Flat in Japan

When we arrived in Tokyo, we took the bus into the city. Tokyo is huge. With over 20 million people, the city seems to go forever. Arrion had to work, so Flat and Annette decided to explore the city.

We were staying at the Hotel New Otani in the center of the city. The Imperial Palace East Gardens were nearby, so we decided to walk. The city streets were not well-marked, so we got out our map. We must have looked confused because someone stopped to ask if we needed help. They spoke good English and pointed us in the right direction.

After a few blocks we could see bright green trees, so we knew we were headed the right way. We began seeing people walking and running on the sidewalk.




Koyo Higashi Gyoen - The Imperial Palace East Gardens

The gardens were opened to the public in 1968. A moat surrounds on the Palace area. A moat is like a lake at that surrounds the area. We found a road, passed a few very nice guards, and found the bridge to the entrance. Although it was free, we still had to check in.

Once we got inside the gates, we bought a guidebook in English. We saw lots of tourists and school children on field trips. The children would wave and yell "hello" in English. They guessed that we spoke English. They thought Flat Stanley was funny and wanted to get their picture taken with him.

The children were all very nice. They were shy at first, but they were interested in getting to know us. They learn English in school, but are very hard to understand. We found out that they learn English in school. However, they are better at reading and writing, than speaking in English.

The fish in the ponds were huge. These varicolored carp had long fins and looked very hungry. They swam to greet us on the bridges.

There were many visitors from Europe and North America. One group from New Jersey took Annette's picture.






After lots of walking and exploration, Annette was thirsty. Everywhere you walk, there are vending machines. According to a tour guide, there's one vending machine for every 20 people in the country! They can be found on street corners everywhere. I found a machine that had great lemon cola called C.C. Lemon. The machine also had Pepsi, tea, coffee and lots of other things to drink.

After drinking my C.C. Lemon, I needed to go to the bathroom. I saw a sign with a picture of a person, so I knew I was in the right place. Like China, they have "eastern" toilets in Japan. Rather that sitting, users squat. Check out the photo below.


The plants and animals in the park were all very interesting. We saw a spider with a really big web. The spider was black with a bright red and yellow back. Since our trip was in Autumn we saw a few flowering plants such as the bright yellow Tsuwabuki (Japanese Farfugium).


While in the park, we took lots of pictures. We also spent some time just sitting on the benches and enjoying the scenery. We even got out our sketch book and drew some pictures.

We drew pictures of the bridges, buildings, plants, and sculptures.




Flat Stanley was popular everywhere we went. The two girls on the right really thought he was cute. One of the girls was carrying a Winnie the Pooh notebook.

They were working on a project for class, but took time out to practice their English. They said that on a clear day they can see Mount Fuji from the gardens. They introduced us to their classmates.

After leaving the gardens, we headed to the art museums in the area including the National Museum of Modern Art.

Then, Flat and Annette learned to use the subway to explore the rest of the city.

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Developed by Annette Lamb, 3/03.