Tsukuba Wanwan Land: A Chance to Pet 500 Dogs and Cats!

Basic Info

Tsukuba Wanwan Land
Location: 〒300-4353 Ibaraki Prefecture, Tsukuba, Numata 5-7-9 (https://goo.gl/maps/WguvrbDV77n)
Hours: 10 AM to 5 PM
Official Website (English, limited)
Admission:
Adult (ages 13 and up) – JPY 1500
Child (ages 3 to 12) – JPY 700
Senior (65 and above) – JPY 750
Infant (ages 0-2) – free
Access:
By Bus: From Tokyo Station, take the bus for Tsukuba Center (approx 70 mins). From Tsukuba Center, take the bus bound for Mt. Tsukuba and get off at Tsukubasanguchi Bus Stop. Tsukuba Wanwan Land is a 10-minute walk from here.
By Train: From Akihabara Station, take the Tsukuba Express to Tsukuba Station.From Tsukuba Center, take the bus bound for Mt. Tsukuba and get off at Tsukubasanguchi Bus Stop. Tsukuba Wanwan Land is a 10-minute walk from here.


Review

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One of the dog pens at Tsukuba Wanwan Land

One of the things I miss sorely about Manila is being in the constant company of dogs and cats. Living the single life in Tokyo doesn’t allow much room for pets, especially if you’re always out and about. Of course, if you live in one of the major cities in Japan, you can very well visit animal cafes to satisfy your need for a furry companion. But with limited hours, overpriced drinks and at times overcrowded shops,  I’d say heading out to the Tsukuba is a much better alternative. Continue reading

#TōhokudeYokatta: How Japanese Netizens Transformed a Politician’s Blunder into an Inspiring Message

On April 25th, Tuesday, during a presentation on the March 2011 disaster, a callous remark slipped out of then minister of reconstruction Masahiro Imamura. Revisiting the numbers that represent the damage the disaster had made, Imamura casually pointed out that, “It was a good thing that the disaster hit Tohoku,” as the damages would have been incalculable had it struck anywhere near the capital.

Needless to say, the remark was not well-received. When Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took the stage later that night, he began with an apology, stating that Imamura had uttered inappropriate words during his presentation that hurt the feelings of the disaster’s survivors. It was too late to do damage control however, as Imamura’s words had made its way to Twitter, and enraged comments have popped up under the hashtag “TōhokudeYokatta.” (#東北でよかった; Good thing it was Tōhoku)

People called for Imamura’s resignation and by Wednesday night, the minister caved into submission. In the timeline of news stories, this would have been the end—a transgression has been made and accordingly sanctioned, balance has been restored, and people can now move on to the next story.

Except that the hashtag didn’t disappear after that. Once the bearer of bad news and angry messages, #TōhokudeYokatta became a badge of honor, with Twitter users reappropriating Imamura’s words to highlight what’s good about Tohoku. From gorgeous scenery to local cuisine, Twitter was filled with overflowing appreciation for the region. Continue reading

Jealousy in Japanese

Yakimochi – literally grilled rice cake. Why is this word used to refer to jealousy? This video explains a bit of the word’s etymology as well as how it is used.

Credits:

Chasing Cherry Blossoms: A Gallery

When is the best time to see cherry blossoms? Where are the best spots to see them? These are two of the most common questions I get from people eager to visit Japan.

The truth is, even for people living in the country, finding the best time and place to see cherry blossoms can be tricky. Forecasts can only predict as much, and if you’re only free on weekends, chances are the places you visit will be packed with (drunk) people.

Of the five years I’ve been Japan, this year was first time I’ve made considerable effort in checking out as many places in Kanto as I could, given the limited time and resources. Below is a gallery featuring the spots I visited.

Otona Water Park /音無親水公園 (Oji, Tokyo)

Located near the city hall, Otona Water Park is among the relatively quieter spots to enjoy cherry blossoms. Perhaps this is because the more popular and more spacious Asukayama Park is close by. I personally love the way the branches lean towards the wooden bridge. The spot always makes for good pictures.

Access: JR Keihin Tohoku Line Oji Station/Toden Arakawa Line Oji Ekimae Station/Google Maps URL Continue reading

Bloom: An Ode to Cherry Blossoms

Tokyo Past 3’s YouTube channel is back, and it opens its 2017 run with a short piece on mortality and cherry blossoms, recited over shots of spring in the Kanto region.  Shogyō mujō (諸行無常) or “the temporality of all worldly things” happens to be one of my favorite themes, and more often than not I incorporate it in things I make. There’s only so much you can capture given the limits of time, erratic weather and a 9-to-5 job, but overall, I’m rather happy that I got to see them while they lasted.

BGM is “Koi to Komorebi no Toshishitsu” by Ryo Lion. Special thanks to Chihiro for looking over the piece for grammatical and spelling mistakes. He still thinks I cursed him because I sent him a birthday message in Tagalog.

A Chock-full of Chofu: A Day Trip to Jindaiji Botanical Garden, Jindaiji Temple and Yumori no Sato

Date Visited: March 18, 2017
Itinerary:

  • Jindai Botanical Garden
  • Jindaiji Temple
  • Yumori no Sato (Hot Spring)

“Are we still in Tokyo?” My best friend Yui asked the moment we got off the bus. The night before, I had asked her on a whim if she wanted to go to Jindai Botanical Garden.  We knew it was too early and too cold to see flowers, but we decided to do a bit of hanami before we went to have drinks.

It was a grey afternoon, and since we both had not been to the area before, we had no idea what to expect. Chofu was every bit a part of Tokyo, but the area where the park is located is far removed from the hustle and bustle of the city. It was quiet and peaceful, the perfect destination for souls worn out by the daily grind. Continue reading