Cherry blossoms, Shinjuku Gyoen park, and Mount Takao.


The 2 week period from the end of March to the beginning of April, when the cherry blossoms are blooming, is a very nice time to be in Japan. 🙂 I’ve been on a one week break from my Japanese studies (I passed all my tests and made it to the next level), so together with friends I’ve been going to Shinjuku Gyoen park, and climbing Mount Takao, among other things. If you want to look at cherry blossoms, Shinjuku Gyoen is a very nice park, with lots of nature and nice scenery, and I can recommend it. By comparison I would recommend staying away from Ueno Park, as it’s nowhere near as nice a place, is mostly concrete, is much smaller, and more importantly, when you get there you will most likely be in for a shock as to the sheer amount of people that are there. At its most hectic, it feels like you can barely move around in the main street with the cherry blossoms. :-/

Mount Takao is a mere 1,5 hour train ride from Tokyo (that’s from Shinjuku). It’s only 599 meters tall, and has lots of nice scenery. It’s popular with hikers, but there aren’t too many people or anything. You can see Mount Fuji from the top as well (granted you can see Mount Fuji from a lot of places in Japan. It’s a gigantic mountain, so it can be seen from extremely far away). I highly recommend it. 🙂


Tokyo’s Vending Machines

One of my favourite fun and convenient aspects of living in Tokyo are the vending machines selling various drinks, which are EVERYWHERE! Seriously, you can walk down the street and see one, two, or sometimes even three of them next to each other, and then you only walk for a little longer, and hey, you find two more, on another street corner. I can’t even imagine the work that goes into refilling them all, or how many people are working on that, because Tokyo is a very big place, with very many people, and those vendig machines are quite popular…

Anyway, what makes these vending machines so great apart from how abundant they are, are that the prices for drinks are generally (for me anyway) very very cheap, and that the selection of drinks is great. The selection of drinks on offer in each vendig machine varies a lot, and if you combine them all, there are very many different types of drinks, most of which I have not tried before of course, which makes finding new vending machines, and trying out new drinks, quite fun. The prices can vary quite a bit too, not just between individual drinks, but between all the vending machines as well, with prices generally being between 100 and 160 yen for each drink. If you’re lucky, you can even find a few rare vending machines that have these special sale prices, clearly advertised on the front of the machine itself, and they can have prices as low as 80 yen for a drink, which is…honestly, that’s almost like giving it away for free, seriously. All of this can make hunting down different vending machines, to try different drinks, and to find the cheapest ones, quite fun, and also very addictive, and you might end up using them a lot. You’ll love your 100-yen coins. I generally buy at least one drink every day, since I walk a lot, and because the HOT drinks are amazing in the morning when it’s cold. 😛 That’s right, there are hot drinks as well, just to make things even better. Hot chocolate, coffee etc. The hot drinks are all marked in red on the vending machines, so you will know.

The red vending machine in the first picture is right below the staircase up to my apartment, right next to the garbage disposal bins of the building I live in. I kid you not. I don’t really use it though. It’s mostly just coffee and water. The black one is an example of a different, normal vending machine with a much better selection, and more variety. Then there’s the special pink one that I found, which has drinks as cheap as 80 yen, and with the rest (except two types, which are 120 yen each) all being just 100 yen. I wish that one was closer to where I usually walk…

Anyway, the point is, the vending machines in Tokyo? Totally awesome! 😀


Square Enix Office Building

So, while I was walking towards school in Tokyo, I happened to stumble upon the Square Enix office building. I didn’t even know it was in the area, so that was an interesting surprise. It’s in Shinjuku, in case anyone’s wondering. It’s a HUGE building, and it has an architectural design that is quite recognizable, so it’s kind of hard to miss. Then you spot the sign and the logo on the building of course, and you’ll know for sure.