Sunday, October 03, 2010

Putting the 'ooh' in Ueno*

*Though I'm not positive it's actually pronounced with an ooh.

My guidebook maintains that there are three components to Tokyo - North, East and West. Those chapters are connected in that they each contain various districts with differing sights and sounds and tastes. Each, most conveniently, are connected by a vast array of trains.

"We'd like to go to Oeno," I told the uniformed woman, looking my most pitiful and lost when we started at Shinjuku Station this morning.

"Do you want to go direct? Or on the subway? Or take a bus?" I looked at my companions for a moment before replying that we'd like to go there directly. She gave us a number and direction and we set off in what we hoped was the right way. We had decided on our location based on recommendations from various colleagues. One enjoyed the arts; the locals said we would embrace the more touristy component of pagodas, gates and temples. I had looked at websites and debated options before deciding that we would make our way to the suggested location.

As planned, we slept in, met for breakfast then set off with cameras in hand to explore. We did start at the temple, walking single file through the crowds as they viewed the goods that lined each side of the path. I felt badly for the monkey who performed on a leash, frowning at his little outfit and sad face even as I turned away to take a picture of a smaller statue while I waited for the guys. We meandered through mazes of shops, mimicking the waving paws of the ceramic cats and admiring the bolts of fabric. We entered a gaming parlor, immediately taken aback by the noise and lights. Deciding we were done being purely touristy, we caught a taxi back to the station with the goal of wandering through the park full of museums.

It was a pretty day, very comfortable in the shade, but a bit sweaty in the sun. My stomach turned at the sight of far too many carp in the ponds and I had to walk away again when Adam said they were attacking one of the turtles.

"He's OK," Adam soothed me when I started to wander along another path. "He has his shell."

A trip into the National Museum left my companions admiring the sculptures and art and left me feeling grumpy and exhausted.

"I always do this," I told Bob as I plodded along after him and Adam. "I'm fine - walking for hours, enjoying the day then I hit a wall and am tired and hungry and irritated."

"I'm done, too," he said and noted that we'd been walking nearly constantly for about 5 hours and we walked some more in search of a suitable restaurant. Rejecting the curry dishes, we had settled in to wait for a table in a Chinese restaurant when I looked across the street and suggested Italian. Delighted when they agreed, I was soon enjoying a salad and Coke while awaiting my precious pizza.

The ride back on the train lulled me and I made sure to nudge Adam awake when it was time for us to depart the JR line. We decided to meet later for drinks and dinner, leaving me back in my comfortable room to view photos and think Tokyo is a rather wonderful - and diverse - place.

No comments:

Post a Comment