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Places I’ve Never Been

November 27, 2009

My Thursdays are an open void ’till half six – my late night art workshop – and it is my favourite day of the working week. There’s something nice about not having too much idle time, but also having a class to look fowardto. Right now my brain is grating against the stereotypical rote way of learning – and teaching in Japan. The rooms feel sterile, even when half filled with people; certain classes consist entirely of being talked at directly from a textbook. This is every other weekday, but not Thursday.

So yesterday I decided to try going places I hadn’t been to yet: there’s a whole half of the Yamanote line unventured!

I started my adventure at Takadanobaba, where Keio’s rival university – Waseda – is located. From what I gather, future buisnessmen and Japanese wanting to be employed within the financial sphere go to Keio;  and future creative industry workers head off to Waseda.

Takadanobaba is part of 西新宿 (West Shinjuku).

I was too chicken to actually peruse the campus, though the area around Waseda was scattered with small, yummy eateries.

Not much in the mood for food (especially feeling slightly truant; crossing enemy lines) I was starting to head off back to the station when I managed to catch a bus to Ueno Park!

The journey was nigh on an hour, but there was something blissful about just sitting, watching as the sun sank, the world rolling by. I looked out of the windows the whole time – passing more places that were totally unfamiliar to me. There was Hongo San-Chome, and Chuo Dori (street names) that I remember paticularly for being vibrant, fun, new.

Only a quick jaunt through the park: it isn’t like back home where there’s greenery to sit on, just benches on concrete (mostly occupied by severely scruffy hobos or slightly less scruffy suits). This was the view looking back, as I made my way to Ueno Station, where I planned to make my way to Roppongi for our art class’ trip to 2121 Design Sight near Roppongi Midtown.

At Ueno Station I bought a small mameshiba cuddly toy (Oops! More on that later..) and hopped on the Hibiya subway line straight to Roppongi. With time to spare – arriving early is not my forte – I had another wee wander…

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