Boat Ride In Blossomy Tokyo

It was an almost unplanned sudden trip. Saturday when we invited our work friends for dinner at our house. We do it often as we are all on a tight budget and it would be practical to share meal expenses. While we were eating we talked over so many things until we came up to the idea of hanami which is Japan’s far-famed “sakura”~ cherry blossoms viewing. And then before we knew it we were all consumed at the thought.

The irresistible charm of sakura.

Sunday next morning, it was a bright sunny lovely day as if apropos for such an event. We left the house at exactly 7am as we are catching the 7:21 train via keiyo line going to Tokyo. Nearest station by the way is 13-15minutes walk from our accommodation. Upon us all arriving at the station we boarded the train using our suica card and alight to shin kiba station. We then proceed to changing trains via yurakucho line going to kojimachi station. We got there at 8:15 and carried on for a 20minute walk as we reached the pier for the boat ride.

Flushed with fervour just like me people can’t help but photographed the scene.
The kind of vista that makes you forget about the long queue.

The long queue is no joke. Good thing there were six of us that we never ran out of topics to hash out. And of course internet had been a big help in killing our boredom which I supposed all of us can relate to. Also we had an ample time appreciating the scenery and taking photos of the river and the cherry blossoms around the area.

Viewing deck at the boat house.
Almost getting there. Managed to snap this photo while on the line right down to the dock.

When it was our turn purchasing tickets for rental fee, we settled for the 30minutes option which costs ¥800 per boat. The other option costing ¥1600 was one hour. Each boat can accommodate strictly only up to maximum of three persons. Wearing life jackets are not compulsory but are available upon request.

Surreal as a dream.
Oblivious.

The weather had been perfect and the sailing went smooth and suave. The combination of the picturesque panorama naturally painted in pink by cherry blossom trees, the still clean waters and the clear blue skies soothing the inner senses is definitely not for one to miss out.

It was a fine blissful day.

Indeed the pleasure sakura brings for this certain season is incomparable. Lasting only for a week or so, making it more too precious, no one can just skip this once-a-year phenomenon if you are around the area. And I couldn’t think of any other better way of celebrating it than riding a boat in Chidorigafuchi moat. It is my third time here in Tokyo during springtime so I know at least some sorts. I was only skeptical back then due to waiting time. I now have proven its worth and that the only regret was not doing it for an hour instead of half.

Boathouse exit area.

Starving after cruising, we were off to find a good place to eat our packed lunch. Like I said we are all on a mission to save up so we brought food with us. And hey it has also been a tradition to have a picnic and drink under a sakura tree during this very same period so it is just well-timed to do so. Luckily we stumbled on the picnic grounds not far enough from the pier. It was crowded and full but still a delight to witness families eating together and hearing kids’ laughter. I smiled at the thought until we finally discovered a vacant space for us to dig in. We fed ourselves and finished with not just our stomachs full but our hearts, minds and whole of our beings as well.

Splendid.

Considered myself lucky as I am heading off to my next hanami this coming weekend in my favorite park because Tokyo and Chiba has a one week full bloom interval. I’m so worked up now!

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A Walk Through Chiba

Yesterday my migraine was triggered by me doing all the chores in the house ensued to skipping my lunch meal. Therefore, I thought I’d just stay and rest today since it’s holiday in observance of Japan’s National Foundation day. Yet again, I got too bored doing nothing so I took a midday stroll. I never had an idea where but I knew I had to get going. I imagined a long trip wouldn’t be practical as I only have half of the day left so I settled to somewhere near. Not be long after googling, I learned that there are many interesting things to do and explore in Chiba.

I have been wanting to visit Chiba castle a.k.a. Chiba City Folk Museum as I’m always fascinated by exhibits showcasing history and rich culture. Though it’s Monday (mostly museums are close), with no hesitation I went forward to see it. From Soga station, I rode the train and get right off to next stop which is Hon-Chiba. From there, I walked and took turns for about 13-15mins to reached my destination. I’m aware that I might not be able to come inside but I believe I have more chances of taking better photos if there’s not much of people around.

True enough I was the one and only person when I got there apart from those who were passers by.

After a decent number of snaps, satisfied with each of them, not far from the castle I found an eyeshot of a restaurant. Delighted with the scenery, I stopped there for awhile not to eat but to appreciate the vista.

The trellis covering the walkway caught my attention that I had to take photo of it.

“It isn’t too bad to have the whole place by yourself was it?”, I dared say and then walked off with a grin.

Few minutes later jaunting by foot, I arrived at Chiba Shrine.

Unlike any other shrines and temples I travelled to (Meiji Jingu, Asakusa and Narita) this one is slightly less spacious. Thus, every corner has this strong sense of peace and solemnity. The spot is very quiet and people go there to truly worship.

Not what I expected but there are only few tourists like me who were there to check it.
Torii~ normally a gateway to shinto shrine. This one is just a replica and situated before a bridge.
I managed to perambulate the whole place in less than half an hour including taking of photos.

It may not be as vast as any other tourist attractions, Chiba Shrine is worth the call especially when you want to contemplate or just to observe how Japanese worship (traditionally). The whole unplanned trip only took less than three hours, still it has made my day. I was ecstatic taking advantage of the holiday and exploring the neighborhood.

