The park was established in 1873 on lands formerly belonging to the Kan’ei-ji Temple. The home of a number of major museums, Ueno Park is also celebrated in spring for its cherry blossoms and hanami (cherry blossom viewing).
*Ueno Park. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved August 30, 2017, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ueno_Park
Woman: My boyfriend and I came here from Pennsylvania and we’ve been here for 10 days. We went to Kyoto and Osaka. I’m actually a teacher and he’s going back to school. We’ll leave here this afternoon and as soon as we come back, school starts like the next day. It’ll be a long flight and then right in the school.
We were going somewhere every single day. If we were going to fly for that many hours, I wanted to make sure that I would see as much as I could.
Woman: We’ve been here for 14 days. I was here for three months as a student of an American university in Shinjuku 10 years ago and I wanted to show my boyfriend Japan because I love it. We went to Nikko, Himeji, Hiroshima and Miyajima. Miyajima was my favorite. In Hiroshima, we went to the Peace Memorial Museum and it was heartbreaking. It’s something that everyone should see.
Man: I’ve taken martial arts for 15 years, so this is a big moment for me to come to Japan and see the sights and appreciate the heritage. I got to see a Kendo match yesterday. That was very interesting for me. Also, I love the countryside because the landscape is very nice.
Woman: I wish I could have gone to Takayama and Gujo-hachiman in Gifu Prefecture. But we came to Japan during Obon season and Shinkansen was booked, so we couldn’t go. We’ll try to go to those areas next time.
Man: We’ll be back here in 2021, after Tokyo Olympics because it’ll be too busy during the Olympics in 2020!
1. What do you feel the world should learn from Japanese culture?
2. What do you feel most embodies Japanese culture?
3. What place in Japan would you recommend foreigners to visit?
4. What country would you like to visit most? And why?
Dad and son from China
Dad: We’re from Shanghai. This is my second time to Japan and he came here for the first time.
Son: I’m a freshman student of university. I knew that Ueno Park is very famous in Tokyo even before coming to Japan. So we came here.
Dad: One of my friends told us, “You need to come to Japan!” lol We are going to be here for one week. We’ll stay in Tokyo for two days and then go to Kyoto and Osaka.
Son: I want to know more about Japanese culture. Yesterday, I had raw fish. It was very delicious.
Dad: We’re limited in time so we can go to only famous places. So we had to check those areas in Japan. We went to Tokyo Tower yesterday and went to Senso-ji Temple this morning. We’re going to visit a museum in this park later.
1. Have you been to China? (Welcome to China!)
2. Which city do you like best in China?
Guys from Germany
“We’re from Cologne. Two of us are university students. We’ll stay in Japan for a month. I’ve been here for more than two weeks. Actually, we came to Tokyo from Kyoto on a night bus because the Shinkansen is a little too expensive. We will be in Tokyo for only three days.”
“I’ll be a college student soon. I joined them four days ago. I always wanted to come to Japan because I’m a huge anime fan. I love “shonen (boy’s) anime”, such as ONE PIECE and My Hero Academia. Also Japan is a beautiful country.“
“Japanese culture is very good and of course its food is very good. People are very kind.”
“And I love shrines because we don’t know something like that in Germany. We don’t have many shrines, but there are shrines everywhere in Japan.”
“And we’ll visit a cigar shop. I was in Tokyo last year, so I know there is that kind of shop in Akihabara.”
1. Which languages do you speak?
2. What do you know about the German culture? ;D
Family from Australia
Dad: We’re from Brisbane. It’s winter right now, but we don’t get very cold. We get temperatures about 12 degrees as the lowest and 30 degrees during the day.
Two of my brothers have been here. They told us that we should go to Japan because it’s so different from Australia. So we thought, “We have to do it”.
This is our first time to Japan. We’re staying in Tokyo for twelve nights. We’ve been in Japan for three days and love it so far. We’ve been to Lego Land in Nagoya and Shibuya Crossing.
Son: Lego Land was good.
Daughter: It was so cool! There were so many Legos!
Dad: We’ll go to Disney Resort next week.
Daughter: Disney Land and Disney Sea! And we’re going to Kidzania.
Dad: Now, we’re going to Ueno Zoo.
Daughter: I love to see tigers!
Dad: And we want to see Mt.Fuji. We’re not climbing because it’s too hot. Maybe we’ll just see it.
People are very friendly and helpful. For example, a lady came as soon as we got off the train and walked with us this all the way to our hotel. Actually, she said that she was a volunteer to help tourists, but that wouldn’t happen anywhere else.
