

Andrew and I decide to first tank up at the Mister Donut, next to the Tokyo Metro Oeda line station.…

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