Japan: The Home Stretch

Things often don’t turn out as planned, and this includes our stay in Japan. At the end of April we’ll be moving back to Singapore.

The month of April will be a busy one filled with traveling and being a tourist. This weekend my parents and sister are coming to Tokyo for a visit. We’ll be exploring all of Tokyo and also heading to Kyoto for a couple nights. It looks like they’ll arrive just as the cherries are blossoming in Tokyo. Here’s a couple pictures taken yesterday:

Sakura in Ichigaya

Sakura in Ichigaya

The last weekend in March was also quite busy. On Saturday we checked out the 36th annual Tokyo Motorcycle Show, and happened to visit Roppongi at night where Roppongi Art Night was happening. It was a busy day. On Sunday we joined some friends from my office and their friends for hanami at a park in Asagaya. It was our first hanami, a very pleasant afternoon. Pictures are here, here, and here.

Early Spring this Year?

Just popping up to say “Hi, spring is coming?”

We’ve been having some warm weather recently, and it looks like the cherry blossoms might be early this year. We’ve seen a few trees with pink flowers blooming already around our neighborhood:

Sakura in February?

With spring seemingly just around the corner, I’ve been doing some spring cleaning. Today I went through the pictures I took with my mobile and uploaded some to Zooomr.

I haven’t been blogging much lately, but I do post updates to Tiwtter (so I have been microblogging). Check it out!

Busy Few Weeks

In the past few weeks, Mike:
-did lots of sakura watching
-visited many touristy places in Tokyo
-left the city for a couple day trips
-and more!

…plus, there are lots of new pictures!

Yes, it has been. Last you heard from me the sakura had just bloomed and the city was turning pink and the family was on their way to visit. Today we’ll just gloss over the highlights and I’ll point you to some pictures I recently uploaded.

The day before our visitors arrived, Shux and I went for a walk to admire the cherry blossoms. We ended up at the Yasukuni Shrine. Pictures here.

Once the family was here, we did a bunch of sightseeing: the Meiji Shrine, sakura at Kitanomaru Park, Asakusa, Ueno, Yokohama, Hakone and more. Lots of shopping, too! Pictures here.

One of the places we missed was Odaiba. Neither Shux nor I had been there before, and we didn’t realize how interesting it’d be for visitors. We checked it out a few days after our guests left; pictures here.

Finally, tomorrow is Shux’s birthday. In honor of this wonderful event in our calendar, I arranged for a surprise weekend at Tokyo Disneyland. I booked a hotel room for Friday night and told Shux we’d go out for dinner. We met at her office when she was done with work, and headed to “a good seafood restaurant I read about.” After walking a few minutes to our hotel “looking for the restaurant,” Shux finally caught on when I started checking in at the front desk.

The next morning we were up early to make the most of Tokyo Disneyland. We hit up Space Mountain first thing, and also enjoyed a bunch of other rides and lots of popcorn (which we waited a long time for) and other junk food. Tokyo Disneyland is smaller than the one in Anaheim, but it was pretty fun nonetheless. Many rides were identical, like Pirates of the Caribbean or the Haunted Mansion. The latter was entirely in Japanese though, which probably contributed to our lack of fear. It was too cold for Splash Mountain. Pictures here.

Perhaps in the future I will write more details about the past few weeks… but somehow that’s doubtful 😀

The Cherry Trees are Blooming

Ah, yes, spring is here! And it sure looks pretty.

Spring is here and it’s no more obvious than the sakura making an appearance around the city. Today I snapped the first photos of my first sakura experience.

These line the street connecting our place to the closest train station, planted inside the secure concrete fence of the Jietai base:

Sakura

Sakura

Also on my excursion today (to pick up new curtains for our apartment) I came by what must be one of the few Krispy Kreme establishments in Japan. Here’s what the Shinjuku location looks like:

Krispy Kreme

You can tell it’s popular by the queue, which continues at the top of the stairs near the right edge of the picture. Whenever I walk by there, I think “maybe today the queue will be short enough for me to justify waiting for some donuts”, but this hasn’t come true yet. Maybe someday.

My mother-, brother- and sister-in-law are coming to visit on Monday. Just in time for the sakura season. We wanted to go to Kyoto next weekend but accommodations are very tough to come by. I think we may be doing a series of day-trips instead.

At any rate, stay tuned for more pictures in the coming days 🙂