Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Echigo Hillside Farm

It is the spring now and flowers are blooming everywhere. Sakura, tulips, roses, you name it. It was Showa Day (April 29th) several days ago and I took the opportunity to set out to somewhere, which isn't new to me at all. In fact, I have been there twice for the last two years and this trip marks my third time there. Talk about not getting bored going to the same place.
How could I get bored when I get to fish on so many hot and cute fishes.
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The Japanese call this
koinobori, to mark the Childrens' Day today, May 5th.
Haha, but that's certainly not my main purpose of going all the way to this park. I can always feast my eyes on hot chicks from other medium. Back to this entry, there is this park called 国営越後丘陵公園 (Kokuei-Echigo-Kyuuryou-kouen) or Echigo Hillside Farm, which is located at the outskirt of Nagaoka city, roughly about 15 kilometers from the city center.
My visit to this park this time is for this.
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Yes, tulips.
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But not the human, for sure.
It was a national public holiday, so the crowd is comprehensible. However, what made the park getting so crowded like I have never seen before is the fact that entrance was free on that day. I was taken aback by the sea of human, especially little kids when I made my entrance into the park. Another fact that contributed to the huge figures could be the fact that it was the beginning of the Golden Week, a period in Japan in which several holidays fall consecutively through a week.
My tip for those who are new here, never plan a trip in Japan during this period because every tourist spots will be crowded. Trust me and you will never regret. I got a few course mates who went to Tokyo Disneyland during their first year here and they spent more time walking through the crowd and queuing-up for the rides.
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Had a Japanese chick taking this for me.
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Another guy, whom I supposed most probably a foreigner (Thai, maybe) took this.
I was a bit disappointed by the crowd there, especially at the tulips area because I just couldn't find the right angle where there is no human at the background. I saw a little kid posing for his mom when I turn to the left, I saw an elderly grandpa when I turn to the right, there was a brown puppy with white spots behind me, and when I turned to the front, I saw a huge pumpkin.
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Reminds you of Cinderella, eh?
But I know I cannot be that selfish and start blaming the people for considering them as unwanted presence in my pictures. I am sure they think the same of me as well. It was a holiday and it's almost inevitable that there will be people everywhere, at every single space of the park.
Equipped with my trusty and always-relivable Sony DSC-T100, I started to take shots after shots, although I am very well-aware that these shots will never match those people who are using their big cameras. You know what I mean here, but nevertheless, I think I did quite okay. Here are a few selected ones.
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The building at the background is the rest area, besides some restaurants and exhibitions corner.
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They call this tulip aisu-kuriimu (ice-cream).
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One of the rare shots without any human in the photo.
There are quite a few more but in general, I didn't take as much shots as I would like to because it was a total coincidence that I came across with several Malaysians while I was busy snapping away. Jack, a senior of mine who is currently doing his forth year at Nagaoka University of Technology was the first person I saw, but then I noticed that he was there with the family of his landlord - Chew, his wife and only son, Jia Ming who speaks flawless Japanese, just like the local kids.
So, we started to walk around the tulip area and camwhore.
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With Jia Ming and Jack.
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Jack and Chew.
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Chew, Jia Ming and Jack.

We later walked to a few other sections of the park, like the water park and watching the musical fountain performance. It was a sunny day, so most of the families who were there took this opportunity to picnic and relax under the shades of the trees. They didn't really bother the scorching sun because cool spring breeze was blowing which gave almost the perfect weather.
We later walked a little bit further up to board the bus which will take us up the hill to the observatory tower. Along the way, Jia Ming who loves insects and bugs a lot came across this pair of butterfly.
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I was surprised that they didn't fly away despite having my camera so near to them.
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The shuttle bus that looked like a kindergarten bus.
The driver gave us a brief introduction about this park along the journey, which took about ten minutes. This park is still considerably quite new because it was set up just over ten years ago and only one-third of the whole park is completed. It will take at least two more decades for the park to reach its full-completion. Echigo Hillside Park is one of the biggest park of its such in the northern region of Japan, which faces the Sea of Japan. The other one is located in Nagano prefecture.
We came across an area in which dozen rows of lavenders which are expected to reach their full-bloom come summer, around the end of July and early August. Reminds me of my visit to the lavender farm in Hokkaido two summers ago.
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The observatory tower.
Anyway, this observatory towers gave us a 360-degree panoramic view of Nagaoka city and its neighbouring towns 230 meters above the sea level.
Looking at the beautiful greenery mountains range which begin to grow new leaves for another new season certainly offered a perfect break for our minds from the hectic daily schedule. It also reminded me of what one of the Japanese lecturers used to tell us. The Japanese regard the growth of the new green leaves as a rebirth to a new season.
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The parking lot and the tulip section from the top of the observatory tower.
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The greens and the city of Nagaoka at the background.
We came down from the observatory tower and back to the park, where we had some ball-kicking session with Jia Ming with the yellow ball he brought there. He later went to play at the playground and I just stood there wishing only if I get to join him.
But when I looked at the instruction's board, it was written there "Only for 6 to 12". Sigh.
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Met with Chew's lecturer at the park before we went back.
I'm already almost twice that age.

4 comments:

specialhuman said...

i think the flowers are better off without u.

calvin said...

@ specialhuman:
haha, your comment is damn honest. anyway, there will be a second part to follow and you shall see more pictures of only tulips ;)

sheryl0202 said...

Hey.....i LURVE tulips..my favourite flower! Thanks for the picture!

calvin said...

@ sheryl0202:
i guess mr bf will always pick tulips on v-day, eh? xD