There is a “create your own bento box” location near our hotel. (A bento box is a traditional portable meal that consists of rice, fish or meat, and pickled or cooked vegetables.) Granted, we are only 90% sure that is truly what it is… But it has a buffet looking bar with options and boxes to fill. Seems like a bento box store… So we walk in. The selection was plentiful. The food was confusing!! I honestly couldn’t guess half the ingredients in some of the things. We avoid that selection and proceed to pre-made boxes. We both select the fried chicken and rice. There is also a little omelet and teriyaki slaw. It was good, but not too adventurous. After grabbing coffee and pastries at the ChoCoCro, we are off to Ueno and the Ueno Zoo and Ueno Park. We arrive and discover what seems to be the holding place of Tokyo’s homeless. I once described the Imperial Gardens as the Tokyo Central Park. I failed to notice that it was gated and bum-free. Ueno Park was the realistic Central Park. We search for a park bench that wasn’t being used as a bed to enjoy our bento box lunches, and we searched. We finally found one overlooking the pond. We grabbed drinks at a vending machine. I selected Coke Zero (Diet Coke doesn’t exist here!!!) and a surprise coke fell out! Score!! Free bonus coke…or so we thought. After inspection (almost 3 minute), we notice it wasn’t a coke, rather it was a prize that was stored in a coke can… So I won something- even better! It was sound booster you can hook up to an IPod or IPhone.
So we find our bench which unfortunately was in the sun, thus why it was vacant. It was hot outside, and I mean HOT!! So we eat quickly, and watch the swan boats in the pond. Of course we have to do one. We got a lovely white swan and paddled around the pond and took some great pictures of the city.
After the swan boat, we were off to the Ueno Zoo to see the pandas. Unfortunately, they were sleeping, but still cool to see. The zoo was very good and English friendly. They had lots of animals there including giraffes, gorillas, jackass penguins, pigmy hippos, elephants, turkeys, and squirrels….yes squirrels. It was at the zoo where we ordered our first Japanese food entirely while speaking Japanese. We both got kaki-gori. It’s Japanese shaved ice. They sell it in EPCOT which is why would could order it, but that’s completely irrelevant….
After Ueno we were off for a quick visit to Akihabara before the Giants baseball game. Akihabara is known as the electric city and it certainly lived up to it’s name. There were buildings filled with arcade games and “claw” vending machines. There were stores selling any and every type of electronic device you could imagine- TVs, DVD players, computers, light bulbs, washing machines, fans, irons, everything! We were blown away with what we did see and can’t imagine all the things we didn’t find. They have a video game here that is controlled by a deck of playing cards. They’re placed on a board. When you move the card on the board, it moves on the screen and in the game. Jeandy played a game where you flipped a table. There was a table that you shook then flipped. He was a bride-villa who flipped the table and wedding cake after some Japanese story line happened. I like to think she found out her fiancé was cheating on her. She was angry! One of the prizes was a Teddy bear named Gloomy: the naughty grizzly. He had blood on his claws and blood pouring out of his mouth…. Whaaaa? This place is so weird so Japanese and we love it!!!
After we were done with Akihabara, we were off to another amazing experience: Japanese Baseball!! Yomuri Giants!! This experience is truly deserving of it’s own blog.