Hamarikyu Gardens and Origami Kaikan
In my last post I forgot to mention that I went to Waku Waku Dome (a local swimming pool) with some friends. Then today I visited Hamarikyu Gardens and Origami Kaikan. Unfortunately though, there isn’t much to say about my adventures today.
On a totally random note, my mom sent me a package of Twizzlers not too long ago, so I thought it would be interesting to have several of the Japanese students try them. Let’s just say that none of them were all to thrilled by the Twizzlers, haha.
I was originally supposed to go to the beach last Sunday, but then I learned that you can only go swimming in the ocean during July and August, so it really wasn’t worth going to the beach if we weren’t going to be able to swim. However, I was still in a big mood to go swimming, so instead we went to Waku Waku Dome, which is a public swimming pool not far from my dorm. Since it’s a public pool, you’re required to wear swimming caps which was a little annoying, but I was able to buy a cheap one there at the swimming pool so it wasn’t too bad.
In the changing room they had coin lockers where you could put your clothes. You have to put ￥100 in to lock it, but you get your coin back once you unlock it, so the lockers are technically free. You can’t bring anything other that floaties and inflatable balls into the area and you can’t wear any accessories. I even had to take my earrings out.
Despite some of the more stricter rules, I really enjoyed myself. We started in the swimming lanes, doing a couple laps back and forth. It definitely tired us out pretty fast and exhausted a lot of the energy I had built up. After that we floated along in the whirlpool for a while, but we definitely weren’t taking it easy. No, instead we were chasing, splashing, and trying to sink one another, all of which was made more difficult by the fact that we constantly had younger kids bumping into us. Then we finished off our time there relaxing in the Jacuzzi.
On Wednesday I went to Hamarikyu Onshi Teien. It is pretty big in comparison to other parks that I’ve been too and is a great place if you’re looking to go for a stroll. Many of the dirt paths took you back through the trees. There was also a decent sized pond with a few bridges, but it wasn’t anything spectacular. Maybe it would have looked better in the fall when the leaves change color. Other than that though, there wasn’t much to see. I was actually kind of disappointed by it.
However, I really liked the area around the gardens. I was still in Tokyo, so it obviously still had the big city feel, but it was different than being in Ikebukuro, or Shinjuku, or Shibuya, etc. Sure Ikebukuro and the other big name cities in Tokyo have decent sized buildings, but most of them are maybe 8 or so floors. However, each of those floors usually have a different store or shop, and on the outside of the building are several neon signs and lights advertising those different businesses. Some places like Bic Camera or Pachinko slots even have people out front with microphones advertising or play music. The lights, sounds, and smells can definitely make the city seem very busy. On the contrary, this area around Hamarikyu didn’t have all the neon lights and loud sounds. Instead, this area was full of skyscrapers and other big business buildings. As I walked along the road next to the highway on my way to Hamarikyu, the big buildings towered over me, and it had felt like I was back home in America.
Origami Kaikan was a pretty cool place to visit. They had several displays of different origami creations, and it was often hard to believe that these were made out of paper. On the third floor they have a shop where you can buy different types of origami paper and books on origami. It isn’t big enough that I would make a special trip to the area just to see it, but if you’re in the area and in the mood to be amazed, I suggest checking it out.
Also, as I mentioned above, I recently had several of the Japanese students in my dorm try Twizzlers. I personally love Twizzlers. When I was back in America, I often hung out with many of the Japanese students that had come to my university from Rikkyo. Every now and then we would go to Quaker Steak & Lube, and with your silverware they always give you a Twizzler. Well, over several years of taking Japanese students to Quaker Steak & Lube, I noticed that none of them really liked Twizzlers (which I was super happy about because it meant more for me, haha). So, when my mom sent me a package of Twizzlers, I decided to have several of the Japanese students here in my dorm try them. Suffice to say, I still have yet to meet a Japanese person that actually likes Twizzlers. However, seeing their reactions to eating them was definitely amusing.