For those you tried to view the previous post's slideshow and it failed to show, I've since been able to rectify the problem. The previous slideshow should now be visible on the blog, if there is any trouble viewing it please leave a commit below, thanks!
On Wednesday, the majority of the class split up and explored around. Music majors who chose to visited the Tokyo Tower and a separate group explored Tokyo Disneyland. The remainder of the trip was difficult to track what everybody did for the remaining days so I'll just briefly describe those that I explored with.
The bulk of the day I shadowed Dr. Hake and a group of students to the Imperial Palace and gardens. I found this to be a very unique experience because I've never in my life seen a palace situated within sight of skyscrapers. Past the bustling of cars and cement forests, the city opened up to a barren field with trees planted every ten or fifteen feet, the kind of trees you expect to see in Asia (the little ones with bend and curve parallel to the earth). As we were approaching the gate to the Imperial Palace, someone of some true significance drove up. The guards on post saluted the vehicle as it drove on past. We wandered about the facility which was encircled by a moat around its several thick stone walls reaching up to the sky. We were able to go inside portions of the palace which had walkways lined with Cherry Blossoms ready to bloom. The portion of the palace that tourists were allowed entrance was a garden, historical structures and very unique architecture.
We left the Palace and met up with several others from the group. I was rather impressed that D.J. and Elizabeth were able to find us in such an expansive city. At this point in the trip several people just wanted some Americanized food so we waited for the other group at Subway. If I recall correctly we had quite a bit of trouble actually meeting up with the others and ended up relaxing outside of the main gate to the national park. Dr. Hake, Morgan and myself ended up chilling in the shade of the large trees while we waited for the others. When we all finally made it, I found out that of course cameras weren't allowed in the national park as well as rules restricting everything else. We actually watched a park staff ride up on a bicycle and tell a young couple to stop playing catch. However we were able to get some good photos here anyways, the rules were I guess against commercially taking photos so I'll add a pdf or slideshow with these photos as well. Because it took so long to meet up with the other group we were only at the park for maybe an hour but enjoyed a great sunset in Tokyo.
Wednesday night everybody met up to go to the Gigabar which was similar to karaoke. Jake Martin as well as other restaurant patrons performed songs and instruments to appease the crowds. While it was certainly a unique experience I would highly recommend eating ahead of time unless you want to wait an hour and a half for Chef Boyardee.