"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Monday, June 30, 2008

"I've done the calculation and your chances of winning the lottery are identical whether you play or not." - Fran Lebowitz

***

Japan trip
Day 2 - 7th June - Ueno koen (上野公園), Tokyo
(Part 3)

I then went to the Ueno park/garden.

I saw an ad for sex on the Metro. Well, it had the word "Sex" and there were pictures of sultry-looking Japanese women.


Ueno park map. The irritating about Jap maps is that they are not consistent. In maps in other parts of the word, the top part of the map is North, the bottom South and so on. In Japan, many area maps (those erected in fixed locations in a vicinity for easy navigation) do not have North at the top. Worse, the area maps are inconsistent - I saw at least one other orientation used by maps in Ueno park (ie unlike here, the lake was not at the right of the map). This made navigation with the aid of area maps very confusing.

I was actually looking for Tosho gu, the premier shrine in the garden, since it was about to close.


Some shrine at the top of a small hill

When I found the Gojo Tenjin Shrine (dedicated to the Gods of Medicine and Learning), I decided to give up since the area maps had confused me.


Multiple torii


Plaques


Inari, Japanese kami (spirit) of fertility, rice, agriculture, foxes, industry, and worldly success


Unfortunately I was there quite late so the shrines were closed, and the caretakers leaving (for example, before the last photo was taken, a woman emerged from inside and left the premises).


Place to wash your hands and mouth


Closed shrine


Wooden prayer plaques


"PAY RISE!"


Cute fox man (Inari impression?) and Russian prayer


How to do it, kids!


Shrine sign. I only realised at this point where I was.


Torii to another shrine


Another Ueno koen map. Note how the orientation is different. It's a different type of map, but the principle remains the same (I had a picture of a map in the same style as the first, but deleted it due to lack of space - oh well)

There is a Museum of Downtown Customs. I know the town is a different place from the country, but can it be that different?!


Kimono-ing in the park


Multiple torii


Hobo rummaging in the recycle bin

Japan tries to be Green, with recycling bins and exhortations to reduce carbon emissions, yet considering it is the land of excess packaging, it is not clear how useful such measures are.


Frog fountain


Akihabara, South view from Ueno park


I think this is to encourage women to have more children


3 identical drain covers. I think they read "low pressure", "high pressure" and "low voltage electricity"


Open concept toilet


Statue of Dr Hideyo Noguchi


Homeless men
I was a bit disappointed as Lonely Planet had claimed that there were rows of tents where the homeless lived, with their shoes lined up neatly outside. Maybe that's in winter.


Artistic photo capturing the disorientation and vertigo of the state of homelessness


Dr A F Baudin


Topless woman statue


Statue of Prince Komatsu No Miya Akihito. You can read the blurb if you want.
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