It’s no secret I spend an unusual amount of time at Inokashira Park. Inokashira Koen (井の頭公園) is a gorgeous park on the outskirts of Tokyo that, coincidentally enough, just happens to be in the same area of outskirts I live in. Inokashira Park is famous for, well, being famous. No one really knows why it’s famous, but everyone has heard of it.
When I travel and people ask me where I live, I always say “Kind of near Inokashira Park. You heard of it?”
And they’re always like “Yeah! I’ve heard of it! Wait… what is Inokashira Park famous for?”
I don’t know.
I love Inokashira Koen/Park (Koen means “Park” in Japanese) because of the small lake in the center of the park that lets you rent one of three types of boats (rowboat, paddle boat, paddle boat in the shape of a swan) and kind of go crazy.
Theoretically they make you pay for any damages incurred while you’re operating the boat, but I’ve seen distracted couples get their boats lodged scratched in the bushed (like me), careless children crash the boats into each other, and strange people sleeping in their boats crash into the shore.
Anyways, since I go to Inokashira Park at least once a month (we’re just going to leave it at that), I’ve started to notice what kind of people rent out the swan boats (I mean, aside from people like me). Also for more notes about the boats at Inokashira Koen, like cost of rental, hours of operation, and so forth, click here.
So, without further ado, I present to you: The X Types of People you who rent boats at Inokashira Park (ranked from most common to least common).
1. Single moms/dads with children. I don’t know why, but it’s always just one adult with 1-3 fairly well-behaved children. I guess the other adult has something better to do.
As a woman, something about the sight of one youngish man taking care of children kind of makes my heart pop a little bit. It’s adorable.
I have, on occasion, seen parent’s “split up” because of the weight limitations of each boat, sending the father and daughter in one boat and the mother and son in another boat. But when that happens, they usually stay side by side, crashing into each other for the hour. However, most of the time it’s just one dad, taking care of a couple children.
2. Old people and children. This one is by far my favorite (sorry, dads with children).
I see them everywhere. It’s usually an old man with his granddaughter and it is by far the most adorable thing I have seen in Tokyo (sorry if that seems lame to you).
3. Couples. You would honestly think that there would be more couples at Inokashira Koen. You would think. But then you would be wrong, because apparently riding on the swan boats at Inokashira Park with your lover fates the two of you to break up. This is a serious curse that I’ve heard about from several friends.
My fiance and I have ridden these boats five times in the last seven months. That means one of three things:
A. The curse is fake – and is something created by boyfriends/girlfriends who want to dump their significant others, but don’t want to get in trouble. That way they can go on the boats, then dump their girlfriend/boyfriend later. I don’t know, if I wanted to end a relationship without a hassle, that’s what I would do.
B. The curse doesn’t work of foreigners. This one is a distinct possibility and I’m ok with that. When this curse was formed back in the day (if it was formed), there probably weren’t a lot of foreigners. There still aren’t.
C. Ryosuke and I’s relationship is just really, really strong. Honestly, I’m putting my money on either this one or on choice A. If hours of How I Met Your Mother re-runs have taught me anythings, when two awesome people get together, their relationship is Legen-waitforit-dary.
4. Groups of pre-teen girls. I’m not a huge fan of groups of pre-teen girls regardless of the location. I didn’t like them at the midnight premiere of the third Twilight movie (forgot the name) and I don’t like them on my lake.
They take a lot of pictures (like me), aren’t good at steering the boat (like me), and are really loud and obnoxious (like me). Basically, they are too close for comfort.
5. Bro-mances. I still don’t understand this one,but there is an unusually high number of bromances going on at the lake at Inokashira Koen. I’m not just talking about highschool/college age bromances, I’m talking about wearing-a-suit-and-tie-professional-Japanese-men bromances.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve passed two Japanese businessmen in suits, just chilling on the lake. A couple weeks ago when I was there with my friend from America, we were convinced the rowboat behind us, with two grown men inside, were following us.
Nope, turns out they were just really into rowing the boat.
6. Groups of Mature Adults. No judgement at all, I think this is a good idea. I take my friends here all the time.
There are two types of photographers at Inokashira Park: the ones that stay on land and the ones that get up and personal on a boat.
Most photographers do what I do and take pictures of other boats. Occasionally I will snap a shot of the scenery, but I really just like people-watching.
Every once and a while I get a gem like this:
9. That one awkward guy who rents a rowboat and spends the hour paddling up and down the lake as a form of exercise.
10. That guy who rents the boat for several consecutive hours and falls asleep in the middle of the lake. I talked about him earlier. I’ve seen him twice already (which puts him on my ever-growing list of “Weirdest Hobbies in Japan” list I’ve been compiling).
11. Me. As often as I go, just by the sheer numbers game, that guy who sleeps in the boat probably has me beat. It’s ok. I have other things to pour my life into.
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