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Friday, May 04, 2007

Today was quite the touristy day! We went to Ueno park and did a two hour walking tour led by a very sweet Japanese woman who is part of the Goodwill Guides organisation. She took us past several of the museums, into several temples/shrines, past the zoo, and all around the major points of interest of the park and immediately surrounding area. It was a great way for us to get an overview of the area, and we also got to do it almost privately-there was just one other Aussie guy on the tour with us-kind of surprising, as the park was COMPLETELY packed - Golden Week, plus free entrance into the zoo, and the tour was free... Anyway, it worked out well for us!

Shrine with the statues of 84,000 children (well their carvings, anyway)

(My favorite temple so far I think- very quiet and peaceful and somehow a little bit laid back feeling...)

After that we ate street food - Navina got yakisoba again, and I ate, well, I'm not entirely sure! It's like a pancake with cabbage and some other random bits and bobs on it, and then there's an egg cracked on it, and its kind of cooked on a griddle, and then cut in half, folded pancake-to-pancake, smothered in BBQ-type sauce, and served piping hot.
We finished our meals and then wandered up to the Science Museum in the park which was sooo busy! (We had about a 10 minute wait just to get in the building). It was pretty cool tho-the most stylish science museum I've ever been in!
(Navina being one with the woodland animals...and getting some odd looks from the kids also checking out the forest floor from the vantage of a gopher!)
They had some pretty graphic movies in the animal exhibits-we saw an antelope being born, another one dying (death by lion) and a third one drowning. All on a very big screen! The kids around us weren't phased though I was cringing for sure!

The most interesting part of the museum (well overall) was the IC card system, by which everyone gets a free IC card, and then as you walk around, you touch the card onto various computer readers (like the train), and information about the exhibits comes up in Japanese, Japanese for kids, Simplified Chinese, Korean, or English. There is writing (and in good English!), videos, photos, etc. When you ge home, you can enter in a username and password connected to your ic card, and access additional information on the exhibits viewed. It takes away from actually looking at the stuff if you're as easily distracted by the card reading machines as I am, but in a museum where you can't read the regular plaques its great, and it also invites more interaction between the viewer and the museum.

After that, we jumped on the train and headed two stops to Asakusa. We skipped the old town and Senso-ji (7 temples in one day was enough!) and jumped on a river boat to take a Sumida River Cruise. It was cool! We got to see lots of the buildings on Tokyo's waterfront -what a hodgepodge! We also went under several bridges, each one very different in terms of style and color. The tide was really high, so we weren't able to go on the roof deck (not so much bridge clearance I guess), which shorted the whole boat in terms of seats, so we ended up just standing by a window for the whole 40-minute cruise, but that's ok, it was still good fun!

Dragged ourselves home at about 6:30, watched the Office (Navina), and Ugly Betty (both of us), before I started working on an article for Weekender, and we settled in to watch some Sex and the City. I also continued a bit with class searching at SFU, trying to plan out how I want my schedule so that I can be vaguely organised about everything! It's weird - they haven't accepted me yet, but they've already automatically calculated some of my credit transfers from York...?

Photos from today to come...

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