Last of 2017, First of 2018

Last night I spent the final hour of 2017 cleaning up a small area in the house designated only for myself. It’s a spot with no one else’s belongings but myself. I also consider it as my workplace, either doing a hobby (writing a blog or simply listening to depends-on-my-mood kind of music) or freelancing. This is clearly my favorite place of all places in the world (apart from my bed of course).

As I go on cleaning, every stuff has memory worth reminiscing. Below are some of them:

This snow globe was my Christmas gift few years back for my friends at work. Unknowingly bought one excess which I kept for myself.

I brought this kimmidoll collectible home from my first job assignment in Japan. I actually took home two, only that I have given the red one to a former workmate.

This “One Piece” key chain was a souvenir gift from an officemate assigned from his first business trip in Japan.

This small pen was another give-away for workmates. It came from my first travel in Singapore which I had to buy one for myself too.

This key chain is a present from a good friend and colleuge who is base in Dubai now.

This is a pocket mirror from one of client’s bosses. This is actually called “CHOKIN” in Japan, meaning a traditional art of metal decoration.

A must have when visiting tokyo tower. It’s exhilarating that you can personally carved your name or whatever you want on it. The coin cost ¥400, the chain is ¥200 and then pay ¥50 for your name or initials or personal note.

This keychain I took home from my recent trip in Hong kong holds a special part in my heart. A young deaf and mute Chinese man who happens to support his studies by selling keychains offered me this. Being bought for a cause is what makes its worth.

Emotions ran by as I go through each valuables. Yes I call them valuables as for me they are priceless. Somehow a portion of me is made out of them.

Funny how I realized I don’t want to let go of 2017 just yet. It’s difficult when you are actually still holding on to something from behind. Though the unstoppable 2018 still has arrived and we are on its first day now. Perhaps that’s how it is, no matter how you persist on things to stay the way they are you still has to move on. We shall face the reality of how changes happen and blend in. Choices are to hang on to memories or let go and hope to make notable better ones.

It is however entirely different when it comes to attachment to people. People who has an involvement to you and you have invested into. It is way harder (for me).

So, my last of 2017 was being emotional and my first of 2018 is blogging about it. I feel like (while writing this) I’m actually putting too much pressure or giving myself an ultimatum to decide of which choice shall I precautionaly choose.

Nostalgia

Typical Filipino Christmas. We are known to have the longest Christmas celebration in the world which normally starts with “BER” months. As early as September the season’s spirit is already felt throughout the entire country. You’ll hear carols playlists on the radio. Some rushing to retail stores doing early gift shopping. Houses are decorated with lanterns and lights. Families put up their Christmas trees inside their homes together.

It wasn’t far different in our family. Only that we start decorating late as December. And when I say “we” it just pertains to my mama mostly. When she replaces the curtains into vibrant colored ones, we knew it’s that time of the year again. My papa would hang a lantern and overlay it with colourful Christmas lights outside our house. And that was just it. And then we would go to church together for our “Misa De Gallo” yearly tradition.

We never really had a Christmas tree back then. Let alone ate a Noche Buena. We don’t stay up late and wait for 12 midnight to fancy eat. My brother and I never did. Our parents would usually tell us to sleep early so the next day when we wake up it’s Christmas already and we will open the gift if there is. Gift in our own understanding that time would actually mean candies (mainly) and a little of chocolates. This wasn’t much. Still we are grateful. We sleep under a roof and we have food on our plates. This was Yuletide for us.

I guess when you aged, you can’t keep yourself from being nostalgic. These realizations came in yesterday when I went to the mall to get myself something for Christmas. Though I ended up buying for someone(s) else instead. I understood I have all year round to gift myself so I thought let this season be for others. Glad I have completed buying stuffs for everyone on my list.

Christmas Wishlist

One trademark of the fast approaching holiday season is when the vibe starts very Christmassy everywhere. As for mall decorations, hearing songs of carols, exchanging gifts, parties and reunions all over and of course the food in each of these festivities or just the beatific aura of generosity amongst each other. But above all these, we can never forget giving treats and presents for the kids coz you know what they say, “Christmas is for children.”
On the other hand, us young adults, how do we want this time of the year for us? Facts of life. In unification, let’s admit that we too have our outlook for this season. Oh and wishlist? Giving out mine below.

  1. Random call from someone least expected
  2. Overnight chitchat and chick flicks with girlfriend(s) from high school
  3. Road trip and long drive (with a workmate or just anyone with a car haha)
  4. Karaoke til dawn with college friends (now colleagues)
  5. Photowalk and learn more about snapping
  6. Fuddle all night with my cousins
  7. Find and meet new friends
  8. Share something for less fortunate kids
  9. Shop for myself
  10. Pen more blogs
  11. Make peace with anyone I have hurt or offended
  12. Attend a reunion
  13. Food haunting with my brother
  14. Beach vacation with my family

    Sounds strange and weird? I know. That’s who I am. My list actually goes on like flying out for an unplanned travel or date someone perhaps? Only if it ain’t too much to ask. Well it’s never too early nor too late for your own list!