Sightseeing: The Zoo in Ueno Park

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A few weeks ago, Charlottte Tanaka, Mikoto, Goto Hisako and Ryu Imaizumi invited me to go with them to the zoo in Ueno Park.  I hadn’t been to a zoo in years and was really looking forward to it and 4 1/2 -year old Ryu was particularly excited.  We took the JR LIne to this vast park, which is very similar to New York’s Central Park, in scale and for the presence of prominent museums.  Shortly after entering the zoo, we  saw the panda bears and then continued on to see an elephant, bears, a towering giraffe, penguins and a menagerie of variegated wildlife.  A powerful storm quickly moved in forcing us to run for cover and take a monorail through lush, green, treetops in search of an area to wait out the downpour.  The four of us had snacks under a pavilion overlooking a sweeping lake covered in waterlilies. Finally the rain stopped and we were able explore a bit longer until a classical melody played over the speakers indicating closing time.  Similarly, throughout Tokyo, a nursery rhyme is amplified at 5:00 p.m. each day, Tomoko Kawahara said that this is a signal “for all little children to go home because their parents are waiting for them.”  After leaving the zoo, Ryu wanted to see the bullet trains “Shinkansen” and we were able to get passes at the train station to go below and see them arrive and depart.  Ryu was so thrilled to be there with the trains–and so upset when we had to leave.  In all, it was great to spend the day experiencing life’s simple pleasures through the eyes of a child.

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