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yatsu higata, imperial palace, and kabukicho

2012-10-25 - 6:08 a.m.

OK, so this is driving me bananas. Why does my computer think that because I'm in Japan, I can suddenly read Japanese? It's really starting to get on my nerves...

I'm surprised that I forgot to mention that pure white Carrion Crow that I saw at the Ueno Zoo yesterday. Not a wild bird...in fact, all the crows I've noticed have been Large- billed/Jungle Crows, not Carrion Crows. A zoo specimen. If white alligators are lucky, then a white crow must be somehow auspicious, right? I can't think that too many Carrion Crows have ever been collected to exhibit with pride in zoos...

Today I visited the remaining mudflats of Tokyo at Yatsu Higata. Whoa. That's way, way out there. I found it though. I'm getting the idea that it isn't really quite autumn yet. No autumn leaves, not too many migrants yet. Maybe it's global warming, or maybe fall doesn't really arrive until November. Either way, I found the park, and I inspected the available birds. Japanese Wagtail. The ever -popular and relentlessly charming Japanese Pygmy Woodpecker. Black-winged Stilts. Grey or Black-bellied Plover, whatever they're calling them these days. Plenty of Grey Herons. Plenty of Dunlin. Northern Pintail, Common Teal, Common Pochard. Not an exciting day at the mudlfats in other words. Oh, and plenty of Brown-eared Bulbuls. You know how you're walking along in a forest and you hear a ruckus and it's always a squirrel? Here, it's always a Bulbul.

However, I have seen and photographed the Black-Tailed Gull, which I'm pretty sure is a life bird for me. Its striking black and red tipped bill got my attention.

They had these hilarious crabs working in the mud, with bright yellow "hands" at the end of their claws.

I had to transfer at Tokyo Station and, on the way back, I had lunch in a noodle shop in the station. Some kind of sesame and hot pepper noodle soup. Really tasty. The best soup I've had in Tokyo. I was starting to think they just didn't know how to cook as good as they did in Kyoto.

Re-energized, I emerged from the Tokyo station to take some photos of the famous exterior, along with every other tourist in Tokyo. A short distance away is the Imperial Palace Park, which is notable for a large number of what I can only describe as life- sized bonzai trees. The trees all looked trained, if you know what I mean. There is a huge moat around the place, with no-doubt- terribly-fierce pairs of Mute Swans swimming around in it. I'm sure they would never allow anyone to storm the palace, unless they thought ahead of time to bring some bread crumbs for the Swans. At least that's the impression I got from one of the Swans that heckled me for some food. Spot-billed Ducks a-snoozing. More Japanese Wagtails and Japanese Great Tits.

All this time I've been spending the leftover cash from my previous trip, but I found the ATM and visited the grocery store, then headed back a bit early to rest up. Maybe I can avoid conking out right after dinner, so that I can enjoy strolling around in some of the bright lights. Nice light on my view right now, although the picture doesn't do it justice. I have a great view of the Tokyo Sky Tree or whatever it's called, but it just looks like a speck in the photo.

What a wonderful night. I can't believe how cool and pleasant it is outside. Splendid weather for walking around Kabukicho playing, "Is it Hooker or Hooker Costume?" I didn't bring the camera along, because I didn't feel like flashing everybody in sight, but there was certainly some interesting footwear out there.

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