Thursday, April 3, 2008

Hanami In Ueno Park

March 29, 2007
This entry should come towards the end of my travelogue of my spring holiday, but I will be doing on this first as it involved some gathering with the newly arrived juniors. I had a few travelling partners this time - first two days with Mingrong, one day exploring Yokohama by myself, and the last four days were mainly with Joann and the rest who came down for some meet-ups like Yew Keong, Jonathan and Pik Yee. I will save the details for later entries.
Back to the topic of this entry. So here is how it went. Our initial plan was to return to Nagaoka later that evening, but just as we were going to leave the house of our senpai, Fong Zyin to head to the train station, came one telephone call from another senpai, Boon asking her whether she wanted to join them and the newly arrived kohais for some gathering and night-time hanami at some park in Roppongi. He asked the two of us to join them as well. The moment I heard that they are going for a hanami at night, I told myself straight away that I am staying for another day to join them that night. However, since it was still early as it was not even noon yet by that time, I called Yew Keong who from Kisarazu, just within the proximity of Tokyo to join us for a day out before we join the rest later that night. First destination was the sushi buffet in Ueno and there were four of us there, including YB Mingrong who escaped from performing his duties with the kohais at the Malaysian Embassy. It was just my second time there and although we were made to wait for more than half an hour before we were called in, we left the restaurant with full stomach.
How could I not take pictures of sushi from the buffet, could I?
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Not exactly the kind of picture you would want to see - refilling our cups with green tea.
These are just a few shots I managed to snap as we were more busy gossiping chit chatting away while enjoying the sushi.
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Someone just could not stop herself from making her chopsticks appear in the pictures.
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The only down point of this restaurant is that the rice of the sushi are not compressed properly and it will fall into pieces when you do not handle them properly, especially when dipping the sushi into soya sauce. That aside, they tend to use relatively large amount of rice for each piece of sushi, which will make you feel full in no time. Talking about smart business strategies.
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We later killed a good few hours at the karaoke before Jonathan arrived from Gunma. The four of us then headed to Ueno Park as it is considered one of the best spot for hanami in Tokyo. Before we proceed into the park, we asked some unknown Japanese to take our picture first.
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From left: Jonathan, Yew Keong, Joann and the short guy.
The number of people in the park is just enormous. There were easily thousands of people crowding the park. I noticed quite a number of foreign tourists in the park as well, a common sight considering that now is the sakura season and it is one of the best time to visit Japan. Although it was not my first time looking at the blooming sakura, I was really impressed with the breathtaking view inside the park. It was just bright pink along the way.
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The further walked into the park, I saw more people there.
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It so happened that when I was there, the sakura in Tokyo is at its full bloom and it was not wonder that many people who took this opportunity to have hanami under the sakura trees.
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Some people even put up some banners and it seemed to be recording some entertainment programme there but there were too many people around that I didn't bother to check out what was it about.

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When it had started to get dark, the red lanterns hung along the park were lit on.
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All the pictures above just showed the sakura from afar and I am sure those of you who have never see sakura in real life could only see them as many pinkish spots. Just in case you are wondering how sakura looks like from closed-up, here is one.

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Sakura has five petals, just like our national flower.
Soon it got dark as just when we were going to head to another park to join the rest, we were informed that the park in Roppongi was too crowded and they assigned us to find a spot inside Ueno Park for the gathering. Out of a sudden, we were turned into the organiser for that gathering. It was fun though. From going to the convenience store to get the floor mat, until doing the almost impossible job of searching for a free spot in the park that could accommodate around thirty people for the gathering. To our surprise, we managed to get a spot without much hassle when one group of Japanese was leaving. While waiting for the whole group of senpai and kohai to arrive, we took another group picture again. This time however, we used the self-timer.
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Joann became the Snickers ambassador by promoting that snack.
The night atmosphere was pretty much the same, still packed with people thronging the park.
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And they continued with their hanami throughout the night.
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There was a temple inside the park which caught the attention of many, especially photography enthusiastic. I reckon the pictures taken from the temple up there must be nice, but I just didn't have the time to go all the way up there.

