Yaks posing for a photo at the Sanja-Matsuri in Asakusa.
Ojarus are the exception to the rule that all street performers in Japan are boring three-ball jugglers and balloon animal makers doing the same tired tricks and gags you’ve seen a thousand times before. Ojarus are funny, original, and seem to truly love entertaining people. They often perform in Ueno park and have a web site in English, but if you want to actually see their performance schedule, you’ll have to check out their Japanese blog at:
I remember hearing about a snake shop in Ueno when I first came to Japan. I went and searched for it, but was never able to find it. Imagine my surprise when I stumbled across it yesterday, almost right beside Matsuzakaya Department Store. My snake phobia prevented me from going in, but it seems to be both a restaurant serving snake dishes, and a pharmacy selling Chinese medicine made from snake products. If you’re curious to see it, the shop’s name is Bunkyuudou, and the address is 4-4-1 Ueno, Taito-ku, Tel. 3831-2770. It’s near Okachimachi Station on the Yamanote Line, but the easiest way to get there is from Ueno Station. Go out the Central Exit and turn right, going past Marui Department Store and Yodobashi Camera on the left and the entrance to Ueno Park on the right. Keep going until you see Matsuzakaya Deprartment Store on the left. The snake shop is about half a block before it on the same side.
By the way, while I was looking for information about this shop, I found out that there are shops selling snake dishes and snake-derived medicine all over Japan. Here’s a Wikipedia page with a list: http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E5%91%B3%E8%A6%9A%E6%A5%B5%E6%A5%BD
All the protestors in this demonstration, many of whom were in wheelchairs, were wearing helmets, sunglasses, and masks, as if they were very afraid of the police. It was against the Joint Security Treaty with America, and there seemed to be a lot of confrontations with the dozens of police officers who were escorting the protesters.