So now that I’ve had two full days here, I’m starting to really adapt to life in Tokyo, also, I’ve noticed a few things:
1. Tourists don’t take the Metro/JR/anything. Every time my family and get onto a train, people give us the strangest looks. Not like a disgusted look, just a “wow. white people.” look. It’s actually really interesting. Coming from San Francisco and New York, I’m use to just a bombardment of cultures, and races, without assuming that they are tourists. ESPECIALLY SF (because I’ve taken more public transit there), there are so many Asian people in SF and surrounding areas, that I never assume they are a tourist. But in Tokyo, there is NO (or practically none from what I’ve seen..) western Immigration.
2. Walking and using phone isn’t taboo. Not saying that it is in America, but EVERYWHERE I look people are using their phones, while walking, talking, on the metro. It’s really interesting just to compare cultures, not in positive or negative ways, but just seeing how we differ as countries.
NOW! Onto what I’ve done the last couple days!
Day 2: Fish Market/Ginza/Harajuku/Shibuya (28 June 2010) (Monday)
So, we all fell asleep around 10pm on Sunday night, and got up around 8am, which worked out nicely cause we wanted to get an early start. We immediately headed down to the water, to Tsukiji Fish Market. being a vegetarian, it was a very…interesting experience. I didn’t ENJOY it so to speak, but it was very different then what I was used to. The market is located in a HUGE warehouse, and within the warehouse are thousands of stalls selling all kinds of fish products, some just selling toppings or packaged goods, others gutting the fish right there for all to see. A lot of the stands had Styrofoam crates which housed all kinds of odd fish that I’ve never seen before. Once we were done walking around there (The stall workers would throw dirty fish water on the ground, so it was really slippery), we walked around a few streets in Tsukiji. Lots of stalls selling all kinds of goods. We got a knife 😀 We also got sushi (because the fish market is RIGHT THERE.) I got Kappa Maki (cucumber sushi), and it was soooo good (I mean, I make goooood sushi, but this was great). Instead of serving you wasabi and giner, they add the wasabi to the sushi. It was tough at first, cause I’m not trained for spices like that, but now I love it!
Next, we took the train to Ginza, which was really like Manhattan, so we didn’t spend too much time there. We saw the Sony building and decided to escape the heat. We got to demo some 3D tv’s which were awesome, but you still have to wear glasses, so I don’t know if the trend will catch on or not. My family split up there. My dad went off on his own, and my mother, my sister and I went back to Harajuku. We didn’t spend that much time there the day before, so we figured it’d be fun to go back on a less crowded day.
We got there and immediately went into Closet Child, which is a second hand Gothic Lolita/Visual Kei/Sweet Lolita second hand store. A lot of the clothes were still REALLY expensive even though they were second hand (Because they are all name brand). I did get a REALLY AWESOME orange zip up Algonquins dress for only 1,400 yen (Which is around $14 US). I will post pictures eventually :P. Then, we walked around some more and I got a tutu from Mania Q, a bow tie from Body Line (I got a skirt the day before, as well from Body Line), bloomers, a pin, and some pens from Swimmer, and some silly stuff from Daiso.
We then walked to Laforet, a mall located near Takeshita-Dori. SO AMAZING. I had a Lolita-gasm. The bottom most floor was the best, because that’s where all the epic Gothi-Loli stores were. Alice and the Pirates, Angelic Pretty, Atelier Pierrot, Peace Now/Black Peace Now, Sexy Dynamite and more. I wanted to buy EVERYTHING. Maybe when I’m rich one day.
After I could breathe again, I got a crepe from a street stand, and we went back to the hotel for a little break before dinner.
We went to dinner on some side street near our hotel, and it was an interesting experience. We got soba noodles, but instead of ordering like normal, we used a little machine. Put our yen in the slot, clicked the button that had a picture that we liked, and boom our food was ready in under 5 minutes. It was crazy.
After dinner, we took the train to Shibuya, and went to Shibuya 109. Gah! It was so awesome. Another mall, not quite Gothi-Loli, but still really awesome none the less. Most of the stores weren’t very expensive either, so teens to early 30s could shop there.
Day 3: Asukusa/Museums/Lots of Walking (29 June 2010) (Tuesday)
Last night I went to bed around 11:30 or 12am, which was good because I am adjusting to the time pretty fast. I was able to talk to my boyfriend last night on Skype as well, which made me happy :).
This morning, we woke up around 8 again, and we were out of the hotel by 9am. Took the train down to Asukusa, and got some food down there. Asukusa is known for it’s Tempura, and there was a stand open that early selling all kinds of veggies and fish tempura. I got sweet potato, onion, and string beans. We also gave in and went to a Starbucks. It was kinda cool o.O We were embarrassed to go in, because we are American going into a Starbucks..but it was busy. It was really awesome, because Soy Latte was RIGHT on the menu! I didn’t have to ask for anything special! It was yummy.
We went to a bunch of shrines and temples (I honestly can’t remember the names right now, because I am tired). I got to shake a metal box (while doing so, making a wish)that dropped a stick out, and I had to match the Japanese character written on the stick to the box. The character was a drawer, and inside was a fortune. I got “Best Fortune”. We also washed our hands in a holy fountain.We walked EVERYWHERE. From the FunFair, to shrines and temples on the other side of town. By lunch time, we went to a traditional style restaurant. We had to take our shoes off and sit on the ground on mats. It was cool, but I didn’t like what I ordered. (Which was alright, because I was still pretty full from the tempura). We also found this “crafts” museum, which was really just an upstairs room showing off locals that still do traditional crafts. It was cool, but it wasn’t a very long experience. Then we went across the town to the Drum Museum, which was actually closed. But the store was open, and it had all kinds of traditional drums, outfits and other instruments.
After that, we took a taxi to the Edo-Tokyo Museum. It was REALLY COOL! It had a lot of artifacts from the 17th century (When Edo, now known as Tokyo, was founded). They recreated Kabuki Stages, Houses, clothing, and more. All real-life sized. Another really cool feature was window exhibits that looked like models, but “came to life”.
By this point, it was around 5:30pm, and we were all tired, but we still decided to stay out, and went to Ueno park, which was a shlep, but we stuck it out. We found a cool statue that had a lot of paper cranes in all shapes and colors hung up. (I took some great macro shots). Then we went back to the hotel for a short rest before dinner, which was sushi again.
Tonight we wanted to go out and do something fun, instead of just sitting in the hotel room, so we decided to go bowling. We took the train to Shinjuku and found a bowling alley. It was fun, but we only played one game because we had a long day before us, and felt like walking around a bit before going back to the hotel. We found a Pachinko Parlor, and wanted to go in. I played a round of it (I can’t even EXPLAIN what it is, go look it up.) It was kind of stupid especially that we didn’t totally know how to play, just based on the few english words the clerks spoke, but it was fun none the less.
The best part of today? Walking out of the parlor, to the pouring rain. The busy Shinjuku streets filled with people my age (I would have loved to stay out later, but I’m with my parents, so I take what I get), umbrellas up, and excitement up as well. Right now, the Japan vs. Paraguay game ended 0-0 .We were out before the game, and people were SCREAMING in the streets with excitement!!! I felt so proud to be in Japan, even though I’m not even Japanese 😛
Now I’m off to bed, looking forward to tomorrow. We are going to Roponngi Hills, and the Alice and Wonderland themed restaurant for dinner 😀