01 December 2016

Walking on Gold

Autumn is still around the corner for some areas in Tokyo. Especially the Bunkyo Ward, where the main campus of The University of Tokyo (Todai) is located. November 29th was the very peak of autumn here where the ginkgo leaves had turned completely yellow, oh so pretty. I felt so lucky to treasure this moment with my Taiwanese best friend, Maru-chan. It was Maru-chan as well who had the idea to enjoy the remaining days of autumn here. Thanks, Maruti! <3


Honestly, I was so damn skeptical about Maru-chan's idea to spend the evening here. I totally doubted that we would have so much fun. I mean, Maru-chan and I had snapped ginkgo trees and ourselves under the trees way so many times before. We had enjoyed autumn to the most before. We had been so high about autumn before. So how can we get any higher than this after all? Will it be as fun if we repeat the same thing again and again? I thought I had lost my excitement. I thought I got bored already.  

But then I was totally wrong.

A breathtaking ginkgo-lined avenue as seen from the Seimon (main gate) leading to the Yasuda Auditorium


I enjoyed it so much.

Anyway, this year is my second time experiencing autumn in Japan. The first one was three years ago (2013), and I was still an undergraduate student back then. I can still clearly remember how amazed I was, for the first time in my life witnessing the beautiful autumn hues painted all over the city . 

Out of so many beautiful autumnal trees, Ginkgo is probably my most favorite one. Simply because its leaves are so bright in color. If maple gives an elegant and dramatic effect with its orange and crimson finger leaves, ginkgo gives a playful and cheerful effect with its super bright yellow fan-shaped leaves. 

Also, another reason is that, walking on the street carpeted by scattered ginkgo leaves gives me that surreal thrill. As if I'm walking on scattered gold foils. You know, walking never gets any fancier than this if it's not during autumn! 


Just when I thought I've had enough of all these autumn vibes, I suddenly realized that one can never be fully satisfied with what this season has to show off. I craved more, I stared longer than before, I stopped way too often just to ask Maru-chan to take pictures of me under the ginkgos. I got trapped in this yellow world and not even wanting to get out.

Truth be told, all the ginkgos look the same when they are seen from afar. But, once you get closer, stand below for a minute or two, look up and down observing your surroundings, you will notice that every tree gives different shades, and of course amount of leaves scattered around. Surely another factor that leads me to commit shutter button exploitation. 

My cute Maruti

What a fun evening. It's never a dull day whenever I have Maru-chan with me. And I'm so glad that we could enjoy autumn in yet different ambiance than before. It feels so dramatic to have Todai's picturesque Gothic architecture as  our background. 

Since the university is open for public, many people come here to enjoy the view, taking photograph or just casually taking their dogs out for a walk. Indeed a pleasing scene to see.

Hachiko and Dr. Ueno! Their story never fails to get me bursting in tears :')

Yasuda Auditorium, one of Todai's representative buildings that you can easily spot on Todai's related posters, books, and whatnot. From what I read somewhere online, this auditorium was designed after the gate tower of Cambridge University.

As the day got darker, Maru-chan and I chose to sit at the bench near the Yasuda Auditorium, munching to our snacks and having a chit-chat. Not long before we decided to leave Todai to have dinner at Shinjuku Gyoen. We opted for a warm halal chicken ramen since it was so chilly that day. We were in urgent need of something to warm our bodies up. 

The temperature gets colder and colder day by day. And apparently, I'm not at my fittest condition right now. I always could handle chilly weather very well before. But now, seems like my body isn't ready yet. I got completely beaten by the weather. I don't know what makes me so weak like this, but at least I've taken a medication and now struggling to be the best nurse for myself.

I'm writing this post with a slight fever just because it feels awkward to do nothing while the day is still bright. I skipped today's classes aiming to take a good rest. But I just can't help not doing anything, so I wrote this post! Haha, there are always two sides to every story, right? I'm ill and can't attend today's classes, but I still can be productive with my blog! :)

Well, see you guys anytime soon on the next post. I strolled to some cool places this time around and took so many pictures. I can't wait to share! Meanwhile, please enjoy this post and promise I'll be right back with a super fit condition <3 *fingercrossed*

xx,

Shabrina

p.s.:
Here are two other posts related to autumn in Japan. All of them are located in Tokyo! ;)
1. Showa Memorial Park

2. Rikugien

Hope they can be your references for your next travelling to Japan!:)

14 November 2016

Blustery Afternoon at Kokyo Gaien National Gardens

November 9th

Looked up to the crystal clear blue sky.
Bathed in bright sunlight.
Walked hand in hand with Maruti.
Conversed about our friend's belly dance performance,
next travel destinations,
leave shape, 
and all little things that mattered.
We giggled, and shivered, and giggled again.
Embracing all the things that we could do together,
while we still had the time.

