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Gap Year Abroad

1 posts from May 2014


Sketchbook 15: Ueno

The seasons are changing. No more are the cherry blossoms, they've long since dropped from the trees.


Instead we have leafy greens sprouting, casting shade. Bugs are starting to sleepily emerge. It feels like summer. And it's only just become May.

I went with a classmate for a walk around Ueno.

"I heard it's supposed to get to 40˚Celcius," he mentioned. "In Denmark, this is as hot as it gets." It was 25˚ Celcius.

"It gets that hot, I suppose," I said, thinking back to when it was August in Kasukabe a couple of years earlier. "But what's the worst is the humidity. Like walking through soup."


Across from the park, I could see a temple, popping up against the city skyline. 

"Only in Japan can you see this sort of thing," I mentioned. "A temple, something from hundreds of years ago, with skyscrapers behind it."

It's a contrast, this neverending fight between new and old. We strolled past Ueno towards Tokyo University, or Todai. A Japanese university, with Japanese gates, but with neo-gothic styled buildings.

"Do you see this?" I pointed towards one of the solid stone doors to a lecture hall. "It doesn't match the rest of this building. Did something happen?"

We then stumbled upon the Yasuda Auditorium, covered in blue plastic and under construction. There, on the wall surrounding it were photos of the original auditorium and history.

Many of the campus buildings were destroyed in an 1923 earthquake and subsequent fires. They were rebuilt, but parts of the original facades were preserved.

Architecture is history. It tells a story, one brick at a time, of a time period, of a disaster, of a culture. And we, as humans, will only keep building, rebuilding, recovering as time goes on.

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