I don’t like seafood, so I cannot have sushi and sashimi. He (Son) tries everything, he is a great taste tester lol so if he says it’s not fish, then I try it lol.
Daughter: Once we were looking for food, my mom found that place and she really liked it. My dad was looking at it for a while and he found out that it was actually eel! lol
1. Where can you get nice shoes?
2. Where are the best markets?
3. What are the best places for kids?
4. Where is the best place to eat traditional Japanese chicken curry?
Married couple from Argentina
Wife: We’ll stay in Japan for 15 days. We’ve just arrived in Tokyo two days ago and went to Shibuya, Omotesando and Ginza yesterday.
We’ll travel across the country. We’re going to visit Mt.Fuji, Kyoto, Nara and Hiroshima, then we’ll be back to Tokyo before going back home. We’re taking only buses to go those places because we can see everything. We’ll stay at 11 hotels in 15 days!
People are very polite and the country is very organized. We think that’s because there are a lot of people in a small place. Unless you’re organized, it’s impossible. Tokyo is not noisy, very quiet. People don’t speak aloud.
Japanese culture is very different from ours. Everything is quieter and organized in Japan. That’s the oriental culture.
Husband: We love physical contact.
Wife: Yes. We hug and kiss people a lot. On the other hand, you don’t touch each other.
Husband: We hug and kiss even men. It’s usual for us.
Wife: That’s our way of communication.
Husband: Everything has a good and bad side.
Wife: Yes, it’s not right or wrong. You’re just different from us.
Husband: And Japanese people are not like me lol (He said touching his belly…)
Wife: Because you have fish and vegetables… Well, we have to go now!
Question: Why don’t you hug more?
Big family from the US
Grandfather: We’re from Utah. I was in Hokkaido in 1974. I was a missionary and lived there for two years. It was not my choice, it was my church’s decision. But because I had studied German at college, Japanese was easy to learn because roma-ji pronunciation is like the pronunciation of German.
Daughter: This is my first trip to Japan. When I was growing up, my dad always spoke so much love about Japan. That’s why I always wanted to come. In fact, I thought I was Japanese because I had dark hair. Actually I’m not, but it’s fun to come.
Grandfather: This is the first trip to Japan for all of them. And this is my second trip to the country. I wanted to bring my wife and my family to Japan.
We’ve been in Japan for 10 days and visited cities in Hokkaido such as Sapporo and Obihiro. In Obihiro, there was a huge taiko competition. It was amazing! Also, we bought yukata and joined a bon dance festival. We had a great time there.
In Tokyo, we’ve been to Tokyo Tower, the calligraphy museum, tea ceremony, Sumida River cruise and Senso-ji Temple. My daughter bought a Japanese doll at Nakamise Avenue.
We’re going to Kyoto and stay there for four days. I’ve never been there even though I was in Japan for two years.
I love the Japanese people because they are very kind. They are loving people. And they were always nice to me and understanding even though I was a “gaijin (外人)” when I was in Hokkaido.
Daughter’s husband: Japan is such a great country. There are so many kind people.
Daughter: Japanese food is nice, too. Sapporo ramen, gyoza, yakitori and Mt.Fuji lava stone Jingisukan!
Granddaughters: Ramen, yakitori, sushi and French fries!
1. Why do Japanese people take off their shoes and arrange them carefully at the genkan (entryway)?
2. Why don’t Japanese use forks, spoons and knives?
3. Would you like to visit America?
4. What is your favorite thing about living in Japan?
5. What makes you happy?
6. If you could visit America, where would you go?
Thank you very much for your cooperation!
… Who wants to be the next questioner?
Interviews by Sachiko Yamaji, Tamaki Hasumi, Tetsuro Tada, Yoko Hasumi, Yukiko Sato
Photos by Masanori Tsuchibuchi
Tell me, Japanese people! Vol.1 (Kamakura, Kanagawa Pref)
Tell me, Japanese people! Vol.2 (Haneda Airport)
Tell me, Japanese people! Vol.3 (Japan Traditional Crafts Aoyama Square)
Tell me, Japanese people! Vol.4 (Meiji Jingu Shrine)
Tell me, Japanese people! Vol.5 (Ginza)
Tell me, Japanese people! Vol.6 (Akihabara)
Tell me, Japanese people! Vol.7 (Samurai Armor Photo Studio)
Tell me, Japanese people! Vol.8 (Asakusa)
Tell me, Japanese people! Vol.9 (Shinjuku Gyoen National Park)
Tell me, Japanese people! Vol.10 (Imperial Palace)
Tell me, Japanese people! Vol.11 (Harajuku)
Tell me, Japanese people! Vol.12 (Odaiba)