Ueno Day 2

Continued from Ueno Day 1.

Jet lagged, so the day starts really really early. Went to bed at around 8ish and we all woke up at a little bit before 2am, the baby included.

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It’s 3:15am and I am heading out to Lawson to get resupplies. We are hungry.

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Even Tokyo sleeps at night, it’s quiet around here.

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So thankful this is just right around the corner from our hotel. Then again, this being Japan, there is almost always a convenience store just right around the corner from everything.

DSC08850 Surprised to find that their sushi section is fully stocked in the middle of the night. There are, however, no fried chicken available in the middle of the night though.

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The haul, yum! Love it.

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At some point in the night, PL finally falls asleep…except she falls asleep not quite centered in the bed and we didn’t want to wake her up so we just left her in the same spot. See if you can spot RL, who is also asleep in the bed…

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After a night of sporadic sleep, it’s 8:45am and time for us to head out. We feel oddly rested. It was nice to finally get some sleep from that super long flight.

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The weather here in Tokyo is much warmer than we had anticipated. Instead of worried about being too cold for the baby, we are more worried about getting sunburns.

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Interesting special drink.

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Entering Ueno Park. Originally when we planned on the stopover in Japan, we just wanted to stop by here for a few days to eat and eat and eat. It wasn’t until after we had booked our trip that we¬†realize the 5 days that we are here will coincidentally be the height of the very short cherry blossom season. Pretty cool coincidence. Though, it also meant that we are paying higher prices than usual for our hotels due to the higher demand.

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Ueno Park is one of the top spots to view sakura here in Tokyo.

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Not impressed with sakura.

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People getting ready for their cherry blossom viewing parties by staking out spots with tarps. Soon, people will fill in all the spots along with their alcohol, food, and laughter.

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Very cool. There are many foreign tourists who fly in to Japan just to view the sakura blooms. We hear a lot of Taiwanese and Chinese all around us.

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Even their manhole covers have sakura on them.

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Pretty awesome, and lucky for us. Sakura only blooms for about 2 weeks annually, and they start bloom earlier and later based on weather. We really really lucked out in that we got here right at the height of the bloom season, and all without any planning!!!

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It’s definitely a pretty sight, I can see why people travel to Japan just to see this.

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Starting to wake up a little bit more…maybe. Must, Eat, Hand.

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Pretty, just like mommy.

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Lots of food stands here. Did not expect to see this.

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It’s gotten a lot more crowded since we first arrived. It’s about 9:30am and the people are really starting to stream in.

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All them Chinese tourists with their selfie sticks.

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Drool…

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Heading over to another trail of Sakura that cuts across at lake in the park.

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More food stands. They also sell alcohol. I can see how the sakura viewing parties(hanami) would be amazing with a group of friends.

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Can’t believe these tourists dragged their full sized luggages all the way into the middle of the park!!

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Found the trail of sakura surrounded by lake on both sides. As a bonus, it’s also a little bit less crowded here as well.

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Used a selfie stick for this photo, my arm.

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Very nice stroll. Though, it’s starting to get a little bit warm. Feels like in the high 70s. Can’t really complain though, this is actually pretty awesome weather. Tomorrow, there’s a lot of rain to be expected in the forecast.

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A few buds sprouting from the middle of the tree trunk.

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Alright, we can check viewing sakura off of our bucket list now. Time to look for some lunch.

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Ho ho ho ho ho ho.

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Love hotel, you can stay for just 4 hours.

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Our lunch spot….DOH! Not open yet!! We thought that they were 24 hours, but apparently we were wrong.

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Building full of clubs and bars. It’s interesting to see windowless tall buildings here in Tokyo.

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Japan changes a little bit every time I visit. A few years ago, I noticed that they added English menus to their public transportation ticket machines. Now, I notice English descriptions for some of their sushi here at the convenience stores. They also carry these Chinese buns here at the convenience stores. The country is slowly opening up to foreign influence, little by little. I am sad to report that I’ve found zero fried chicken drumsticks at the convenience stores this time. I think they’ve fallen out of favor, replaced with boneless fried thigh pieces.

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I hope this drink brings us a wonderful time as well.

