So. Started in Sendai. Decided to blow off my plan to go back to Matsushima (the weather of ass had followed me to Sendai that morning). So, took my own sweet time getting going, and wandered around the edges of Sendai station looking for postcards (was successful) and magnets (failed completely and utterly -- I guess the Japanese just don't like magnets. Maybe they have nowhere to put them?)
Anyway, I gotta say. Sentai sure does love their Rakuten Eagles. Everybody was wearing Eagles gear. So I had to get me Eagles schwag. Some for me, and I found this awesome Hello Kitty Rakuten Eagle baseball player that will be perfect omiyage for my Hello Kitty fanatic friend in Denver (but shhh, don't tell her that. I'm pretty sure she doesn't read this, anyway). I would have killed to get a magnet, though. It would have been the perfect souvenir from Sendai -- and if I ever adopt a Japanese baseball team, they're my team.
Anyway, eventually I grabbed me the shinkansen to Ueno, and hopped one station on the Yamanote to my hotel one station up, just outside Usuigudani station just northeast of Ueno Kouen. And since it was such a beautiful day down here (apparently, you can outrun the weather on the shinkansen), I decided that it would be a perfect time to wander around Ueno Kouen.
Where the sun was out, the cherry blossoms were glorious, the crowds were huge, people were singing, I took insane amounts of pictures, and gorged myself on yakitori and some sort of fried chicken stuff at the vendor stalls. Which was totally yum. It's almost like a festival! Between that and Matsushima, I think it's possible that extending the trip was worth it. Despite what my feet say. Stupid feet, they're no fun.
[Oh, as a total aside, I forgot to mention about how I was totally amused yesterday on the train back from Matsushima -- there was this kid (high school, I'm guessing -- he had the uniform, but if there's a way to tell middle school from high school on sight, I don't know it) who pretty much stared at me the whole way back to Sendai station, under his long bangs. I guess he probably didn't think I could see his eyes, but I could. :)
Also incidentally, this is the tiniest hotel yet, with tiny, tiny rooms. It's kind of cute, actually, but there's only about six inches of clearance around the bed, which takes up the entire room.]
So, I guess I'm going to hang out until my friend in Tokyo calls, and retrieve my luggage. Tomorrow there's some sort of party at Mr. Nippon2007 Chairman's house or somethiing, but other than that, no plans.
[see photos on flickr]