When we went to Tokyo last weekend, the trains were still a bit disrupted, so instead of landing in Shinjuku or Ikebukuro as usual, our final stop was Ueno. This was a happy occasion, because we haven’t gotten much chance to go to Ueno recently, and it holds a special place in my heart.
My first apartment when I moved to Japan a few years ago was in Uguisudani, which is just on the north side of Ueno park. I was crafty and extended my commuter pass to Ueno Station (at no extra cost!) and would often get off the train there after work and get dinner before walking home.
Apparently a common exercise technique here is to get off the train a stop early (or late) and walk home, and it seemed like a nice idea–though my extra stop often involved a cream puff from the Choux Factory, so I’m not sure how effective it was exercise-wise 🙂
While I was living there, there were no Pandas at the Zoo, though many locals (and souvenir stands) remembered the previous black and white inhabitants fondly. As you’ve probably heard, Ueno recently received two new Pandas on loan from China, and the neighborhood has erupted in a frenzy of Panda fever!
There are Panda decorations everywhere, and souvenirs in every shop window. The zoo wasn’t even open the day we went, so we had no chance to see the famous furballs, but maybe at some point. And in the mean time, we’ll just snack on these crazy tasty Panda Croissants I found in the station. Dipped in white and dark chocolate with the cutest decorations to have ever possibly graced a croissant. Adorable and delicious!
What do you think about pandas? Super adorable, or overrated? Are they China’s best export, or is their “borrow a panda” plan a bit of a scam? What do you think?
This is my entry in this week’s Show Me Japan. Check it out!