Saturday, January 26, 2013

Tokyo ’12, Day 5 – Rikugien and Asakusa



On Friday morning we woke up after a much better night. The soft pillows really were a lot better. ^^
We decided to have breakfast at the breakfast buffet restaurant on the 25th(!) floor. We got dressed, got our things together and left our room. My dad had suggested to go to a garden he had seen in my Japan folder: Rikugien, a garden along the Yamanote line. We decided to do that after breakfast. We took the elevator up to the Manhattan Restaurant, where we had to wait for a short while. Then we were allowed in and after we had walked through a small hall with windows with wine bottles behind them, we found ourselves at a wonderful buffet! There was a Western-style part and a Japanese part. The Western part had scrambled eggs, bacon, sausages, fries (:P), tomatoes, etc, while the Japanese part had rice, vegetables and also amazingly delicious steamed dumplings (those were sooo good). I am really not the type of person to eat rice for breakfast, so I mainly took things from the Western part (and the dumplings). They also had delicious cups of vanilla flavoured yoghurt and fruit you could combine with it. There was also tomato- and orange juice en milk.

Breakfast
My mom’s breakfast. She was the only one of us who ate rice in the morning. ^^

The breakfast was really good and the view from the 25th floor was breathtaking! In particular on this day, because the weather was very clear. We could see mountains in the distance!
When we were finished, we took the elevator down to the lobby. Some days before we had decided to take a tour to Mount Fuji. Especially my dad really wanted to go there, so we booked a tour at the tourist desk to Mount Fuji and Hakone for the next day!
While my dad had to do something for a second, my mom and I spent some time taking pictures of the beautiful balloon decorations around the escalators.

Hotel Balloons
The balloons all had such pretty pastel colours!

It was then that I realized my eyes felt really weird and watery. It turned out I had caught my mom’s cold! I absolutely hate colds, but thank God for aspirins!
My dad joined us and we went on our way to Rikugien.
We left the hotel and walked calmly towards Shinjuku station. It was a warm, sunny day, completely different from the previous day!

Mom and Dad
My parents. ^^ ♥

I just love sunny weather so much. It makes everything so much more beautiful! Shinjuku looked just as amazing and colourful as it does at night!

Shinjuku Photographer
Me taking pictures of the orange clock. Don’t you just love Shinjuku’s colours?

When we arrived at Lumine, we realized this weather was perfect to take some pictures on and from the bridge in front of MyLord, so we first walked up the stairs. The sunny weather was indeed ideal to take some pictures! But it was also a little inconvenient, because due to the bright light I had trouble keeping back my tears from the cold. Luckily my mom’s sunglasses helped a lot. I felt like a celebrity, incognito. XD

Shinjuku in the Sun
One of my favourite views in Tokyo. When I see it on other people’s pictures I can’t help
but smile.

After taking pictures for a while, we left the bridge again and walked into the station. We walked to the platform of the Yamanote line. It’s unbelievable: Shinjuku station is the most crowded station in the world and yet barely anyone walks into you!
We took the Yamanote line in the direction of Ikebukuro.

Tokyo Metro View
Leaving Shinjuku!

We sat down for a while and got out at station Komagome, a bit of a quiet station in the middle a quiet neighborhood. The station did have an adorable bakery and bookshop though.
We left the station and my mom and me just followed my dad. This part of Tokyo was so different from the places we had been before: quiet, almost peaceful, yet with buildings everywhere. We walked past several small clothing shops. One shop only sold blue clothes, so cool!

Close to the Yamanote Line
Unbelievable that this is a part of Tokyo too! It was so quiet and different!

We walked around the corner of a building and suddenly we arrived at a wooden gate, leading to the garden.
My dad paid the small admission and we entered the park through another gate. Suddenly we heard birds and natural sounds, in the middle of the city!

Rikugien Maps
Maps and guides from the surroundings, mirroring my parents.

