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Friday, 23 May 2008

The Many Faces at the Hitsujiyama Koen

Hitsujiyama Koen is a very popular park amongst the locals staying in Tokyo and Saitama. Therefore, when the shiba-zakura flowers are in full bloom in early May, everybody flocks to this park to have a closer encounter with nature.


Thanks for bringing me here.


I'm happy to see so many colourful flowers!


How does my photo turn out?


Check out that handsome guy there!


Today is my lucky day!


Mama! I want hug hug!


Papa is not getting me ice-cream!


The Boss.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

The Ultimate Sushi

Why am I talking about sushi again? Well, I haven't been to this place when I put up my previous post on sushi. This is THE place in Japan for sushi if you want to know what the best sushi is all about.

The rule of thumb in finding a good restaurant is to look at the number of seats taken, but that rule does not apply here, because all the seats are always taken. So, I reverted to looking at the number of people queueing to wait for their seats.




This is the legendary Daiwa Sushi (大和寿司) at the Tsukiji Fish Market. There are always more than 50 people queueing to get a taste of the best sushi in Japan.




After about 2 hours of waiting in the queue, I finally got close to the front door. I didn't get the usual Japanese hospitality from the lady who ushered me to my seat. Her face looked like I was owing her ¥1,000,000. When she saw me with my camera, she shouted: "No picture!" With the same long face.




With the popularity of the restaurant among the locals and tourists alike, they don't serve the a la carte during the peak hours. Everybody is obliged to have the set that costs ¥3,500. It was alright for me as I wanted to order the same thing anyway, but the 'ang moh' sitting next to me was so dumbstruck that he unwillingly accepted the offer. Probably he just wanted a taste of the best sushi without having to pay so much.

There was an a la carte menu outside of the restaurant, but they didn't accept any food order except the set order without any notice outside the restaurant. I think the 'ang moh' was not the first person dumbstruck by the 'rule'.

Well, customer service aside, the food was really good. This was the kind of sushi that really had the feeling of 'melt in your mouth'. You should be able to tell the juiciness from the photos.










After I have paid, I took a quick snapshot of the restaurant and run, because I was afraid that the lady would come after me for my camera!


Tuesday, 20 May 2008

The Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space

The Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space is a building where art activities are regularly held, particularly art performances. It is a building with very controversial architecture. Some call it ugly, some just love the bright space it creates.






As an art space, it is also surrounded by sculptures of some local artists.




There is a vast space at the atrium of this building, where shoppers and diners alike, take a rest.






Connecting the atrium to the concert hall is a long escalator ride spanning over three floors which is not for the faint-hearted. It can be as thrilling as a roller coaster ride, especially on the way down.




At the foyer of the concert hall, the vaulted ceiling is filled with paintings done by a local artist.






This building is just a short walk from the Ikebukuro Train Station. There are also cafes and restaurants for the people to savour a lazy afternoon.

Monday, 19 May 2008

The Shiba-zakura Flowers

I have shown the landscape of the Hitsujiyama Koen but I did not include the close-up of the shiba-zakura flowers. I was thinking about having a separate post about them. Since Terri was asking about the flowers and I think most of you are interested in seeing the pictures too, I am making this post earlier than I have planned just to show you how they look like. They look very similar to the sakura flowers.


Someone brought these teddy bears for the outing, so I just took advantage of it.


Each of the flower is about the size of a Malaysian 20 Sen coin.


This is a shiba-zakura in pure white.


The pure white one with some pink staining.


The pinks with white stripes.


The pinks with some red spots.


The red ones.


The pure purple flowers with indigo staining.

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