Originally published on 2019/08/10

Weird title but that’s really what happened today.

I walked all the way to Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden all the way from where I was staying in Nishi-shinjuku. It took a while, mostly because it was so damn hot. I was armed to the teeth with an umbrella, a 500ml bottle of water, and some snacks.

I was not prepared for the heat, which is comparable to Metro Manila — except that Japan has lower levels of humidity, a lot more trees, and less people.

It was easier to breathe in Japan.

So, on my way to the national garden, I looked up Google Maps to see if there were any 100-yen stores I could hit up to buy some snacks. I checked to see if Don Quixote was nearby because I’d never been there, and I wanted to see what stuff they had in stock.

I think it’s almost impossible to leave Donki (or Don Quixote) without buying anything.

I came in wanting to see what stuff they had and came out with a banana milk drink, three instant noodle packs, a few onigiri, another milk tea drink, and a 1000ml vegetable and fruit juice.

So, yes, I made my life more complicated since I was still going to go to the park. I decided to just buy then and there since Donki was a tax-free shop and I wasn’t planning on passing through it after the park since it was a bit out of the way.

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Don Quixote or Donki in Shinjuku Tonanguchi

So, I got to the park, my feet were killing me (I was practically limping), and I didn’t know how to operate the ticket machine. Maybe my brain cells were dehydrated, I dunno. But it took a second try for me to get a 500 yen ticket.

It was pretty easy actually. You press some buttons on the screen, get your ticket, then scan the QR code on the turnstile.

I got a map then started walking.

It was beautiful.

Calm, peaceful, and oh so quiet.

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Doesn’t this make you feel calm already?

I saw a bench and sat there for a while, drinking my Lipton creamy milk tea.

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There were some visitors passing through, but no one was really noisy, yapping or talking loudly to disturb the plants, which was nice.

In the park, you will find the Japanese garden, landscape garden, formal garden (lotsa flowers), and a greenhouse. There are several rest stops with vending machines, so you won’t get dehydrated.

I didn’t exactly know where I was going, even with a map, which looked pretty cute but wasn’t so accurate. Eventually, I managed to end up in the Japanese garden. It was hot as Satan’s butt, but the sight was magnificent. Good thing there were several gazebos where visitors could sit down and rest their weary feet.

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The Japanese garden was pretty big. And because it was still pretty hot (I cannot stress enough how hot it was. Always bring an umbrella and a bottle of water if you plan on coming here in summer.), I sought out a bench in the shade.

There, I ate onigiri, drank lots of water, and cracked open a learning Japanese book. No one bothered me, no one tried to strike up conversation (Actually, most people there seemed afraid to sit beside someone else in a table or kiosk, lest they be forced to make nice and begin conversations.), and no one gave me the stink eye.

It was very relaxing.

There was also a pavilion (Kyu Goryo Tei) where visitors could gawk at the landscape and some artifacts.

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The view from the pavilion was really beautiful.

After that, I walked around and found a rest stop (or rest house), and I bought a small plastic bottle of Coca-Cola because I just really needed to cool down. I studied some more and waited for the sun to go down.

After a while, the temperature became cooler, and I decided to see the greenhouse. I passed by the landscape garden, which is really just this huge expanse of green land. A lot of people were lying on the grass and just chilling.

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The greenhouse was all right. There were some nice-looking flowers and plants, and I saw familiar stuff that made me think of home.

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The last one, the balimbing or star fruit, was a common snack when I was a kid.

But I was really tired and my feet hurt, so I decided it was time to go home. It was also around 4 p.m., and my phone’s battery was already down to 11 percent.

I went out the Okido Gate and walked to the Shinjuku-gyoemmae Station. Problem was I didn’t know where I was going. I risked using my phone data, which made the batter plummet down to 7 percent.

One lady looked at me strangely, probably wondering why I was walking in circles. Anyway, I managed to find the station by using the satellite feature on Google Maps and remembering the buildings and how many streetlights before I reach my destination.

So, I got on the train, listened to the voice over people, and looked for signs that pointed to Nishi-shinjuku. I got on the train and arrived at Nishi-shinjuku…but it was the wrong one.

See, I wanted to go to Nish-shinjuku Gochome station. I got off at Nishi-shinjuku station for the metro line. I was faaaaaaaar from where I wanted to arrive.

I had no choice. I had to walk.

During this time, I only had about 1 percent battery life left on my phone and my right shoe was chafing my heel. I was limping.

With the aid of Google Maps, I managed to find familiar landmarks like Starbucks and Mini Shinjuku (car dealer) that gave me a sense of relief. I ditched the Maps, which gave me roundabout directions, and I simply walked straight to where I was staying.

I admit, I was pretty frustrated and slightly worried when I got off at the wrong station. Shinjuku was a big city, I couldn’t read the signs, and my phone was almost dead.

But I came home in one piece, maybe a bit wiser, definitely more cautious, and terribly exhausted.

It did add adventure to my day though.

Jam Guibone

Hello! I am Jam. Welcome to my blog! I initially started this to document my adventures while working in Japan as an ALT under the JET Programme. I hope all the information here will be useful to you, whether or not you're also a JET, ALT, or just someone traveling abroad.

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