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Monday, April 02, 2007

Since Peter had a meeting in Harajuku this morning, I caught a ride down there with him to go to the library, which unfortunately, was closed. I keep forgetting that Monday is often the 'day off' day for businesses (and I know their open on Sunday, so its even more random, I think!) Anyway, it meant that I ended up in Harajuku with a bunch of library books and no real plan, so I ended up going to study Japanese for an hour or so, and then on Jordon's recommendation, went up to Kichijoji and Inokashira Koen.

It's funny how in Victoria I've never really paid much attention to the sakura at all, but here, I've had like three mini ohanami parties in a week! Inokashira Koen was gorgeous, even though it was a bit of an overcast day - there is a huge lake in the middle, and cherry trees in full bloom ran down both sides of the riverbank. There were boats for rent on the lake, and many couples and friends were out rowing or paddle boating themselves around. It looked like a lovely, romantic way to spend the afternoon!

Maybe because it was a little bit cloudy and a work day, there weren't too many people there (although there were definitely big tarps laid out and ready for after work hanami action!) so I got a seat on a bench right by the river bank, ate a bento, and watched the people paddle around. Clearly, some of the guys row exactly once a year-at hanami time-and were so busy trying to impress their girlfriends that they ran into each other or the river banks at an alarming rate. It was quite entertaining to observe!

I'd never been to Kichijoji, so after I left the park, I spent some time wandering around - it seems like a great neighbourhood! Lots of little cafes and bars, import shops, clothing shops, crafty places, cafes, bookstores, record stores etc. When its not threatening rain/actually raining, I want to go back up there and explore properly. I also found a bookstore named Bondi Books there (found online, not actually there) that specialises in rare and first edition import books, so I really want to find that!

I'm not sure that this building is, but I think something like an English tea house - I peeked into the windows, and with the dark wood, textiles, doilies, etc. it all seemed very 'Grandma's parlor'-it was very cute!

Not sure exactly what this statue, was all about - it was kind of tucked in an alcove on the sidewalk between a Family Mart combeni and a vending machine, but I thought it was interesting.

There seemed to be lots of great little alleys and stuff as well, and lots of fun character! I can see why its considered on of the most desirable neighborhoods in Tokyo to live in, and also why it has an artsy reputation - I got a 'Shimokitaza supersized' vibe from it.
I also did something I've never done before in my entire life, which was purchase an LP (EP? which ones are the little ones?). The bins of records in the RARE records shop intrigued me and I flipped through the ones outside before going inside - no particular reason, just kind of curious. I totally lucked out though, and found a great present for Peter - this LP of songs for the Tokyo Olympics, which is an event he's pretty interested in (they are the same vintage and all that). I have no idea if he has a record player here, but I figured its the kind of cool souvenir that doesn't actually matter that much if you can listen to it or not-just the jacket and stuff is interesting...

I left the area when it started raining, and got home around 6:30. Peter and Hitomi are out together tonight, so I've just hung out at home - watching the end of the Apprentice: Season One on DVD, writing a TOEIC script, starting to turn some pants that had a hole in them into a skirt, chatting with Sarah, etc. A nice relaxing evening before work starts again tomorrow.


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