JEAN WANDERS

"Not all those who wander are lost."
- J.R.R. Tolkien
Live to explore the many wonders of the world and let it define your destiny.

Tag: Travel

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

French Formal Garden

A normal weekend living in Tokyo would often involve shopping, spending time at a café and taking a stroll or a picnic at the park. The latter has been always my choice as a nature lover myself. However, one would ask which place is ideal for such an activity. Worry no more because Tokyo has a numerous lists of parks and most of them are situated just at the heart of the metro.

Checking the parks lists online I realized I have never been in most of the parks listed other than Yoyogi Park, Futakotamagawa Park, Mizumoto Park and Rikugien Garden which was quite close to my place. The one that struck me the most is Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden located just a few minutes from Shinjuku JR Station. For a year and three months I have never gotten the chance or even the idea to visit this park.

Originated during the Edo Period as a residence of the Naito Daimyo clan, soon after it was transformed into a botanical garden. Later in 1903, it was transferred to the Imperial family who utilized it for recreation and entertainment venue for guests. After WWII, it was rebuilt and reopened to the public in 1949. This park covers 58.3 hectares so you could you just imagine the vastness of the area. Three different gardens comprise the park; the English Landscape, French Formal, Japanese Formal (teahouse) and Mother and Child.

Being known for its 1500 cherry trees (sakura trees) which is a perfect venue for its annual “hanami” viewing it never came to my mind to actually visit this park during such event. Its popularity among visitors is evident in the amount of images uploaded in various social media sites varying from each four seasons.

So, how did I really end up going to this park?

After a typical weekend lunch with my friends on a Saturday at one of the many busy restaurants around Shinjuku area made me decide to check the place since the weather was perfect for a stroll too. What is even surprising was we got in for FREE! Yes, you read that right. We did not bother to ask why and just went in immediately (just got lucky). The park that day was not that crowded mostly families were there and the view was too beautiful that I could not even think of a word to describe it. It was relaxing and undoubtedly refreshing for us since we all had a busy week at work. Perfect weekend indeed.

Walking through the different sections of the park, you can see various types of trees, ponds and bridges. But what I like the most was the French Formal which offers different types of roses. Most likely if you plan to visit the park, make sure to have a camera with you. Every area deserves to be captured. The serenity of the park will definitely leave you in awe. Either by just strolling the entire park, having picnic with family and friends or just simply relaxing under the shade of those gigantic trees, this park is truly worth a try. If you want to get rid of those negative energy from work stress or school project deadlines, the park will surely give you the break you need.

The park is open from 9:00 AM- 4:30 PM every day with an admission fee of 200 yen for 15 years old and over, 50 yen for 6-14 years old while its free for 5 years and below. However, when Monday falls on a national holiday, Tuesday is closed for visitors. Access to the park is very convenient since there are three gates leading to the park – Shinjuku Gate (JR Shinjuku Station), Okido Gate (Shinjukugyoenmae Station) and Sendagaya (JR Sendagaya Station).

We ended the day having coffee at a nearby Starbucks café close to Shinjuku Station. So, if you want to unwind and experience solitude without leaving Tokyo then this park is a best choice for you.

Coldplay in Tokyo

Wish granted.

Did you ever experience that feeling of extreme euphoria? That was the exact definition of my first ever Coldplay concert experience here in Tokyo, Japan. It took me a week to finally get the idea sink in my brain. Every memory of the concert was surreal even up to this time I’m writing this post.

Well, most of you may wonder “Why”?
Here’s why.

Back in my teenage days, I was already been a Coldplay fan. Raised in a country where every one loves music, I came to recognize my preferred genre of music. I love the sound of instruments all working harmoniously, so I inclined my taste for music on bands. My fascination towards bands made me appreciate the unique sound of Coldplay. So, right there and then, I promised myself that I must be able to see their concert. Little did I know, it will be realized after 14 years and in my favorite country – Japan. What a surprise!

So, the moment Coldplay announced their A Head Full of Dreams Asian tour, I knew that it was a sign. I told myself, this is it! But I lose the chance when I found out that tickets were all sold out, as expected. I was depressed. I failed. It’s over. Not until the day of the concert came. Me and my friends decided to go to the venue (Tokyo Dome) to take photos just to give ourselves that Coldplay concert vibe. It was a long queue. All of a sudden, one of my friends said let’s watch it the moment she saw concert staff selling tickets. Yes, there were still tickets. Quickly, we purchased three tickets and rushed inside the venue like excited kids. Finally, my dream will now be realized.

Inside, the crowd was amazing. I was speechless. It was like my heart is coming out my chest. I thought it was a dream. Looking at the crowd’s faces, I knew I wasn’t alone with that feeling. When the members of the band came out of the stage, I was screaming at the top of my lungs shouting Chris Martin’s name. Why wouldn’ t I right? Most of the songs sang were all of my favorites. There wasn’t a single song that I didn’t sing along. For two and half hours I was in cloud 9. To all Coldplay fans out there, being in a Coldplay concert is one for the books experience you shouldn’t miss in your lifetime.

I will end this article with a line of one my favorite Coldplay song – Fix You.
“If you’ll never try, you’ll never know.” Check that next Coldplay concert near you and share your experience by commenting on this post below.

What I have learnt from dating a Japanese guy?

Dating has been quite hard for most of us especially when living in a foreign country. You have to deal with culture differences and sometimes get a bit stressed with language barrier. Certainly, there are number of reasons to be skeptical about when it comes to dating – but not for me.

When I first landed a job in Japan last year it never came to my mind that I would be dating a Japanese guy. Probably because I’ve read some unfortunate stories about it. When you read these stories most likely you will start making prejudices. But along the way, these prejudices change. We learn to accept and understand these differences equally with ours. So, what’s it really like dating a Japanese guy?
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Best Weekend Getaway in Futakotamagawa

 “It is nice finding that place where you can just go and relax.”
                                                                                – Moises Arias

Working in a busy city like Tokyo, a lot of us may wonder how people can unwind and be stress free even for a while. Various options for relaxation are available around the city center but somehow it is ineffective for  me since most of it are pretty crowded especially on weekends. This made me look for something worthy to ease my stress away. Luckily I found  it just 15 minutes from central Tokyo.The place is called Futakotamagawa.
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TOKYO’S FAMOUS TOWERS : TOKYO TOWER & TOKYO SKYTREE

Tokyo : City of Skyscrapers

Living in a bustling city like Tokyo would mean being literally busy and fast the whole day. It never came to my mind that one day I would be here. It seems like everyone is heading to a single direction – work. But I could not forget the first time I arrived here. It was as if I was just a minute creature surrounded by gigantic buildings. To be in a new place like Tokyo I certainly never missed my chance of seeing massive infrastructures built with utmost quality. From buildings to bridges to subways, this city has certainly a lot to offer. I could not help but be amazed by how developed this city is as compared to the descriptions I have read in books. Even to this date, the feeling of gazing at these massive structure is surreal.

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