The garden was very beautiful: it was entirely green with a big pond in the middle. The many greens of the trees clashed beautifully with the blue sky.
We followed the path and took many pictures. In the middle of the pond was a little pile of rocks. My dad said it used to be a statue of a dragon (I believe), but it had collapsed because of an earthquake. We arrived at a little niche in the path, where we could almost walk up to the water. My mom and I wanted to do some jump pictures together, but I’m afraid we’re not very good at jumping simultaneously. ^^’
We kept following the path. I often heard a strange sound of voice, probably through a microphone. I was wondering if there was a swimming pool nearby. It wouldn’t have surprised me: the park was surrounded by buildings.

Pink Girl, Green Trees
Wandering through the park. It was quite relaxing.

We arrived at a lovely wooden bridge, where we took some pictures. You could also walk around the bridge and take pictures from the other side. There was a little wooden hut and you could walk over rocks in the water! :)
We walked all around the pond, following the path. There was an older woman sweeping leaves away, she was very nice. ^^ Apparently the trees in the garden were very special. Some of the long, old branches got supported by wooden structures looking like hammers. We saw one man sitting on one of the branches to fix another one. Interesting job: ‘Branch fixer’. ;)
We passed a little tea house and a water fountain and walked into a forest-like part of the garden, where the trees grew closer to each other. We discovered some beautiful flowers growing on one of the bushes.
We followed the path and looked around us. The trees were very pretty and the sunbeams that made their way through the leaves created a wonderful atmosphere. The path led us over a wooden bridge and to a stone set of stairs. We climbed it (it was quite high and steep) and then found ourselves on a hill with a beautiful view over the park. Three old ladies were sitting on a bench, enjoying their lunch.

Rikugien Park
Don’t you just love the view? It was so wonderful!

After enjoying the view for a while, we walked down the stairs on the other side of the hill, where we arrived at a little pebbled square at the waterside. Many benches were occupied by old people eating their lunch. ^^
We walked up to the water, where a lot of koi fish were swimming and ‘gasping’. Suddenly, I saw something in the water that didn’t look like a fish: it was a turtle! Initially we decided to call him ‘Henk’ (like ‘Hank’), but to make it sound more Japanese it became ‘Henkio’. I told you we’re weird. XD
I was afraid the fish wouldn’t be nice to Henkio, but when they bumped into him he didn’t seem to care at all. ^^’
My dad wanted to take a picture of us on the Togetsukyo Bridge, an old stone bridge over the water.

Stone Bridge
Mom and me on the stone bridge. ^^

My dad also wanted to take a picture of us on the island in the middle of the pond, but when we wanted to walk to the bridge that led to the island it turned out it wasn’t allowed. Oh well.
We decided to sit down on a bench for a while, to rest a little. In the distance I saw multiple turtles (Henkios, XD) on a stone. They were so cute!
We discussed a little about what to do next. My dad suggested to visit another garden in Ueno, but my mom said she really wanted to go to Asakusa, the ‘old’ part of Tokyo with the red temples. Ever since she had seen our pictures of Asakusa she wanted to go there and since it was great weather, we decided to go (instead of our initial plan to go on Sunday). We remained seated for a while and before we left, we wanted to see the famous ‘weeping cherry tree’, a big tree that is full of sakura flowers in spring. Although it wasn’t spring, we still wanted to see it. We found a big tree and took some pictures of it. When we walked towards the exit, it turned out to be another tree! XD We had already passed the famous tree on our way in, ahem.
We left the park and walked back to Komagome station, where we bought some sandwiches in the cute bakery.
We took the Yamanote line to Kanda station. It was a bit crowded in the metro (I saw a schoolgirl with the shortest skirt I had ever seen), so we all sat separated. When a spot next to my parents got free I sat down, when suddenly a woman tried to draw my attention and pointed at my umbrella that I had left at the place where I had sat a minute ago. I was so grateful she saw it, I would have been so sad if I had lost my beautiful frilly umbrella! :(
At Kanda station we transferred to the Ginza line to get to Asakusa. The metro to Asakusa is a bit older than he Yamanote line and you can really see it: the benches seem to be… more old fashioned. ^^
We arrived at Asakusa and left the station. When we got out, I could really feel a change in atmosphere. It seemed like Asakusa was more old but also colourful. I can’t really explain it. On our left we could see the Asahi tower with the golden flame/bean (whatever it is) on top of it and the Skytree. We went right in the direction of the Kaminari Gate, the big red gate with the big lantern hanging under it. While we were taking pictures of the gate, a woman holding her little daughter’s hand walked up to my mom and asked if she spoke English. When my mom said yes, the woman asked her if she could talk a bit with her daughter because she wanted her to learn English. Yeah, it was a bit of a strange story. ^^’
In the meantime, a woman walked up to me too and asked if I wanted to do something for a Japanese tv show! I was very surprised, so I said yes. My parents politely refused. XD
The woman led me to the other side of the street, where a camera and a cameraman were waiting. The woman gave me a microphone and put a headphone on my head and asked me to sing along with the song she would let me hear. She told me it was for a quiz where the contestants had to guess which song I was singing (I didn’t know who or what it was). I must have looked like an idiot and I probably sang horribly, but it was a lot of fun! I felt also a bit embarrassed, but hey: how often do you get the chance to do something like this?

