Thursday, March 31, 2016

Sakura at Shinjuku Gyoen ~ 2016

The kids and I had to go into Tokyo yesterday for our first modeling adventure and decided to take a few hours to wander around Shinjuku Gyoen.

We started our day rrreeeeaaaaalllyyyy early...0545 wake-up for the kiddos so we could be at the train station by 0630.  We made it to Tokyo and our 0815 appointment with ten minutes to spare!  After an  hour or so of photos we were free to roam the city.  First up, though, was something to eat.  On our way to find food we discovered a few neat creatures hanging out on a raised walkway.

After the shoot, we were all hungry and thirsty, so for our second breakfast Mackenzie had her first onigiri, fried rice; Garytt had ham and egg salad sandwiches; I had a sakura, shrimp, and pickles onigiri.

YAY!  Food!
I didn't get a picture of it, but the crowd to buy tickets to the park was INSANE!  So many, many people crowded around the ticket kiosks and windows that it took almost five minutes for us to figure out where in the world the beginning of the lines were!  I'm pretty sure we (accidentally) cut in front of a lot of people, but we got our tickets quickly (200 Yen for me and 50 Yen each for the kids), and we made our way into the park.  I walked to the little map stand to get a map where there is a sign that says, "Please see park attendant for maps in English".  Well, it would have been nice to know that when I was at the ticket window buying the tickets.  :/  Now, I have to go back to that insanity.

Since Mackenzie was slowly melting into over-tired-oblivion, I gave her the map and let her be in charge of getting us through the park.  I gave Garytt the little point and shoot camera so he could be in charge of taking extra pictures.  (extra pictures that I've now discovered he erased when he was pushing buttons he wasn't supposed to and reformatted the card.)  

So, Macki-chan decided we would walk to the right and loop around to the back of the park where there was a cherry tree section and an exit gate close by.  Up we go and off we move...

Our first stop on the path around the park was the London Plane...basically an open yard surrounded by trees.  We learned a lesson today:  When it comes to sakura pictures, you have to push your way to the front of the line to get a picture, otherwise the crazy people won't let you in.  Since, even with that knowledge, we aren't naturally pushy people, I just got creative with my camera angles and timing.  The only hitch was getting Boy to cooperate.  

Then, as if by magic, Kenzie decided she couldn't go one minute without hugging her brother.  Maybe it was the feeling of Spring from the surrounding blossoms, or maybe it was a bit of sleep deprivation, but, whatever it was, it worked.  He cooperated when she was in the picture.

The park wasn't in full bloom.  There were a handful of trees that were beautifully full of the pink and white.  But, 80% of the trees in the park were still just pink buds.

I love the dark wood of the branches surrounded by the light pink and white of the petals.

Here's the spot were we stood patiently waiting for two girls to get all their pictures with the blossoms, only to be pushed out of the way as we tried to get into their spot. It doesn't happen often, the pushiness, but the thought of having the perfect shot to post to Instagram much outweighs politeness occasionally, for some people.

So, we had to Google these things.  This was the section that had bald cypress trees.  These are the trees' knees.  :)  

After a quick look at the little ponds and trees, we made our way to the Upper Pond (kamino-ike).

This park is quite large.  It's a little deceiving when you turn off the road to enter, leaving behind a huge mall, major train station, and large, busy roadways.  But, towards the back it opens up into ponds and groves of trees and large grassy areas to picnic with friends and family.

Taiwan Pavilion

We had to take a bit of a break here.  Garytt was ticked off that I made him share the little camera with his sister.  He absolutely refused to have any more pictures taken of him, and he was starting to drag his feet in the dirt pathways.  Urggg...that early wake-up was certainly catching up to us.

Unfortunately, this is also where the Cherry Area, the biggest reason I wanted to come here was going to be cut short because Boy was losing his mind.  

This is the English Landscape Garden.  There were so many people spread out on blankets and enjoying lunch.  Toward the back-center of the picture you can see the pinks.  That's where the Cherry Area is.

While Boy grumbled and Kenzie wandered around, I took a few shots of the blossoms.  And, by a few, I mean several dozen.  :)  I'll spare you the time and just show a few.

My lil chickies

She was so willing to pose for every picture I asked her to take while Boy stood behind me and said things like, "This is taking forever", "How much longer?", "Do you really need ANOTHER picture of that tree?", "I don't believe you" (when I said, just a few more minutes).

The last voluntary picture I was able to get of Boy for the day.

The Cherry Area was beautiful!  It will probably be magical by Sunday.  I think it's supposed to rain this weekend though.  Darn.  

On the way home both kids fell asleep.  For the first part of the trip Boy fell asleep.  When I realized I missed our stop at Shinagawa I had to wake him up quickly to get off and switch to another train, well he had such a look of horror on his face at that abrupt waking that it made me want to carry him like he was three and rock him back to sleep.  Poor Boy.  Once we got back on the correct train he quickly fell back asleep and Mackenzie fell asleep for a few minutes, too.

As soon as we arrived at Yokosuka Chuo, Kenz asked for her new favorite conbini (convenience store) treat:  onigiri!  Oh, and thank you Lawson's for helping convince one of these kids how delicious egg salad is! 

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