We then put our hoodie on, 
as it was blowing a gale at Kokyo Gaien.


Kokyo Gaien means "the outer garden of the Imperial Palace". Well, basically not so many things you can do here. Except laying down on the lawn, having a picnic with your loved ones (do not litter <3), inhaling as much clean air as you can, looking at fellow park visitors that mostly foreigners, getting awed by the vivid autumn blue sky (only if you come in this very season), and.... other sorts of laid-back, hustle-free outdoor activities that you can invent by yourself. Umm wait... this sounds many then? :D

Oh, did I forget to mention yoga? yeah, this place might be a perfect place to exercise yoga and having some zen moment with your cliques. This one is definitely my future goal once I'm back here again with my yoga mat. 
Anyone wanna join? :)


Fact: Kokyo Gaien National Gardens are extremely vast on scale! They cover an area of approx. 115 ha. So the places that you see in this post belong to only a very small piece from that hundreds hectares.

On the official name it is written as gardens, why plural? Well it's because this place is actually consisting of three major sections of gardens. In which I forgot which section I've been to the last time.

And, to a historical note, these gardens were first opened to public in 1949 and became national gardens ever since. Prior to this year, they were part of the Imperial Palace grounds. 


This huge stone foundation is actually the remnant of a construction destroyed by great fire. Unfortunately, there was no picture showing the original condition of the construction before the disaster hit. I am pretty curious to see how grand and imposing the construction looked like back then, as it was supported by such a huge foundation like this.

All the remnants here, including the foundation above, moats, gates and stone walls are the remaining relics of the Edo Castle, known as the largest castle ever built in Japan. To whom that still don't know yet, Edo is the former name of Tokyo :) 


If you're keen about history, historical architecture, Japanese gardens and such, probably this place deserves a visit! Or maybe, you still have one day left on your itinerary but still left undecided about where to go and you don't want to end up in shopping splurge, you can totally consider this place! As the admission is FREE! 

To reach Kokyo Gaien, you can get off at Otemachi Station and get out from C10 exit. From here, you'll only need to cross the street and voila, it's Kokyo Gaien right in front of you. So easy, right!

Well, I guess it's enough for this time. 
I'll see you guys on the next post. 
Meanwhile, eat good food, walk a lot, and don't forget to snap pictures along the way!

xx,


Shabrina

p.s: I got accepted in a graduate school and will officially start studying as Masters student on April 2017. Before life gets too serious, all I wanna do now is to go places, have fun as much as possible, and... in between those, studying hard to prepare the Masters dayssss. Good luck to me, good luck to you too! <3

01 November 2016

Thank God It's Fall // A Visit to Massive Kochia Field in Ibaraki

Rather than a visit, it actually feels more like a pilgrimage to me. No exaggeration, I do have a serious obsession with Kochia, one of God's most pleasing masterpiece on earth. Green kochias are very refreshing to see. But the crimson ones are just out of this world. Think I can proclaim them as my spirit plant, my totem.


Bottom: Buckwheat, middle: Cosmos, top: Kochia



They're totally worth my 3-hours train ride. Yeah, that was all it takes from Tama Station, Tokyo to reach the majestic Hitachi Seaside Park in Ibaraki Prefecture. I know it was a long, long journey but it has always been a seasonal tradition for me to be in train for hours, getting out of Tokyo to enjoy flowers. To purify my sights.

And yeah, flower otaku does exist everybody. And Japan has been facilitating us flower otakus with numerous wonderful destinations, spreading all over the country. Making flower enjoying activity to a whole next level of seriousness. And the term "Hana Meguri", or I'd rather translate it as "flower pilgrimage", does exist in Japanese. Equipped with flower calendars to keep us updated about the kinds of varieties to enjoy every month.