Singing in Asakusa
Oh, the strange and interesting things that happen to me… XD

I ‘sang’ two songs (I had to redo the first one twice, haha) and they thanked me heartily. I had to sign a little contract saying I agreed with me being on tv (huhu) and then I received a little present (which contained a little phone strap in the shape of the big lantern with a little picture of some deity in it). ^^
I haven’t seen myself on the show yet, I’m not sure I want to… XD
After this… unique experience we walked back to the Kaminari Gate and walked underneath it. My mom was so happy to finally be in Asakusa! It was like a dream come true for her!
We walked into the Nakamise shopping street, paradise for souvenirs! Seriously, in this street you can find any kind of key chain you want (except for that one specific little lantern I was looking for). They sell so many wonderful things in the countless stuffed shops!

Asakusa Souvenirs
Asakusa: for all your touristic needs.

After a little while I discovered a little shop that sold those wellknown double ice cream: a swirled ice cream with 50% white ice, and 50% in another colour. You often see them on Tumblr. I noticed they had black sesame flavour and I really wanted to try it! I’ve had black sesame ice cream last year in Shinjuku, but this year the shop was closed! :( We had discovered that on the previous day, so now I wanted one even more! I wanted to buy one for my dad too, but there was only one black sesame left, so my dad told me to take it.
I paid for my ice cream and without thinking I left the shop, but immediately a man walked after me and tried to tell me something. It turned out that I was supposed to eat the ice cream at the shop and not walk around with it. I had totally forgotten about this custom, oops!
I ate my delicious ice cream (my mom tried it too and hated it, haha XD) while my parents looked around in the shops around the ice cream shop. When I had finished we walked on. I noticed there were a lot of children walking around in little groups. Some wore casual clothes and caps or hats, others were wearing their uniforms. Suddenly, a little group of sweet girls walked up to me, one of them was holding a folder in her hands. She asked me, in English: ‘Excuse, can I ask you some questions?’ I could see what was written on the paper she was looking at: there were a couple of English sentences written down with their pronunciation in Japanese. The way the little girl read what was written was nothing less than adorable and I said: ‘Sure!’ She asked me what my name was (of course I wrote it down for her, I wouldn’t dare let the poor girl ask how to spell ‘Rosalynn’ ^^). She also asked me what my favourite Japanese word was (my answer was ‘kawaii’, they really liked that) and if they could take a picture with me (with the cutest little camera).

Cheese!
Posing with the sweet girls! A tourist just jumped into the left corner, so I had to crop the picture a little.

