After a day of sightseeing in the city, my last stop was Ueno Park. Since I’m traveling with the JR Rail Pass, it’s so easy to make split-second decisions to get on or off a train. I saw the sign and hopped off to explore the park. It’s as easy as that.
Well, it turns out that I was a little late getting to Ueno Park. Many of the vendors and attractions (zoo, museums, cultural hall, science center) were closed or closing. All I could do was take a stroll through the park as the darkness of the evening rolled in.
As parks go, I guess Ueno is pretty nice. There’s a lot of trees and shrubs that create an oasis within the city. There is a great selection of paths for walking or biking through the wooded areas. Interesting statues and monuments crop up every once in a while. Too bad everything is in Japanese so it’s hard to figure out who or what these things.
Because it seemed like more people were leaving the park than staying, I figured it was a good time to head home. Before going back to Ueno station, however, I sat for a little people watching. It tickles me pink that no matter what time of day it is, you can still find people hurrying around. There are always Japanese school girls in their uniforms and dozens of bicycles lined up along buildings. I don’t even think they lock their bikes as I haven’t seen a chain and lock anywhere.
Even though it’s so different here, and people are decidedly friendly for a city as large as this, I’m enjoying this time alone. Being able to blend in and feel anonymous is simply wonderful. People generally assume I’m a native and don’t bother staring or starting up conversations to practice their English with me. I’m able to just observe my surroundings and take things in at my pace. It’s nice being the same and different all at once.