Ueno park and museums

Running a little behind on blogging and typing up these notes. Currently in Vietnam, still compiling for Japan.

Following excursion to akihabara,  I wandered into Ueno park a lost by chance.  Saw an interesting alley, and took it. It was the clear sky that pulled me in, a rare sight in a busy metropolis, but it was the park that kept me there.

Google maps showed Ueno as a blue pond surrounded by green space. The pond is there but during the summertime you can’t see any of the blue. It’s a football field sized pond completely filed with lily pads. Maybe they are actually lotus. Enormous ones, that reach higher than the chest high fence surrounding the park. At the center of the pond there’s a small red pagoda with some stone tablets and statues of bodhisattvas, in the distance the ceiling reaches upwards and boxes in the park like high walls.  some people have condos overlooking this place.

I toured it’s contours and made my way to the shrine at the centre, the sun temporarily showed it’s face before ducking back out and letting the rain come back to play. it’s a soft patterning no more. I find a rock and eat my lunch watching the giant leaves no purple flowers of the lily pads sway in the wind.

Further on, there’s a path back to the pedestrian streets which surround the pond and a stone stairwell lead in up to a plateau where the museums lurk. I take the stairs and follow the paths through the qoods, crossing more temples, small shrines ND other staples of a city like baseball diamknds, shops and little cafes tucked under trees a stones throw from the wide open cobblestone expanse that leads up to thenational museum.

There’s a large flat fountain there. water jets gush up as I pass. I buy a ticket to the musuem, and enjoy. student discount, thankful I brought my concord ID with me.

I’ve noticed it’s not just at the museums but everywhere outside of buoldings. Umbrella racks.  Lots of them. Rain is so common and carrying an umbrella is such a staple, a routine of daily life in this city that thy keep racks at the entrance to any building more important than a 711.

The sun is waiting and my feet are aching for. the walking. UT I give myself time to go and visit two collectiona, each one housed in a building of its own.

The first was the Asian collection. A series of dimly lit rooms across five floors encasing items of national and cultural worth, from both within Japan and without. There are old sculptures here, carvings of gods and Buddha’s made from sandston. Yellow lights shine down of them, giving their shdows something close to halos against the walls behind.

curiously, most of the items in this collection are not from Japan. I see items from China, Bali, Korea,  even India. Mostly Buddhist stuff, but also a good deal of Hindu art, notably Garudas, from Khmer Era Cambodia and Indonesia pre-Islam. Basically lots of old stuff.

Old stuff. What a way to talk about museum collections. This one had the usual assortment of old pots, pans and axe heads that’s we’ve seen a dozen times before in a dozen museums elsewhere. Fortunately in the building next door is where they kept the Japanese historical stuff. 

Rows and rows of Katanas blades, preserved over the centuries. Their hits have rotten or turned to dust the blades look hardly a day old.  There were tapestries, paintings telling stories and depicting scenes of Japanese guys doing insanely manly and reckless things like knife fighting, drinking kegs of sake and shooting arrows at all kinds of shit from horseback while crowds applaud. They also had several very cool sets of samurai armour.

I could spend longer visiting the other three pavilions but my feed are killing me. I head back to the hostel for some rest.