Monday, June 10, 2013
I didn't really stay long in the shrine since there's nothing much to explore. On the way out, I saw an entrance to Meiji Garden. This wasn't in the plan, but since I was there, I thought why not. Admission is 500 yen and I thought it was quite pricey considering the garden doesn't have anything interesting for me. Well I think it's because I was at the wrong time of the season. I found out about the stamp that places like this garden often have. So the Japanese will use the stamp to stamp maybe their book or the brochure of the place or whatever as a collection. The stamp is in red ink and it has the symbol or logo of the place and the date of the visit. I inspected the stamp for awhile to see how they change the date. Very interesting. Following the Japanese, I also stamped my garden's brochure. Moving on, the garden was green all around. There's this tea house that the Emperor asked to be built for the Empress. How nice of him!
It's overlooking a small lake. I think it might be good for bird watching because I saw a Japanese man waiting there with a big telephoto lens. The garden has a big iris section. It's the Empress' favorite flower. However, they bloom in June, so when I was there, the whole area was covered in nets :( and the gardeners were busy working on them. I saw one of the gardener showing earth worms to some of the visitors, I don't know why. There also seemed to be a picnic by one of the international school there. Little toddlers running around with their moms. Walking into the greenery which didn't interest me much, I stumbled into Kiyomasa well which is apparently famous in Japan for its positive energy or something like that. When I was there, there was a group of older Japanese tourists who were taking pictures in turns. The well wasn't like any well I know of so there was a slight disappointment in me. It was more like a small tub. When I read the sign, I remember reading it has an ingenious way of sinking. What does that mean??? When the Japanese tourists left, I went closer and I just put my hand in it. I didn't feel anything different. I wanted to drop a rock or something, surprisingly it's not filled with coins, but there was a couple coming from behind me and so I couldn't do my experiment :( I am really curious if things sink differently in the well, do they swirl? twirl? float then sink? Anyway, I googled and read that some people said their luck improve when they put pictures of the well as their phone's wallpaper. So here you go. If you need a bigger picture for your computer wallpaper, email me (link on the right) and I'll send it to you :D
After I thought I had explored all parts of the garden, I made my way to my next stop, Rikugien Garden. Found the general direction as I left the station. Actually found one of the entrance, but that entrance is not used and visitors were asked to go to the other entrance which is some walk to the left. I walked and walked and couldn't find the entrance still. Then I saw a sign that I couldn't understand and by that time I felt that I had walked too far :( Reached an intersection and I was thinking that it wouldn't be right if I crossed the street. Asked an older lady in a bicycle who obviously didn't speak Japanese. I just said Rikugien? She just shook her head :( Darn, I actually think Indonesian can pronounce Japanese word pretty well, so I was determined to make her understand me. I said Rikugien again and then she got it and then she tried to help me. She said 711 and again in Japanese she was giving me direction. The hand gestured pointed to the left. So that's the 2 things I got, 711 and left. I walked back to where I came from and saw a convenient store like 711 but it's not 711. It just has the same color scheme. Saw that I could turn left there and I did and then I saw the entrance. Problem solved. Thank God! Admission is 300 yen. There's a big cherry blossom tree by the entrance which was all green when I was there. Again it's kinda the wrong season for me, maybe it's more beautiful in sakura season or autumn. The garden is pretty fun and interesting. Of course, there's the little lake or pond.
Then there are paths that you can take which leads you to streams and some bridges. It's really fun walking on the bridges or stepping stones though I always had this fear in me that I would be clumsy enough to fall. Since it's all around green which make photo taking rather boring, I started to just take pictures of the reflection on the water. Something that I did quite a lot in this trip when I visited gardens with ponds or lakes.
It's powdered green tea and I didn't like it much. I didn't fancy the powder feel to it. The little flower cake has a bean paste inside it and the skin is pretty much like the snow skin mooncake. So I sat there, looking at the lake in front of me. It's all so green and peaceful and yes I can just sit there for a long time. There were some other Japanese tourists in the tea house. They're mostly senior citizens. I think they and Japanese babies and toddlers are the cutest Japanese there are :P I like how the senior citizens are so active and spend their days enjoying gardens with their friends. After sitting for sometime, I decided to explore the garden more. There's a small hill in the garden. From down where I was, I saw a Japanese lady sitting there alone. Curious, I decided to see if I can find my way there. I made it and that lady kindly left seeing me there. I felt bad because perhaps she needed some peace and quiet and I was invading her space :( I then proceeded to sit on the bench she sat on. I was alone. Had some really personal thoughts there looking at the garden below. Kinda spoke to God, like really talking to God. I wish I could say I hear him responding to me back. All I had was the wind blowing and I wish I could tell you I find answer in that. I didn't. It wasn't one of those Elizabeth Gilbert moment. Either way, I know he heard me. I just couldn't hear him back. Maybe one day I'll understand. After that, I made my way down and proceeded to explore the rest of the garden.
On my way out, I saw a Japanese man sitting on one of the benches under a tree, opening his bento box and getting ready to eat. I love it so much! Maybe he works nearby and I think it's wonderfully awesome that he got to take some time off to have lunch in a beautiful place. It perhaps makes lunch more expensive that he had to pay for admission price, but it's one of those thing that I'm quite jealous about. Not many cities give this kind of chances for its residents.
Then I explored the compound. There are some Buddha statues, some little houses like bird houses for prayer as well, I assume. There's a pond with running stream and like all other ponds and lakes in Japanese Garden and such, there are big koi fish. There are also smaller rooms in the side of the compound with Buddha statues inside them, where you can pray and meditate I think. You have to take off your shoes when you want to enter them and no photography allowed. I entered one of them, there's a Buddha statue inside it and noone was around and I got to pray more and cried more. I myself cannot explain why I was being so emotional.
So then I decided to call it the day. By the way I also had the intention of visiting Tokyo tower although again I had no intention of going up there. In the end, I decided it's not important. I saw it a few times from the bus and I didn't think it's remarkably pretty being orange. It's inspired by the Eiffel Tower and since I'd been to the Eiffel Tower, I had no big urges to see Tokyo Tower. In fact, I have kinda lost any interest to go up somewhere high to see the view, unless it's a mountain. Hmm, I felt like I had typed that before. Sorry for repeating myself. Anyway so there you go, my so called last day in Tokyo. I went back to Shinjuku and straight away went for an early dinner. I thought my headache was because I was running low on sugar. Settled on Tonkatsu because I wanted to complete the trifecta :P Had one in Kyoto and Sapporo and we must complete the journey in Tokyo. When I put my spoon filled with chawanmushi into my mouth, it was a piece of heaven. I got all warm and fuzzy. I just love eggs so very much :P
:) eKa @ 9:57:00 PM •
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