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Finally, the senpai arrived at the park with the kohai. I was kinda surprised to see that the number of senpai came almost out-numbered the kohai. Nevertheless, it was just a short and simple gathering, with the new kohai introducing themselves to the rest. As usual, there are some silly and killer questions thrown out by the senpai. Common questions would be like checking out their status, whether they are still single or attached already. I am sure the kohai will get the same treatment again come this May for another gathering at Tokyo.
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The juniors;
I had my share as well, but it wasn't as bad as how serious my kohai went through. When I was chatting with one of my senpai Li Jia, she was telling me how different I am when I am blogging compared to my real self. Apparently, I seem to talk too much in my blog but when it comes mixing around, it is the opposite. Interesting. But honestly speaking, I could comprehend that comment which has some truth to a certain degree. Perhaps by that time, I was already exhausted after travelling around for almost one whole week already.
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With the senpais (there are too many people for me to caption the pictures with their names)
I didn't manage to capture much nice shots of the senpai and kohai from the night, but I think this three pictures are the best one and besides that, almost all of them who attended the gathering appeared at least once in these pictures. Apologies if you do not see yourself in any of them. I could not find myself either in all three pictures.

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Back row from left: Jia Hui, Jun Hui, Yien San, Ming Jing, Elaine, Xin Ning, Shin Wei, Bik Yee.
Front row from left: Pik Yee, Yew Keong and James (apologies and please correct me if I spelled your names wrongly)
To end this post that should be a short one but ended up being this long, it will be my favourite shot from the night.
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Just a pity to see a lantern wasn't lit on.


février said...

omggggggggg SO PRETTY ! london oso got sakura flowers!!!

and i want one of the lanterns :(

got see any cute jap guys for me ah :P

Anonymous said...

since when jun became june? lol unless she has a english name, her name is jun hui. and the forgot-of-her-name is shin wei. i tot u know them? lol

Sheryl0202 said...

O M G! I HATE YOU Calvin~~~ Hahaha..Just JK, you are so lucky! I wanna see Sakura in full bloom also.........SO PRETTY!

Anonymous said...

crazy crowds indeed

calvin said...

@ beve:
i could not imagine seeing sakura along the streets of london. it would look awkward to my liking >.<

there are all put up so high that even someone with some height like me would not reach them.

since when you are interested in japanese guys? i thought you prefer ang moh more?

calvin said...

@ ben foo:
no, i wasn't sure of some of their names. lucky thing that they are all the kohai, not the senpai. otherwise, it would be a real 大変失礼 (taihen shitsurei) =P

thanks for the correction :)

calvin said...

@ sheryl0202:
of course sakura is beautiful.
you ought to visit japan one day :)

calvin said...

@ kok hong:
where is the craziness?

Anonymous said...

the important thing is...
sushi buffet berapa?
got those sushi such as salmon hotate maguro?

calvin said...

@ ns29:
i thought that particular sushi restaurant in ueno is quite popular among us? you mean you have not gone there before? the sushi buffet is at a standard price of 1,050yen.

when it is priced at such low price, you would not expect to see those sushi you mentioned, would you? they can be ordered seperately though. anyway, in term of freshness, the sushi was way behind what i had in hokkaido last summer.

février said...

=.= ? of course not la, its in the parks or maybe in front of people's houses
my friends neighbourhood there filled with cherry blossom trees (or so the mum said la) waiting for them to bloom to see
I WANT ONE LANTERN LA why pics of japan so the cute wan ?!!?!?
And the sakura flower really seriously pretty :( makes me want one too.
huh?? when did i say that?
ehhhh i really like that pic with the seaweed and rice la. :( can gimme ah? :P without the watermark
dun worry i wun use for anything except to look at it T_T (ya i know im weird) T^T
but kero if i ever use it i sure say its ur pic lah (though i doubt i will)

Anonymous said...

hokkaido sushi is the best..
if 1050 not even have those normal type..
can eat as much as i can also i wont pay for it..
(i only went ueno once and it is kensyu ryokou)

calvin said...

@ beve:
who knows, the mum could be bad when it comes to recognising flowers and when by the time they bloom, it might turn out to be hibiscus. the mum will be saying, "same lar, both also got five petals mah" O.o

i may not be able to give you the lanterns, but as for the sushi picture, i will send it to you the next time i see you online. no worries. you can use it anywhere as you like. i know i am such a nice person =D

calvin said...

@ ns29:
i can't deny that the sushi in hokkaido is one of the best, if not the best. however, when it comes to the price of the sushi in hokkaido, i think you will get what i am trying to say here.

different people have different opinion. but i still believe it was worth it considering the variety of choices they have from the sushi buffet in ueno =)

Eric Sng said...

yummy food, nice pictures and the lantern seem weird cuz it was getting bigger when i scroll down which was like weird...haha, anyways...nice job on taking the photos...really made ma a little bit calm..

calvin said...

@ eric sng:
those lanterns seemed to get bigger because they are possessd. lol =P