The sights, the sounds…
After the (unexpected) failure to wake up earlier than 9:30 (I personally take even this early hour as a victory against the sleep demon that plagues me), I punch my coffee-in-a-box with the straw, and, as I am sipping slowly and gazing in the horizon, my slumbering mind starts thinking.
Why must we ever wake up? No. Not this question. It was more the idea that we must think why we travel before we do so. And not to just get to answers such as “cause it’s fun”. We need to find within ourselves what we need: adventure, relaxation, seeing new things and eating shitloads. Then we must make sure the place that we visit is compatible with out goal: we won’t go to Mt Everest to relax.
Invalid reason to travel: oh, everyone is going to Paris. Please, go to a corner and think very hard about the purpose of your existence.
Valid reason to travel: oh, look, my passport is missing a stamp from Singapore, and I want to scratch my scratch map with that country! Perfectly valid reason to travel. Some people collect (boring) stamps. Others collect countries.
Shinjuku Park (新宿御苑)
Today was decided to be Shinjuku day! And what better thing to do in a lovely cold morning (it was quite pleasant in the sun actually), than to go and try to see some plums blooming? Certainly, Tokyo has a myriad of parks at anyones disposal. Yet this one charges 200円. Which is less than 2$. The park, as you will see, is quite lovely, and the fee makes it be less busy than the free ones. Who likes a busy park anyway?
As I was casually strolling around, I kept looking into the ponds in hope of seeing fish. And the I saw them! They were humongous. Really. But so far away my damn camera could catch them right.
So then I got angry and took the big gunz out: my 200mm lens. Bring it on, animals! This particular one kept making me think of “It’s a trap!” (For all you real people who know where that line is from, kudos. The rest of the world should learn from you).
It’s a pity that the trees weren’t in full bloom, yet the place was pleasant even so. It was also quite a huge park, and I saw from across one of the ponds… A kimono woman! Evolved to my big lens, I casually stalked what I believed to be a newly wedded couple taking traditional costume pictures.
And then some birds.
And lots of Narcissus. There were so many in some places that the air was filled with their smell. (And again, i realise I’m writing stuff like “oh, I saw fish and birds and flowers” and decide once more that it is perhaps not the best thing to write these things at night when I get home and am exhausted).
Perhaps what is so lovely about this temple is not so much the structure itself, but the location: right in the middle of Shinjuku, hidden between buildings. There were a few tourists around but also locals who came to pray at the temple, washing their hands, ringing the bells. I washed my hands at the Fox Altar despite the blistering cold.
I had researched some restaurants beforehand, and this one seemed to have good reviews for tempura. So I go in, I use my broken Japanese and take a seat at the long “bar” which was right in front of where the cooks where going about their business.
Best… Tempura… Ever. It was crispy, fresh, with amazing soy sauce (tho I pretended to pour soy sauce cause I like it not cause I couldnt figure out which one contained the tempura sauce). And he cooked it and then put it right in front of me!
And once more I end it abruptly as I really need sleep. Oh btw there were these things where you could just clean your glasses (for free) on the street. Isnt Japan just cool?
This post is part of a (fantastic, amazing, life-changing) series:
- Land of the Rising Sun (Japan #1)
- What the carp? (Japan #2)
- Of Fish and Men (Japan #3)
- Ioan dreams Sushi (Japan #4)
- Just my Luck (Japan #5)
- The Forest of Tennis (Japan #6)
- Let the drums beat! (Japan #7)
- Big fat men (Japan #8)
- Titanium (Japan #9)
- Snow Shenanigans (Japan #10)
- Sea Critters (Japan #11)
- An end to Japan (Japan #12)