Emperor’s Palace and Diet Building

On Saturday May 17th, 2014, I went to Emperor’s Palace in Tokyo for the second time.  This time instead of roaming around the Emperor’s royal garden until closure time (royal garden closes at 16:30 and stops receiving new guests at 16:00), I tried to go into the actual palace but later found out that outsiders do not have access to the palace and the royal garden is as far as any visitor can get.

I did walk around the Palace however and found out that the Emperor’s garden and palace are all situated on a small man made island and is surrounded by a moat and stone walls, much like the Nagoya Castle in Nagoya except the emperor’s palace is situated on an even larger island.  Right outside of the moat is a sidewalk and other parks.

While walking around the palace, I also found out that the prime minister’s office, diet building, diet library, diet museum, and British foreign affairs office are right around the palace, making the area dense with various governmental buildings.  While inside the diet library I also obtained the user’s registration card as a trophy.  The registration card lasts for three years and with it one can enter and borrow books from the diet library.

Sagamihara City Museum Trip

On April 29th, the entire Shirai-lab members journeyed to Sagamihara City Museum to help facilitate a photography workshop for young children led by Shirai-sensei and his friend 阿部さん .  The Shirai-lab students functioned as assistants for sensei who solved on-sight technical problems as well as taught the kids various photography techniques.

I departed my apartment at around 8:00 AM and took the Odakyu line from Hon-Atsugi station to Sagamiono station and from there switched to the Sagami 02 bus at the northern exit to the 宇宙科学研究所本部 bus stop and then walked to the museum.  I got lost two times during this trip however, first time in Sagamiono station where I had a hard time locating the bus stop for Sagami 02 and second time at 宇宙科学研究所本部 bus stop where I did not know how to walk to the museum.  Eventually I found a road sign that told me the direction to the museum and was able to join my fellow lab-mates despite of being late.

Once I arrived at the museum, the entire Shirai-lab team went around the museum taking photos of exhibitions and we filled out a sheep of questionnaires that asked us about our favorite exhibition and best photograph.  Later I found out that the kids we were supposed to lead went through the same exercise we just did, so I guess the photo-taking trip functioned as a warm up for the assistants.

In the afternoon the Shirai-lab members took the children and their mothers (yes we saw no dads) to take photos around the museum and then discussed about different camera techniques.  I did not aid any kids however, because my Japanese wasn’t good enough to explain the complicated art of photography.  Instead I listened to Shirai-sensei and his friends discussing about photography while occasionally dozing off on my seat from the lack of sleep last night (which was caused by my excitement to visit my first ever Japanese museum).

I, Hisataka, and Taguchi left the museum at around five while Ogawa, Kunitomi and Shirai-sensei stayed behind to talk to the museum staff.  Later I found out that those who stayed behind had roasted pork for dinner, much to my dismay and jealousy as I ate convenient store food that day.