Cultural Tour: Ueno

Today was another long day of class, but at least afterward I had a cultural event to look forward to. It was nothing special really... from school we took the bus and then the train down to Ueno, the “downtown” area of this part of Tokyo. The street market was really fun (I’m finding I really like street markets), and I found a bunch of really awesome Edo period artbooks for $1 each. Unfortunately it was still terribly hot, so it wasn’t long before I was sweating through all of my clothing.

I’ve forgotten how bad humidity can be when you don’t have a river to cool off in. Every day from 8am to 7pm the weather is oppressive, and coupled with the Tokyo air, I think my body is pretty stressed. Thankfully Erin treated me to a yogurt drink at a cafe, so I got to cool down. After Ueno, we travelled toward Nezu shrine, but Erin and I left early, one, because we have a test tomorrow, and two, because I don’t want to go to Nezu Shrine without Nicky (also, tours of shrines leave little time to enjoy the aspects of the area that you want to see). We took a small bus back to Sugamo, and I saw my first tree shrine along the way. Hopefully I can trace my steps back to find it again. It was really cool!

All in all, a low-key day... gradually I’m discovering that the only things that Tokyo really offers for entertainment is shopping, which is not something I want to do... so maybe I’ll take a closer look at the koens (nature parks) in the area. I’m still looking forward to Kyoto... Tokyo is okay, but we’re kept in such rigid groups in terms of time and studying that I’m not getting a great deal of practice with my spoken Japanese. Hopefully that will be different in Kansai.