On Monday, I did my second to last final, and talked to the teacher afterwards which went much better than I had expected, so I was feeling good. Although this final was at 9 AM on Monday which meant I had to deal with REAL rush hour traffic on the busiest line in Tokyo. I can't say I liked it, but it could have been much worse. My last final was on Wednesday, but I was feeling pretty confident on it, and I knew it was an in-class essay on something I already gave a presentation on, so I knew the source material pretty well. This was also a class I didn't really like and was required, so I had very little intention on studying. So, instead of opening a book, on Tuesday, I went to Inokashira park, which is a very large park around here. In hindsight, this was without a doubt the right decision.
A few things about this park... First off, it's one of the largest and most famous parks in Tokyo, and is very well known in the Eastern part of the city. It was founded in 1918 and used to be one of the city's main sources of water.
Anyways, as it is fall, and I keep hearing how beautiful fall is in Japan, I wanted to see for myself. I didn't get far before I was awestruck by the colors.
I'm not really sure how to get all these colors onto a camera, so looking back at these pictures, they're significantly more dull than reality was.
I was however, a bit worried that I had missed the best part.
But, I was wrong. It was all absolutely amazing. It's hard to capture on film, but as the wind blew, it rained down leaves. It was so perfect, it didn't seem real.
These pictures all show Tamagawa Jousi on the left. This used to be a mighty river where many people, including a famous author, committed suicide by jumping in and getting knocked about by the current. Now it's not much more than a small stream. This is partly due to nature and partly due to human intervention.
Anyways, it was a really lovely walk, maybe 20 minutes, from my house to the park. Left takes you to the main part of Kichijoji, which I've walked that path a few times, so I went right.
And I found an exercise field.
It was a very quiet and peaceful place to run, walk your dog, enjoy the fresh air, whatever.
I went back to the main part of the park which is on the way to Kichijoji.
That's the same street from a different angle.
The woods smelled great.
There were plenty of people also taking pictures and enjoying a nice walk. It wasn't too cold, but just cool enough to remind you that it definitely is fall.
Inside Inokashira park there is a small temple devoted to a vengeful goddess of love.
the temple is this amazingly bright color of red. Most of the temples I saw in Kyoto were bright orange, but this was truly magnificent and different.
Here were two construction workers just enjoying a nice rest. This park was very much for the people. I saw young, old, rich, poor people enjoying the natural beauty.
People were also really friendly at the park. Everyone was relaxed, smiling, people randomly said hello to me. I felt like since it was relaxing, everyone just let their guard down and became quite pleasant. I did see some missionaries on bikes trying to convert someone, in English nonetheless. That made me kind of sad, but I couldn't be too sad.
Here's the boathouse. You can rent a paddle, swan, or row boat and enjoy the lake.
I found it odd that in the park walking around, I saw 2 people that might have been foreigners (I didn't get a good look), but in the lake, of the 5 boats I saw, 4 of them had foreigners.
The park also had the gutsiest ducks I ever saw.
These ducks were walking right in front of me. If I hadn't stopped, I could have easily stepped on one. They just didn't care about humans, or at least weren't afraid of them.
I saw a guy sitting on a bench playing a shamisen, which is a traditional Japanese instrument. I took a little video clip:
As the sun was going down, I felt the need to leave, but it was an amazing stroll through the park, one that I'm sure I will be repeating.
This last picture was yesterday in Mitaka. It's the other side of the train station from my house, and I like this picture and I wanted to share it.