Land of the Rising Fun: Tokyo Edition
November 23, 2013
If you know me even a little bit, you’ll know I have a raging ladyboner for everything floral. So, when I decided to visit Japan, the trip was very deliberately timed to coincide with cherry blossom season. Despite global warming’s best attempts to rain on my parade (by not raining) and producing Tokyo’s warmest March since records began (triggering the earliest full bloom ever) Tokyo was the explosive, fluffy, pink Enid Blyton style floral orgasm of my dreams. It was a while ago yes but here’s a little sprinkling of Tokyo’s awesome:
Walking shoulder to shoulder with the blossom worshipping masses through the Hanami food stalls in Ueno Park.
The blossoms creating a fluffy dappled canopy as we walk through Ueno Park.
Still in Ueno Park, this shot is looking down from Kiyomizu Kannon Temple
Getting your Swan boat-on at Inokashira Park is essential if you want to feel like you’re trapped in a Wes Anderson movie. And who doesn’t??!! There’s also an urban legend that claims any couple who ride in these swan boats will break up. It’s called self-sabotage, Ben. (Nah, just kidding, you’re alright.)
On our way to the world’s only Parasite Museum (yes, that happened) we stumble across an avenue of cherry blossoms lining the banks of the Meguro River. I love how the fallen blossoms float along with the current like some weirdly gorgeous pink algae.
Is there a more sweeter sight than a random kitty sitting in a blossom tree wearing a scarf??! (Untapped market for friends over at Scarffaces?)
As well as picnicking amongst them, frolicking in them as they swam in the air around me like snowflakes and at the end of one particularly blowsy blossomy day, even finding one in my undies… (Cherry blossoms, did we have sex?) I also ate cherry blossoms in every imaginable form. The culinary highlight was the indoor hanami picnic we attended in honour of my lovely friend Misato’s birthday.
We made DIY sushi cones with special cherry blossom vinegar rice
How amazing is this spread Misato and her friends created?
The little blue bowl of “natto” takes pride of place in the centre of the table. Natto is a weird sticky mix of fermented soybeans that smells as good as it tastes… And that is the most diplomatic thing I can say about it. It’s thought of like a Japanese version of vegemite… a very acquired taste.
For dessert, we had amazing homemade champagne and cherry blossom jelly Misato made served with fluffy sakura cake.
Misato also prepared a very special green tea for us, which had an exacting brewing temperature of 60 degrees. It was served with traditional cherry blossom snacks (Variations on sweetened red bean paste, rice and blossom)
Also, some flowers were more conceptual than actual…
Like this weird free fall ride called the Sky Flower at Tokyo Dome City in Suidobashi
Other Tokyo adventures were more fruitcake than floral, more bizarre than blossom-laden…
This photo is taken inside the Instant Noodles History Cube at the Cup Noodle Museum in Yokohama which showcases over 3,000 product packages released over the Cup Noodles 55 year history.
We happily stumbled into an indoor night picnic craft beer festival in a disused shop in Harajuku.
I won the raffle at the craft beer night picnic. As far as I can tell I only won a can of Indian Pale Ale but equally there’s a chance I’m now the owner of a small Japanese micro-brewery gifted to me in some Willy Wonka/Charlie Bucket type exchange.
We went to the afore mentioned Parasite Museum, the only museum of its kind in the world. There was no English translation so as you can probably tell from the above photo we had to use our imaginations.
Next time: We reach cherry blossom Mecca – Kyoto
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