Then after a lot of ‘Byyyeee’s we parted again. Gosh they were so sweet! ♥ While we were walking through Nakamise street, I was interviewed by two more groups of girls (I was so happy, they were all adorable)! I think they could choose from multiple questions, because one asked me what my favourite food was (okonomiyaki!) and another one asked where I came from.
After walking for a while we finally arrived at the dog shop my dad had loved so much last year. My mom really liked the shop as well, especially the big window on the side of the shop with all the dog plushies (they were so realistic)! We also took a look at the many dog statues. They still had the big pug from last year. My dad looked at some of the weird costumes for dogs. We all agreed our pug Catootje would look awesome in a Geisha costume, wig included.
My mom and dad took a look at some beautiful collars and decided to buy four different ones for our dogs: a red one for our Maltese Twinkle, a green one for our stray dog Canela, a yellow one for grandma Saartje and a blue one for Catootje (yes, I have four dogs ♥) and I can tell you they look very nice on them!

Asakusa Dog Shop
When you can’t choose one picture, you make a collage! Pictures of the dog shop!

After some more walking and browsing we arrived at the opposite gate, the Hozo Gate. Instead of walking underneath it, we went right to a square covered underneath pergolas with green leaves. We sat down on a bench after getting some drinks and ate our bakery goods. Apparently this was a popular eating spot: many groups of kids on school trips were sitting on the ground in big groups. Some Japanese people were eating their boxed lunches too.
We finished our lunch and walked underneath the Hozo Gate.

Red Lantern
My mom was so happy to be in Asakusa!

We arrived at the big square with the red pagoda and the Sensoji temple. We took some pretty pictures there. ^^

Pagoda Girl
I really, really like this picture! ♥

We heard rattling noise, which came from people shaking wooden tubes with sticks in them. Eventually one of the sticks would come out through a small hole. Every stick had a number and you had to open the drawer with the corresponding number, which contained a future prediction. Then you had to tie the piece of paper to one of the screens next to the little drawer cabinets. This is called ‘omikuji’ (‘written fortune’). Both my mom and I tried it and my future is really bright according to the paper! The best of the best! ^^

Omikuji
The process of omikuji. ^^

We walked up to the Sensoji temple, passing the well that had dozens of incense sticks and smoke in it. We took some pictures around the entrance of the temple (the old man directing people to the left and right wasn’t there anymore) and we entered at the front. There was a ceremony going on, people threw coins in the well and we lit some candles. We left the temple at the side and walked into the beautiful garden, passing a Buddha statue, via the bridge over the pond with koi fish. Lots of pictures were taken here. ^^

Matching Umbrellas
Mom and me with our matching umbrellas!

We also briefly walked into another shrine and then walked in the direction of the amusement park. I still think it’s interesting to have an amusement park next to some old shrines. By the way, the temple, shrines and gates in Asakusa are not that old. Tokyo doesn’t have many really old things because of the bombardments of WWII.
We followed the route back to the pagoda, passing the statue of Uryu Iwako, a sweet old lady who did lots of good things in her life. We passed some food stalls and I decided to buy a chocolate banana on a stick. I chose a blue and pink one. Surprisingly, my parents didn’t want one. XD
We walked back to the Kaminari Gate through the Nakamise shopping street. My mom and I bought some more key chains (yeah, we really have a weakness for key chains) and we walked back to the station. We either had to buy tickets or reload or Suicas, I don’t know what we had to do again exactly, but either way we managed to do it. XD We took the Ginza line back to Shibuya, where we took the metro to Shinjuku. We arrived back at our hotel at 5:00pm, where we rested for a while and I put some pictures on Facebook.
After about two hours, we decided to go eat something at MyLord and then go to Closet Child Shinjuku! After walking around for a bit and checking the restaurants, we decided to go eat in Café Est! Est! When my dad and I had eaten there last year, we had both chosen a huge plate with food (it was 13 inches long I believe)! This time we kept things more civilized. XD I chose a hamburger with salad, egg and two ‘smiles’ as we call it and my parents had nice things too, but I really can’t remember what. We also had a little side salad, all very nice. ♥

Food, food, food!
Food, food, food~!

