Taking a long walk at Shinjuku gyoen park （新宿御苑） is always fun, especially in autumn, when leaves turn into bright yellow and deep red, falling onto the ground like dancing in the wind. One day in the early December, I decided to go see them myself.
To the big park, there are several gates to get into, while others are available only for special days. Passing across the most famous gate "Shinjuku-mon (新宿門)", where is the nearest gate from Shinjuku Station, one of huge stations to a business district in Tokyo, I found many trees with gorgeous color all around. Ever since I moved to Tokyo, I've never missed to walk along trees in this park during this season. Watching small duo of bird flying over trees, sitting on a wooden bench to see children playing with balls while their mothers entertain themselves chatting under mid-morning sunlight. Everything seems so peaceful to me :)
Well, I'm sure I'll be back in the next autumn again :)
Definitely, autumn is one of the most beautiful seasons in Japan. Many fish and vegetables are in season, and day by day, I find something new, and it makes me feel as if I go into a new phase. So I tried to spend days outside as much as I could. Walking all he way down to a station while taking a glance at yellow leaves on trees, make a slow steps in a supermarket as if I was trying to inspect anything new or in season. Sometimes it took fairy an hour to explore in a tiny supermarket. That's when I am so content in my life :)
And one day in the middle of autumn...
I woke up and find snow fallen outside. Since we hardly see snow in November in Tokyo, it was indeed surprised me. (Well, it turned out we haven's seen snow in November in Tokyo more than a half century) All in all, everything was so quiet, almost no sound at all. No car, no bird, nothing. I decided to be in my home rather than outing such a freezing day, and I put my energy on cooking in the kitchen. (Luckily enough, I had a day off on that day.)
As I continued to cook, I found snow gradually turned into rain, then finally stopped. The weather is getting better, and why not me? :) It's time to go out!
The whole world seemed to painted white, and I really enjoyed listening to sounds from the new world: Birds singing again, children from school were playing with snowballs in a tiny park, trucks resumed their operation with their tires wrapped with snow chains. It was the moment when things returned where it was :)
Thanks to its moderate sunny days in the past weeks, I've entertained myself cycling to my workplace almost everyday. Regardless of the season, it's always a little piece of my pleasure being outside: feeling the shaky air in the winter, smelling strong sweet Teriyaki sauce while passing along a casual Japanese restaurant. And anytime I go out, there's something new to find. So, I'm sure I keep on riding as long as the calm weather continues :)
Opening up the door, I heard the voice of several chefs saying welcome in loudly. Every time I hear such a strong, powerful greeting, I feel as if I'm finally coming back where I should be. I always like its atmosphere.
A couple weeks ago, I visited a Japanese restaurant Uokin (魚金), which is becoming famous for its fresh fish for low price over a few years. Located right beside a main gate of Kabuki-cho (歌舞伎町) in Shinjuku, it's really convenient place to get together and eat together. So...
Why don't we start with a glass of draft beer? :)
Okay, it's time to decide what to eat. I looked carefully at a hand-written menu as I continued to sip beer. Most of the dish is cooked with fish, like sliced fish simmered with sweet sauce, deep-fried puffer fish, fresh oysters. No wonder why these fish restaurants usually have hand-written menu: They go to the market almost everyday, and the dish they serve depends on what they get in the market, as well as its season. On that day, early autumn, oyster and puffer fish dish seems their recommend, or "Dish for tonight". Well, I decided to take assort of sashimi :)
Wow...so gorgeous :D Sliced Tuna at the center, Katsuo comes near side, some sushi, red shell fish Aka-gai (赤貝), and many more! The dish is pretty reasonable, only 1980yen for a plate, it's almost $22 at this rate.
Have some deep-fry fish? :)
I was so satisfied that I drunk a lot that day, haha. After leaving Uokin...
Let's move on to the other side of Shinjuku. Called Memory Lane or "Omoide Yokocho 思い出横丁", it's a relaxing place to many business person seeking for a casual, budget-friendly restaurant like $15 for drinking and eating after working. Although it already parred 9 o'clock in the evening, the alley was still packed so many people eating in and out of restaurants. Okay, let's have some Chinese food.
With some alcohol, I had a wonderful evening in Shinjuku :)