Cherry blossom season is in full swing in Japan and everyone is out enjoying them. Last week, when I got to really explore for a day, I did the one thing you should never do: leave without eating, while telling yourself you’ll eat along the way, and naturally be starving before walking out the door. I wanted to make it to Ueno Park in Tokyo, which promises to be one of the best places to see the cherry blossoms. This was over an hour away, and having left late in the day, I felt pressed for time and just wanted to get there.
Once I finally got to the final station, I was desperate but there weren’t any good restaurants around, and I gave up and headed to the park. The blooms weren’t full yet; I was a week too early but the weather was beautiful, so I continued to walk among the throngs of people and hanami parties, finding those few trees that were ahead of all the others, and crammed alongside everyone to snap a few shots.
After close to an hour, I followed everyone over a bridge where I saw rows of food vendors. Perfect! I was about to die, but next thing my brain is making me do is pass them all up, and just keep walking thinking I’d find something better. Next thing my nutritionally deprived body knows, I start taking pictures of the pond, and trees, and people. Clearly I must be crazy, and find I can barely stand up from a crouched position without having things go completely black for a few seconds. Eating became my main priority, but the brain still wouldn’t register that as I kept taking more pictures.
It wasn’t until a Buddhist monk walked up offering “peace” in the form of a card, which I politely rejected and watched his face go from peace to disgust at my refusal (sorry buddy), that it was time to find food and get away from people. I stopped in front of a random vendor who didn’t care she had customers waiting on her while she talked on the phone. I debated to find somewhere else but I couldn’t move and waited for over two minutes before she finally helped us. I can’t tell you what I ate, but it was food that did the job and I was back up and moving again 15 minutes later.
One thing Japan doesn’t care about: Hydration. I swear, they don’t care that you haven’t had water in hours, they don’t offer it. You can’t find it. And sure as all get out, you don’t see anyone carrying water bottles around. You’re forced to accept the fact that you will remain severely dehydrated while sightseeing.
I’m dramatic. We know this. But I will say I did end up getting very dehydrated that left me very sick for two days straight. So, I guess I’m not that dramatic.
Any way, if there was a takeaway from all this, its this: Drink a lot of water before leaving. Eat as well (always helps). And see if you can’t stash a couple bottles of water in your bag before leaving because when you find a vending machine and think you’re buying water, it’ll turn out to be Squirt. And guzzling Squirt when you think its going to be water isn’t very pleasant. (This may have happened on a separate occasion)
A few from that fateful yet beautiful day
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