We left Café Est! Est! and went on our way to Closet Child! We walked around multiple shopping centers, crossed the big crossing and arrived at the building with the big red sign on it. Climbing the really small stairs became an extra adventure when on one floor the stairs were covered in boxes! But we managed to make our way through. Then, we finally arrived at the 5th floor, the Lolita floor.

Closet Child Shinjuku
I’m afraid this is the only picture I have taken of Closet Child Shinjuku. ^^’

I walked around the corner, absorbing the sweet Lolita atmosphere. There were two shop girls and maybe one customer, but no more. It was very quiet, but I didn’t mind at all. ^^ I walked up to the Angelic Pretty dresses around the corner and started browsing. I was a little disappointed by what they had to offer: last year they had so many wonderful dresses and now that I knew I could fit more I had been really excited, but they didn’t have many nice things. Is what I thought. Which is quite an unreasonable thought, because I tried on three dresses including one of my Dream Dresses: the Powder Rose jumperskirt in black! ^^ I didn’t like the other two dresses enough to buy, but I loved Powder Rose! I remember when I was in Angelic Pretty Paris for the first time my mom loved Powder Rose so much, but she couldn’t remember that at all. XD
I browsed all the other racks and found two adorable pink Angelic Pretty cardigans and I believe two other cardigans. The other things I tried on I didn’t like too much, but one of the AP cardigans was really cute, so I decided to take it with me. I also chose a pair of pink Baby, the Stars Shine Bright wrist cuffs, one pair of over-the-knee socks with pink bows to match Powder Rose, one pair of knee socks with fruit on them, two bracelets, an adorable glittery bow ring and a fuzzy star clip. I also found the matching head bow for my Fantasic Dolly dress! Speaking of a lucky coincidence!
With all the items I had put together I could make an entire outfit, haha!
My dad told me to hurry up since it was about closing time (oops!), so I walked up to the counter to pay. They really take their time at Closet Child to wrap things up: they cut all the tags off, folded everything neatly and the shop girl even showed me the socks were of different lengths, just to be sure I had noticed (whoa)! Then a very nerve-racking moment happened: my credit card didn’t work! The little machine gave an error, so I tried again. Again an error. Then my dad tried his: error. Finally it worked, but then I wondered if we hadn’t paid four times! I know it said error, but still! The fact the shop girls didn’t speak English didn’t make it any better. -_- We decided to thank the girls, leave the shop and check it later (if you could just look into the future… It turned out everything was fine in the end. Oh well… At least I can smile about it now).
We went downstairs again (taking the elevator this time). Despite the nerve-racking and worrying moment I was still very happy with my purchases of course (although I had to re-find my joy for a moment). We walked back through the streets of Shinjuku to our hotel. We bought some Häagen-Dazs ice cream at the Family Mart: one of the strawberry and chocolate ones we had tried before and a vanilla one. I chose ice cream from a different brand: a delicious chocolate wafer with vanilla ice cream. We also bought some chocolates with strawberry filling, very good!
Back at the hotel we skyped with my brother, ate our ice cream and candy and I took pictures of my purchases (although I forgot half of it, so I had to take pictures at home). Then we went to sleep. We had to wake up early the next morning!

Purchases of the day
Purchases of the day

5 comments:

  1. Great post !
    You bought very pretty things at CC ! I know how it feels like when your credit card doesn't want to work... SO STRESSFUL !

    I love how the little girls interviewed you ^^.
    So cute ! Your japanese must be really good to be able to speak with the people in Tokyo !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! =D
      Ugh I know right? So terrible. -_- At least it turned out to be okay. ^^

      It was so cuuuuute! <3
      Haha not it's not! I know basic words and sentences. ^^'

      Delete
  2. I love your new things! :D
    The wristcuffs and accesories especially! *v*

    ReplyDelete
  3. Alles ziet er zo mooi uit!
    Je moet wel echt een droomtijd hebben!

    ReplyDelete