Sunday in Tokyo is clearly a day when chilling out is taken seriously. Which is why I headed off to Yoyogi Park after a very Japanese take on egg on toast courtesy of my host, Eiichi.Screen Shot 2015-11-22 at 17.39.00

Think soft fried egg, as a side dish to steamed toasted bread with onion pepper and chees and tomato and you are getting close. Now throw in some chopsticks and sort it out for yourself! It tasted delicious and was just the right start to a day that got weirder and more wonderful as it went on.

By now I am getting more used to navigating my way around the various metro lines and so a trip across to the other side of the city and then a quick change and voila. I was about to discover why everyone raves about this park.

Now last night having been Halloween there were quite a few revellers heading back home as I caught an early train, and one or two were clearly the worse for wear, whilst others just snored their way hopefully to home.

Getting to the park also took me close to Meiji Shrine and there were plenty of young and less young people heading there dressed in their traditional Sunday best. Clearly the shrine plays an important part in many people’s lives. Quite frankly if half the number turned up for a quick pray in Britain then the church’s would be having a real bonanza and the Arch bishop of Canterbury would be chuffed to bits.

File838The park was bathed in pleasant sunshine and even by ten thirty there were various small groups practicing everything from Japanese drumming to baton twirling, from yoga to Indian dancing and from that martial arts thing you do with two bits of wood with a chain in the middle.

Then the joggers came into sight, in fact some of them wereFile857 without sight. Blind runners were being partnered by sighted runners and were busily doing laps of different sections of the park.

There are carefully laid out paved areas for runners as well as other ones for cyclists so everyone doesn’t tumble over each other. In fact I even took a bike out for a spin a little later, although motivation was nothing other than wanting to stop walking and sit a while, just to ease my poor feet.

A word of warning though, those Japanese hire cycles are significantly wobbly. At first I thought it was just me, but I cheered up enormously when I saw other patrons of the bike hire shop stagger off rather like The Sundance Kid when he tried out a bike for the first time. Overall though it was a win all round. My feet got a break, I sat down for almost an hour and I didn’t crash!

File907It also enabled me to spot some of the odder corners, especially the guaranteed crowd pleaser, the dog run. Dogs are sorted by size, so large average and outsized rat appeared to be the categories.

Poodles of all varieties appear to be a big winner here, and one mob even had their own bicycle chauffeur to bring them out for their exercise. I said nothing, but snapped away quickly as he tootled off with his charges.

By now the park was filling up with Jazz groups practicing, one guy was having his partner hold out trying pads for his boxing practice and everywhere there were family groups all picnicking like crazy.File925

Over the course of the day I met a Mexican economist who now teaches Spanish at an academy here in Tokyo, he also turned out to be an excellent guitar player when he borrowed File943one from the guy on the next bench.

That gentleman hailed from Zimbabwe but had met his wife to be in America when they were both on post graduate courses.

This park was clearly having an effect and it put a spell on everyone as the afternoon wore on. I heard djembe drummers, three stringed lute type instruments being practiced as well as some very funky jazz. Basically it was world music day in the park.File1005
File1059Then came group skipping which was a hoot, and bubble making which got more and more manic as I tried to take shots, let’s just say that everyone was intent on enjoying themselves.

And then came a dog on a skateboard, a groundhog on a leash and, wildest of all, a pair of meerkats who were brought out of their carrying basket dressed in costumes and hats. They were basically knitted out like musketeers!File1039

As I said, this park is completely bonkers. And then when I finally headed out, the Rock and rollers stole my heart. The dance offs between The Strangers and Early Rockers were spectacular and there will be a few pictures for you to smile at, but for now it’s time to get back to packing for the next leg of the trip to Hiroshima!File1118

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