Friday, 23 December 2011

Taito Ward Walking

The second last day for us in Japan was spent with a whole lot of walking.
I started the day with the most ideal way for me; running! Yeay me! My head felt heavy from being "lazy" taking a break from running the past few days since it rained both days we were in Kawasaki and the first two days in Tokyo, my gum was still throbbing painfully.
Started my short run from Sumida Boat River terminal, ran down to the next bridge (it was called Sakura Bridge or something, correct me please) ran back to the Azuma Bridge (the red lacquered bridge in front of the Asahi Beer building) and finish off by running all the way back to our hotel. I can probably search for the correct names of the bridge but I'm feeling lazy to fact-check.
After breakfast, we made our way to Kappabashi first. Spent about an hour there, looking at takoyaki mould and spending much of our time over at one shop there selling everything from food items to bento packaging to souvenir stuff. Cheap stuff and some of the "souvenir"y stuff sold at Nakamise-Dori can be found at that shop for half the price! No, I'm not going to tell you the shop's name. Go and head over to Kappabashi yourself.
Then, our foot took us to Ueno and we found this giant of a panda over at Ueno Station. Please don't try and feed the panda! xD
When in Ueno, gotta stroll a bit in Ueno Park. Maybe not the best park in Tokyo but hey, it is free to wander around it and you can meet some pretty interesting people there. We were there on Monday so the zoo and all the museums are closed. Saw plenty of runners doing their noon runs there. If I have more leisurely time in Tokyo, I am so gonna do a few rounds here, I tell you.

Walked past a few shrines, temples and stopped for a while at the 84,000 Jizo Statue and the Mushizuka, an insect cemetery to console the spirits of dead insects used  as models for drawings.
before finally reaching our destination; the Yanaka cemetery. We talked about making our way to Tokyo University too that day, but eventually didn't.
After spending a bit of time meandering around the cemetery, we continued our walk to the nearby Nippori Station for lunch. A simple bread based lunch and we got on our way back to Ueno.
Raimie was such a good boy, spending more than 5 hours walking with us so as a reward, we spent time looking at games and toys at Yamashiroya and Yodobashi Camera in Ueno later.
Then, it's a walk back to Kappabashi and did some shopping there; completing our purchases moments before the store was set to close for the day at 5.30pm. Yup people, stores in Kappabashi close early so don't plan on late evening shopping there. Malls close at 8.00pm or 9.00pm. Complaining about wanting to do late-night shopping but can't? Go to Korea. Or better still, shop in Malaysia. But you can eat sushi all night long in Asakusa. Sushi Zanmai opens from 11.00am to 7.00am the next day.
Hurriedly walked through Sensoji Temple because I wanted to stop and buy something very "touristy" as requested by my siblings at Nakamise-dori. 
By the time we arrived Nakamise-Dori, we've been asked for directions by Japanese person(s) three times that day! One at Yanaka Cemetery - a lady looking for a jizo or something. Second time was at Nippori Station - an elderly couple asking how to get to Yokohama and the third one in front of the Hozomon Gate - a guy wanted to ask something I didn't catch. Did we look so friendly that among all those people mingling there, we were the ones they asked for directions? xD

Four fridge magnets and a few boxes of ningyo-yaki (or whatever Zaini decided to buy for his colleagues) later, then it's time for dinner! Sushi dinner at Sushi Zanmai.
What's that you ask? That's natto temaki sushi and they were yummy!
All that walking didn't leave me unaffected. Just look at my poor blistered left heel. Poor foot. I really do abuse you a lot, right? Three blisters, forming on top of each other that's been there since Day 4 in Japan. But dear two feet of mine, you know I love you, right? I adore you so much that we'll start training for Standard Chartered Marathon 2012 soon! Yeay us! ^^

We were out from 10.00am and only returned at 8.00pm. I decided not to go out again, after looking at my lopsided face in the mirror (left cheek was obviously puffy, the effects of my swollen gum) but "genki" Zaini went out again and after three hours, still not a peep from him! He must be having a lot of fun! ^^

A week after returning from our 2011 Japan vacation, I'm still halfway through taking antibiotics for the gum of mine. Good times. *^-^*


  1. Oh, hope your gum and foot are well soon.
    This is my first time to read about "insect cemetery". ~*(^.^)*~ It sounds like a fun place to visit!

  2. @ristinw,
    Thanks for the wish.It's nothing serious though.;)

    I'm gonna do a post about the Mushizuka sometime in future.

  3. How did you find running in Japan compared to Malaysia? In Tokyo, I love Rikugien Garden (六義園) which is one of Tokyo’s most beautiful parks. The garden was modelled on poetic principles – the words and images of 17th century haiku master, Yanagisawa Yoshiyasu.