So happy :)

Hey, meet my new friend, Marie-chan!



Apparently it wasn't only kochias that showed up at the party. This vast bed of pink cosmos were flirting with us too, by dancing nonstop to the wind. So cute, I know <3 
We were so lucky because all the beautiful flowers were in perfect bloom at the same time. Totally can't get enough of this view. This view reminds me to that famous quote about flower by Zen Shin, 
"A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms." 
Totally correct.

Oh, and just in case you're wondering about how the green kochias look like,
here it is,
Location: Oishi Park, Kawaguchi Lake, Yamanashi Prefecture.

This picture of green kochia was shot on Summer, exactly on mid July when I went to enjoy the lavender season in Yamanashi. How time flies! Now I just realized that I haven't shared anything on the blog about my lavender story. I will, I will! 


After all, I'm very grateful to be able to witness this natural splendour. Every trip was indeed a treat for the soul. And I'm so looking forward to the next hana meguri. Well, haven't really planned yet on what kind of flower I'm going to see next. Moreover, when it comes to Fall/Winter, the varieties become very limited.

But, one thing for sure I can't wait to enjoy the soon coming autumn foliage and will of course, share everything on the blog! The earliest one is gonna be this weekend, as I'm going to have an excursion to Mt. Takao with my Japanese friends who are majoring in Indonesian. And the second autumn trip is going to be a bit far, as I'm flying to southern part of Japan for the first time! Woohoo... Can't be more excited :)

Well, see ya on the next post guys!
It's the first day of the month again, hope you had a great time today.

xx,

Shabrina.

26 October 2016

Once isn't enough. I'll be right back, India!

Exactly a month ago today, I was bubbling with all sorts of excitement that I couldn't even explain concretely. I wasn't able to sleep. I wanted morning to come faster. I giggled every time I looked at my packed suitcase and backpack.

But, side to side with the excitement, anxiety hit me hard at times. "Don't be too friendly. Never accept anything from stranger. Know when to cut unnecessary conversation. Don't go out without a clear destination. Don't bla, and don't bla, and don't bla bla bla." I set some rules for myself to obey with a help of some tips from Naomi, my Japanese friend who majors in Hindi.

Yep, India. You have no idea how flustered I was on the day before I started my journey towards you. This time, I literally traveled solo for the first time in my life. Yeah, I always have my friends or at least, one companion with me on every trip that I've been to. So that's why I felt challenged in a way that I couldn't even describe.

But the strange thing is that, mom was very very calm! Throughout our chats and phone calls, I didn't find any nervousness nor fear from her voice tone, as well as in her chat atmosphere. I mean, normally I could easily find out how she felt about me by examining several paralinguistic aspects that appear within our communication. But this time, I found zero. How unbelievable! Haha.

But this is a super good thing, when your mom believes that you can handle everything by yourself. This gives you an undeniably enormous amount of energy. So that the energy that you usually use to convince her that you'll be doing okay, can be allocated 100% to convince yourself that you'll just be (SUPER) fine.

So, after spending 5 hours laying in bed, here came the day that I had prepared everything since May. 5:20 am, I looked at every corner in my cozy room and told them, "I'll be back in a week." I pulled my suitcase, got out of my room and pressed the lock button.

"I'm coming to you, India!" :)


Sikh temple

  
Hindhu temple

Indians are so lovely




Those are some snaps that I managed to take on my second day, during a morning walk at a village in Chandigarh. Except that the first photo was taken on the sky, when I was sitting in Air India waiting eagerly for what kind of food I'd get for lunch. 

7 days, tons of memories, stories and encounters. Everything was beautifully surprising for me. You know, it's so hard for me to decide from where to start writing about my India journey. Even though right now, I'm dying to share every single thing  and detail. At least, while all the memories are still fresh in mind. Well, if I can't do it now, let's consider this post as a sneak peek then! I'll try to come up with a better story arrangement on the next post. Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy the photos!

Anyways, it's 00:07 in Tokyo. Gotta sleep asap, as I've made a deal with myself to sleep at no later than 1 am, lol. 

Will be right back on the next post, as soon as possible!
Good night from this side of universe :)

xx,


Shabrina.