Things You'll See in Yoyogi Park

DAY 8: YOYOGI PARK

Just a typical scene of  hanami . Note the man in the right who tried so hard to keep his shoes off the mat. Next time, buddy.

Just a typical scene of hanami. Note the man in the right who tried so hard to keep his shoes off the mat. Next time, buddy.

Well, we never found those businessmen at Ueno the day before, so we decided to go to Yoyogi Park. We never got to go last year, but we knew it was supposed to be a happening place where the rockabilly dance crew and Harajuku girls sport their latest weird fashion trends. I had suspicions this is some outdated news though, and to be honest, neither of those things was seen during our stroll in Yoyogi. I could go into detail about our day, or I could just make you a list of all the things we saw at Yoyogi...

Let's go with a list:

Click  here  to see a small bit of the performing

Click here to see a small bit of the performing

"Ma, let me down."

"Ma, let me down."

Because, of course.

Because, of course.


- Unusual pet animals, like meerkats & owls
- Tons of people wearing Iron Maiden shirts, possibly a fan club??
- Flare bartender practicing in the park
- Annoying drum circles
- Teenagers practicing their dance routines
- Teenagers putting makeup on each other in a visual kei style
- People playing badminton
- Lines to the bathroom that take 30 minutes to get through
- People crying and then washing their hair
- People in very high heels which is not conducive to walking in grassy areas
- People lifting each other up Superman style
- People practicing tai chi
- People passed out from too much drinking at hanami
- Food vendors
- Vintage & Antique market
- Multi-generational Ska band on stage with performer dressed as police officer (they were actually very good and called "Pipes of Piece")
- Performers
- People playing soccer
- People doing photoshoots (she was probably famous because this is Japan)
- A cat sitting on her person's shoulder trying to get down
- Tons of cute dogs
- Wedding couple taking photos at the park
- Lots of passed out babies
- Live sculptor creating art
- Bikes almost running people over constantly
- Many gaijin (there is a difference between foreign and being annoying foreign)
- Bubbles
- Meet up groups
- People playing Frisbee
- Singing of classic song "Sakura"
Cherry Blossoms

Here are the things you will not see:
- Anyone on a picnic mat with shoes on
- People on devices like iPads, Nintendo DS, smartphones

A Haystack of Businessmen

Ok, I've been absolutely terrible about updating this after the first week in Japan. I've just been so busy everyday, running to this thing or that thing to see the sights, eat the food, meet the people, watch the events. And throughout my day I think, "Oh, man, I can't wait to show this to everyone" but then by the time I get back to my homebase the only thing I want to do is shower and pass out, assuming I don't have any client work to do. That said, I think I'll be able to update this more often, so in the meantime, I'll spend the next couple days putting up multiple posts to get caught up.

 DAY 7: Let's Go To Tokyo

Apparently I only wanted rice and meat this day since I started with Pork Katsu, and then seared beef slices with panko breading. #NoRegrets

Apparently I only wanted rice and meat this day since I started with Pork Katsu, and then seared beef slices with panko breading. #NoRegrets

Saturday morning, bags packed, we headed to Kyoto Station to catch our Shinkansen to Tokyo. At last! While Kyoto was a beautiful place, I was happy to go to a city I knew the layout of better. With an ekibento purchased moments before, I was ready to spend the next two hours getting caught up on client projects while Ian napped. When we got to our AirBnB in Shinjuku, it was a little disappointing. We knew it was a sharehouse type place, but we assumed when we purchased a "Private room" that we would have our own room, not a room shared with 4 other people. Even that wouldn't have bothered me, but they didn't even have lockers for me to store my computer which meant we had to carry my laptop in the backpack everyday to ensure its security. That said, our hosts were still kind and we got to meet a lovely couple from Australia later in the week.

Last year at Hanami.

Last year at Hanami.

Anyways, once we dropped off our non-valuables, we were off to Ueno Park where we had hoped to run into a group of gentlemen we had met the year before during hanami (basically an excuse to drink and eat food under the sakura blossoms all night and day). They said they came to Ueno every year and I told them last year that I would come back. I'm sure they didn't think I meant that, but I figured I'd still try to find them and surprise them. But with no way to contact them it really was a shot in the dark to try to find them in a haystack of drunk middle-aged businessmen.

After walking around for about an hour searching, we sorta gave up/were distracted by the art display of kaiju (big monsters like Godzilla that the Tokyo University of Arts in Ueno had put together. There were two performers playing shamisen and singing traditional Japanese music accompanied by an utsushi-e visual. Utsushi-e was an art form created as a result of Western technology being introduced to Japan. The Japanese were skeptical and believed that photographs stole a part of their soul (horcruxes, basically) but they thought the technology could be useful in communicating visually, sort of like a precursor for the anime we know and love today.

Next up was a rakugo storyteller and although I speak very limited Japanese, between the visuals and Ian translating I was able to gather the overall story. Eventually we made our way back to Shinjuku and decided to stop into a ramen shop called Kuma near our sharehouse and I was delightfully surprised to discover that the strong pork jelly flavor was almost as wonderful as Bankara, my very favorite ramen-ya located in Ikebukuro. We even got to talk to our cook who had spent a year in Seattle for school. And we also got to see a man fall asleep in his ramen bowl after what i suspect was a little too much hanami.