Well, it's a Wednesday, so I ran up to Tokyo for a couple hours. And can I just say that when I started college nine years ago, if someone told me that in 2009 I'd be a housewife who could head to Tokyo for an afternoon? I'd have probably just gone on with my day. But I would have found it unlikely.
Nadine and Justine had to be in Tokyo in the morning, and I taught a knitting lesson (which is really fun! I hope all my students become my friends) before jumping on the densha toward Ueno Koen - the lovely Ueno Park.
As you can see, there's a reason the cherry blossoms are so famous in Japan. The spring pollen is kind of a doozy, but everywhere you turn there's an incredible view of the most beautiful white and pink flowers popping out of every branch. Already, though, the petals are beginning to fall. Video just wouldn't capture it, sad to say.That strip of white is a little stream, completely covered with petals...
...and you can see them speckling the ground.
We walked to a small temple to Kannon, or Quan Yin in Chinese - the goddess of compassion. No photos allowed inside, but there was another gorgeous tree covered in sakura, the cherry blossoms.Oh! And each temple has a fountain in front, with metal cups on long wooden handles. Before you enter it is customary to wash your hands and mouth with water from the fountain, to cleanse them before you approach the gods. This one had an ornate dragon for a spout: Then we walked through a more crowded area where businesspeople sit on tarps at cardboard tables for lunch in a coveted spot in the park. There was a unicyclist, musicians, and one woman who rolled a ball and a ring atop a parasol. What an experience.
Now, that's just the fun part, the leisurely stroll through a beautiful park on a sunny spring day. I haven't mentioned what it was like trying to meet up with one another in Tokyo. Eee!
See, we decided we'd meet near Ueno Station, which is right outside the park. I got there a little earlier than Nadine and I was hungry, so I found a nice little outdoor cafe and had a latte and a sandwich while I waited. She called from Ueno and the race began. See, it's big. There are at least seven exits on three or more levels, a complicated array of pedestrian bridges, and no easy way around the station once you've exited. Well, see for yourself.It was a bit of an ordeal. We eventually found each other and had a nice time before a long, kind of nauseous train ride home. I'd do it again tomorrow.