Wednesday, 4 May 2011

There Were Pandas?

In Japan the fourth of May is Greenery Day.

Apart from being a nice perk of a national holiday, it's also a day of free entry into Ueno Zoo! The last time I came, almost two years ago was also on a free day, but it fell on a Thursday so it wasn't this crowded.

By the time we got there, we found a line that seemed to have no end. It felt like we walked around the whole circumference of the park and gave up near the entry where we found a much shorter line. Apparently that line was to see the pandas. Sure, I'd like to see the pandas, but I'm not waiting all day in a queue to see Pandas for only a few minutes. Even more bizarre were people cueing up to take photos of their kids with panda statues!

The tiger and gorilla enclosures weren't the best suited for crowds of this size, so I joked to myself we would not see any animals at all today. There were bottlenecks in a lot of places, and kids rudely pushing in front of me quite often. Little s**ts.

I brought along my GH1 camera. Since I bought this one with the smaller zoom lens, I threw on my Nikon adapter and connected my 18-200mm. It's been a while since I used it, so my first photos were terrible. The Nikon lens has to be exposed and focused manually. Getting used to it again, my photos were turning out much better.

With this long zoom lens, it was pretty easy to get this close up to a giraffe.

Even better is getting some nice examples of Japanese English like this.

Who needs pandas? The real stars of the show have to be the penguins. I could look at these guys all day.

Even as we left the line for the pandas for as big as ever. I had great timing getting this picture of the "End of Panda line" guard losing his hat. I don't know how that happened!

Since we were in Ueno, I thought it'd be a good idea to check out Yamashiroya. Another teacher told me about it a while ago. Since Kiddyland is a little smaller these days, this looks like the best big toy store of the moment. After getting a bit burnt out wandering the zoo, we didn't stay there very long though.

The Uniqlo store was right next door and they had their T's on a 990 yen sale, so I got these two. Yes, that does say rubber band. I like a shirt with some kana on it too.

As we left Ueno we made our way close to Akihabara. My father wanted a Braun shaver, and I found a limited edition one considerably cheap than in Australia, so I decided to buy it to send it to him. Later I'd find it a bit of a headache, as you'll read in a later post.

We asked Yamashiroya if they could match a deal we saw at Toys R Us in Odaiba for Singamajigs, they said they don't match prices *big thumbs down*, so we decided to make our way back to Odaiba.

We passed through Ginza to get some anpan, then through Shinbashi where I noticed the Nakagin Capsule Tower.

To me this is a good example of a cool haikyo-style building. With the ever present threat of being demolished, I hope they choose to restore it. Tokyo needs more of these amazing structures.

By the time we got to the Rainbow Bridge it was getting late. We made our way across going along the walkway. I could never get sick of doing this. Our sole purpose was to get a pair of singamajigs that were about 3,000 yen for two.

How old am I. Crazy? Was there any doubt? I think they're cool no matter what. And yes that is a bubble blower you see between them. Oh.