I love writing letters to my self. Sometimes I address it to my future Armie, sometimes to the younger self. I have a different platform solely for these love letters, however, for my second of three series about my Tokyo sojourn, I decided to write a letter to my 11-year-old self. I want to be the one to tell her “we are living our dream!” and I want to thank her, too, for her young heart’s amazing happy dreams.
Dear 11-year-old Sheila,
I woke up early on my second day in Tokyo. I could hear the crows you only used to hear in your favorite anime. I stayed in a hotel nearby Ueno Park so I decided to log some miles and sweat out. I didn’t expect Spring to be cold, so I kind of brought the wrong running ensemble. Still, I managed a 3KM run for love and life.
I’ve always dreamed to see cherry blossoms or sakura in real life. When I arrived in Japan, the hanami was over, but I was blessed enough to see some of the remaining blooms in Ueno. I couldn’t believe my eyes at first. It felt surreal back then.
Of temples, shrines, and museums around Ueno Park
After taking my breakfast, I headed back to Ueno Park. I remember you wanted to go to the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, so it was the first place I visited. Photography isn’t allowed inside so our selfies were limited. Haha. On the day I visited, I was also lucky enough to be part of the 55th Japan Contemporary Arts and Crafts Exhibit.
On my way to my next stops, I passed by temples frequented by tourists. It was a weekend and Ueno was very crowded. One of the famous temples is the Kaneji Temple, one of the largest temples in the city during the Edo period. One of the remnants of Kaneji’s former grandeur is the Toshogu Shrine, which is dedicated to the founder of the Edo Shogunate, Tokugawa Ieyasu.
My next stop was the National Museum of Western Art, where displays and exhibits are mostly of European artists. Its architecture alone is superb, so you can just imagine the wonders I have seen inside of the building. There were areas in the Main building that visitors can access for free.
I went to the National Science Museum next, and guess what? Yeah, you got it right! It felt like I can stay inside the museum forever. I couldn’t just leave the place, really. You know we love science as much as we love literature. Imagine my happiness while I was inside hopping from one exhibit areas to another. When I visited, there was also a special exhibition about dinosaurs. I can’t help but wonder how it feels like to work in a museum, Science at that.
I got so hungry after my museum hopping so I went to a food fair happening across the Tokyo National Museum. I don’t know why there was a festival of some sort, maybe because it was a weekend, but I sure had a great time trying new Japanese food I didn’t even bother asking the name. Like I said, I was hungry, dear self. 😀
I certainly want to eat more, however, I also didn’t want to miss visiting Japan’s oldest zoo. You know we have mixed feelings about zoos, that’s why my visit at Ueno Zoo was actually our first zoo visit ever.
It took me forever, too, before I left the zoo. Fine, honestly, I was happy to see pandas, owls, bears, tigers, and other animals I will never get the chance to see unless I go to the wild, however, I’d still want them living at their natural habitat. Visiting a zoo is one of those things that can make me both happy and sad.
After my arts, science and history appreciation in Ueno, I headed to Ginza, but found myself at the Hibiya Park, south of Japan’s Imperial Palace. It wasn’t actually part of my itinerary, however, my mindless walks brought me there. It was another happy place, actually.
There was also a beautiful tree at the park that caught my attention, and I want to visit her again when I go back to Japan.
After a quick tour of the Hibiya library nearby, where I also wanted to linger longer, I went finally to Ginza.
It certainly was a long day, however, my legs luckily didn’t complain. My always hungry tummy was full, as well as, my happy, really happy heart.
Oh dearest 11-year-old self, thank you for dreaming of going to Japan. Someday in your future, my present, you will meet someone who will help make your dreams come true. Be forever grateful. Let’s also keep praying for Daddy God and the Universe to bless those lovely souls who have helped make this dream of ours come true.
Your 27-years-old Armie (who still loves Anime)