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10am, we wanted early lunch, but since that didn’t happen, we’ll just shop. There’s Uniqlo in US, but their sizing and cut is different from the Japanese Uniqlos. Yup, you guessed it, their American cut is made for fat people.

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We sit around while mommy shops.

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Life of a parent, must check out baby section.

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This building has one single changing/nursing room, but it was on a floor that didn’t open until 11am. I have to take back what I said in the airport about the diaper stations only being in the women’s bathroom. This one was accessible to both dads and mothers. We browsed and shopped for an hour until we were finally able to change PL’s diaper. She hasn’t had a poop in a long time, and we are worried that she made have pulled a stealth one on us. Happy to report no poop this time…but it only means that she’ll perhaps poop or blowout at an even more inconvenience time later….

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Baby eats before us.

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On our way looking for lunch again.

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Found lunch spot. This rotating sushi spot with the blue sign had good reviews so I wanted to give it a try.

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There are no less than 3 rotation sushi restaurants all within 20 feet of one another.

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Literally right next door to our lunch spot is another rotating sushi place.

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Of course, the one we picked is the one with the long line. I guess it must be good if everyone is willing to wait in line for it.

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Finally!!

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Ohh, fancy. There’s heaping amounts of fish on all the sushi here.

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Unfortunately, while the food is fancier and more expensive than your run of the mill rotating sushi spot, we felt like we didn’t have the well developed palate to appreciate it. Next time, cheap blue collar rotating sushi place for us!

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Some coffee for after lunch. We are really tired already. Did not expect to walk around all morning with the baby. But this also meant that she was well behaved enough that we essentially got to see and do everything we would normally do sans baby. Unfortunately, this coffee shop was smoking in all sections, so we retreated.

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No worries, on the way to the coffee shop next door to our hotel.

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Some coffee before we head back to hotel and nap for the afternoon, sure, why not.

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Can’t believe I am drinking iced coffee out of a mug that they are trying to sell for ~$60!!

Spent the afternoon resting in the room. Took a nap, and had to set our alarm to make sure we didn’t sleep all afternoon and wake up at like 8pm, in which case we’d be screwed on our sleep schedule.

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After forcing ourselves awake, it’s time to view the sakura blooms again, this time at night time. There are supposed to be night time illuminations until about 8pm. It’s just a bit past 6pm, first we get a bite to eat then go back to Ueno Park.

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It’s always nice to be close by to a major train station.

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Oh no!! The curry house that we picked for dinner is closed for some reason!! We are 0-2 on eating curry today. Damnit!

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The search continues for dinner then…

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Let’s give this seafood place a try.

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It was a no go either. It was full, and they only had available seating in the smoking section.

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We kept on walking and searching, but nothing seemed to stand out. Finally, we had walked so far that we reached a tonkatsu place that I had marked on my map. OK, this is it for dinner then!

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Packed restaurant, but we were able to snag a sweet spot at the end of the bar. Love the intimately small restaurants here in Japan. The entire restaurant, including the kitchen, is within view here.

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Yes! So good!! Not quite Maisen quality, but still very delicious!!

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Now that we’ve filled our stomaches, it’s time to fill our sights with more sakura blooms. Onwards to Ueno Park.

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People standing in line for a sushi restaurant where everyone eats standing up.

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Turkish kebabs, oh wait…they also serve ice cream!

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A trip to Japan is not complete unless you eat green tea ice cream!

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Finally reached Ueno Park.

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As promised, the trees are illuminated.

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Lots of people here.

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This is as far as we will go tonight. We are exhausted, must go back to hotel and sleep.

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Here’s where all the locals hang out. While walking through the park, I could hear all the Taiwanese and Chinese tourists all around us. But here at the hanami parties, I only hear Japanese.¬†DSC09119
Here, everyone is drinking, eating and laughing. There are no portapotties here. I only saw one restroom and it was located far away. If you’ve gotta pee, too bad, better hold it! Maybe they don’t have extra restrooms here to prevent people from drinking way too much…

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Very festive here. Wish our friends were here so we too can have a picnic out here.

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Time to head back, sleep awaits…maybe.

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The sakura tree inside Ueno Station is a fake. Would be cooler if it was real.

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A different convenience store to stock up on supplies for tonight. Let’s hope we’ll all be able to fall asleep despite our jet lag.

To be continued at Ueno Day 3.