After a solid twelve hours, which my body obviously needed, I awoke refreshed and full of intent to explore Ueno Park. Unlike most city parks, which tend to just be green spaces, this one has a bag load of things to see and do – museums, shrines, temples, wildlife, street performers and the like. The variety of museums available here is impressive, you could quite easily spend most of a week exploring this park and all it has to offer. I decided on just having a wander around first.
Strolling about, listening to the circadas screeching and gazing up into the ancient trees, I came up on an enclosed baseball ground with a team practising. I am attempting to slow down and take my time with everything, so this was perfect and I did find myself getting quite into the game, with its satisfying thwock sounds everytime the ball got a smack.
I had been advised by a dutch guy I met last night to avoid the western art museum, for obvious reasons and I did. Instead I came up to the National Museum of Nature and Science. This is more like it. I will not bore you with the details, you can see the pics on my facebook, but for the cost of entry – approx a fiver – I got to see a lot. I mean twelve floors of exhibitions, some of them fascinating, some of them not so much. Everything in Nihongo. As you can imagine, I spent a good chunk of the day here.
Continuing my exploration of the park, I saw some really cool Elvis impersonators that refused to take my money and then I found a mini festival happening just by the lakeside! It was a Japan-Pakistan friendship festival and, going past an Erdinger tent – my fave beer – I stopped for a pint and to watch the show. I do not know which was more catchy, the tunes being blared out by the Elvis guys or the J-pop show I saw at that festival! Many earworms! I think after this I might have gone and sat by the lake for a while, I don’t really remember.
That night I ended up having another twelve hours kip. Must have been more jetlagged than I thought. I’ve recently gotten into the habit of meditating and doing a bit of yoga first thing in the morning, so I made an effort to maintain this and went up onto the roof. Yoga with the Tokyo skyline surrounding you and the sun in your face is quite simply magical!
Today is the day I go kart around town! I knew the place was kinda near Harajuku – it wasn’t – so I headed there. It wasn’t a great day for it as a thunderstorm descended soon after I arrived and soaked everyone, so I ended up sheltering near some t-shirt stalls and buying a couple of souvenirs. By now I’d realised the area I meant to go to was Shinjuku! Duh! So getting a wiggle on a I hotfooted it through the storm to the place where the go karts were.
The ride took us through Roppongi, past Tokyo Tower, over the Rainbow Bridge and past this really massive Gundam robot thing. As far as tours go, I think this is the best way to see a city, never mind your bus tours! Such a cracking idea! It was so much fun! The machines were nippy little things and the guide would often open the throttle, flying ahead, meaning I could really put my foot down! I couldn’t resist wooping and hollering every now and again! It was exhilirating! I had the yoshi outfit on and, everytime a kid waved I’d go into character for them and anyone else pointing a camera! I had a few fans it seemed! The smell of petrol was strong, the breeze was cool and the lights were bright and pretty! I had a go pro strapped to my chest so hopefully by the time you read this the video will be available on my youtube channel, complete with my rambling commentary and terrible attempts at go kart karaoke!