  4. Now you're talking about all my favourite places! Happy!

    Maybe people ask you for directions because you're clearly a Japan expert. Except maybe for bridges. :) Did you run up- or downriver? If you go upriver, the next bridge after Azumabashi is Sakurabashi (it's yellowish and for pedestrians only). If you run downriver, the next bridge is blue Komagatabashi.

    Puffy gums and badly blistered heel. Ouch! You don't believe in half-measures, do you?

  5. Nice shoes and the nice thick blanket of maple leaves underneath. Can understand the pain you went through with the nagging blisters and swollen gum and by now they are completely OK.

  6. Oh Ultraman 'survived' the 5 hour walk with color timer steady blue all the way coz of games and toys as carrot..haha.

  7. Cool they have cemetery for insects? The two pixz are the insect cemeteries?

  8. @Japan Australia,
    Running during the colder season in Japan is of course significantly different from hot, humid Malaysia. I ran with a faster pace there. That, and the fact that I needn't worry about dogs nipping my heel while I'm running the neighbourhood. ;p

    We were supposed to go visit Rikugien but had to ditch the plan last minute. Ah well... there's always next time. ^^

  9. @Rurousha,
    Special place deserves a special mention. ^^

    I went upriver. But didn't think it's yellow or pedestrian only. It's bluish? Just saw the name Sakurabashi before I reached one of the many bridges there. It had arcs. xD

    Komagatabashi would be the one near to the hotel we stayed in, which I headed to, to finish my run. ;)

  10. @Rurousha,
    I of course have photos of the bridge. Maybe I should post them up soon? I was thinking to put them up for my "Running in Japan" or something, segment. xD

  11. @Bananazஇ,
    Both pain gone already, as did the swelling. :)

    Yeah, games & toys are effective carrots for the little "Ultraman". ^^

    Nope. Those two photos aren't the insect cemetery. They are 1. a part of the 84,000 Jizo statues and 2. Yanaka cemetery.

  12. I hope your blistered foot and the gum will be cured soon.
    Your walking places look like your gardens.
    Each bridge cross the river has different shape. I admire the designers at Meiji-era very much.

  13. @minor,
    Yes, both are better now. Thanks. :)

    Seeing the different bridges along the river are nice. ^^

  14. Lol. You must be very friendly because you were asked by Japanese. Merry Christmas.

  15. @cocomino,
    LOL Maybe so.

    Merry Christmas to you and family too. How are you celebrating Christmas?

  16. Wow! The panda is so huge!! XD

  17. Insect cemetery? First time heard of such a thing!

  18. Wow! Japanese people asking you guys for direction? You all must have looked like Japanese people! And I must say this again - you must be a Japanese in your past life : )

  19. Hopefully your left heel has fully recovered and your gums not swollen anymore : )

  20. Hmm, wondering what souvenir you got for me. Looking at my mailbox everyday : )

  21. Poor Lina!
    Looks you Santa gave your three nasty blisters this year! Ha ha...
    Did you take a toothpick from the restaurant?
    It comes handy if you want to pierce your blisters. ;)

  22. @foong,
    Totally huge Panda. If you go to Tokyo, come out from Ueno Station and meet your fellow panda there. :)

    Insect cemetery - it was there to appease the maybe restless soul of the insects that died for art & science. Japanese do believe everything has a soul, even inanimate objects.

    Maybe we look like we know where we were going at those places we got stopped for directions. ;p

    Gum is all better now. Heel too. ^^

  23. @London Caller,
    No, I just clipped it with my nail clipper. xD

    It's funny how I never even got a blister doing my long 2 or 3-hour runs but I got it from walking. ^^!

  24. They all have arcs! ^^ I will apply my own advice to you - patience! - and wait until you do the "Running in Japan" post. Maybe I'll recognize the bridge, though I'm not a bridge expert at all. I mean, nobody ever asks ME for directions ...

  25. @Rurousha,
    They do? Well, Azumabashi doesn't. LOL

    OK OK, I'll ask you some directions once I get there. Deal? Now, don't pout. ;p

  26. Natto is one of my favorite foods... hope your feet get better soon...

  27. @Lrong,
    It's all better now. :)

  28. A Santa came to my home. :)

  29. @cocomino,
    That's so COOL! Did he stay long? :)

  30. As mentioned, if you run north (up river) you did indeed go to Sakurabashi. It makes a shape of an X when looking at it top down. :)

    @bananaz: The leaves are actually Ginkgo leaves. It is also the symbol of the Tokyo government. Beautiful yellow leaves that make the trees look like bright vibrant yellow triangles.

    PS: That Panda needs a bath. :D

  31. @Dru,
    Ok, noted on the bridge. ^^

    And thanks for the clarification over the maple/gingko leaves. Missed that somehow. xD

  32. The panda already looks well-fed. Were you able to give the 3 people directions or answer their questions? You must look like you know where you were going.

  33. @AVCrteur,
    Nawww.... I just told them I don't understand Japanese.... get this - in Japanese. LOL


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