Day 3: Harajuku take 1

It was dark when we arrived at the train station in Harajuku. Great shopping including a 100 yen shop on the main street, and seriously fancy shopping a street away.

20111008-073436.jpg

20111008-073457.jpg

We walked into the costume shop and ogled over some blingin’ suits and corset outfits which were not just for Halloween… I took a picture of the display and got yelled at but the street is so loud I didn’t hear.

Down a side street past some art galleries, one with a great painting of an octopus flower, we found the restaurant. It was okonomiyaki, really yummy with lots of egg and a little bacon.

20111008-073859.jpg

20111008-073910.jpg

I took another picture that does not feature my outstretched arm, but apparently failed to upload the right version.

Instead of getting back on the train at Harajuku, we walked through Shibuya, crossed the famous intersection, and took a train back. Every designer name was featured here, and they recently got Forever 21 and H&M too. We stopped in at a gigantic Ralph Lauren to check out the men’s bags (boys carry bags here, not just backpacks or laptop cases). They had some cool displays but I imagine they would frown on photography.

We also went into a mall designed by a famous architect but I dont have photos there either because I obeyed the ‘no photography’ sign. And because the French sweets store was too crowded. Vincent and I looked at the varied flavors of macaroons.

We did not see any of the crazily dressed Japanese people who hang out here but if we return at the right time we maybe can take some stealth photos of them. Dain says they freak out if you ask to take a picture…. But we are tourists so maybe they will oblige?

On the way, we popped into a conveni where Vincent bought an energy drink and I got an ice cream cone. I almost bought ice cream but it was something like ¥350 for a single serving size of haagen-daz. The ice cream I did buy was not overly sweet and had a stiffer consistency than the ice cream in the states, and the chocolate topping was the perfect amount. Possibly they use whole milk in everything, or cream?

20111008-080228.jpg

20111008-080238.jpg

We are serious pros now and I could maybe get myself a few places alone by train, if it is a newer train that uses some English letters…the older trains are all in Japanese so we can’t tell if they are saying this exit Shibuya or next exit Shibuya. They announce the future stop so you can be ready.

Vincent tried train surfing earlier today, where you don’t hold the handles or the railing and you us balance so you don’t fall over into people when the train lurches. I bet you can get killer abs doing that.

We have reserved a room at an onsen? I’m not sure I spell things correctly here. So tomorrow night will be about an hour from here. We can spend the day relaxing and soaking in hot springs, and the night feasting and doing the same.

After all this walking around (my purse and my calves feel like a brick by the end of the day) we can all use a good soak in hot water.

Day 3: The great earbud search

Todays window shopping is brought to you by Kichijoji. We hit the mall and the electronics store so Vincent could replace his broken earbuds.

20111008-065930.jpg

The earbuds are on floor three. I have never seen such a large and loud electronics store. Sales people are yelling out sales, the machines are demonstrating their speakers and loudspeakers were announcing who knows what as we wandered the first three floors.

20111008-070131.jpg

Pretty sure neither of us have ever seen so many choices in earbuds. We literally browsed aisle after aisle pondering the merits of jewels, in-ear vs. out of ear, color and size and brand. And we found walk-men! I didn’t even know people still used those!

20111008-070246.jpg

20111008-070639.jpg

The whole experience was so overwhelming that Vincent succumbed to decision fatigue and could not pick so we left.

20111008-070431.jpg

20111008-070539.jpg

While he was checking them out, I messed with my camera some more. Then we sat on a bench and people-watched/rested our feet for a bit.

20111008-070844.jpg

20111008-070740.jpg

We found a pretty cool looking apartment building a few doors down from the electronics store. I liked the pattern of the balconies and the stairs leading to the first floor.

20111008-071048.jpg

20111008-071056.jpg

Vincent finally made a decision and then we hoofed it back to the train for Harajuku for dinner!

Day 3: Kichijoji, Shibuya and Harajuku

Following a leisurely morning sleeping in, we hit the town to see more of Kichijoji and for dinner met up in Harajuku.

Because it’s fall, and the Japanese are very stylish (at least in our age group), we left the sandals at home and wore season-appropriate clothes and shoes. We noticed a couple other foreigners wearing sandals, but all the Japanese were in closed-toed shoes.

Lunch was Indian food at a restaurant run by Nepalese people. I had pumpkin curry and Vincent ordered mutton curry, followed by chai tea. The place had been featured on tv so they played the clip for us.

I also started playing with the camera settings, as you’ll see in future pictures.

The colorful photo at the end was a display outside a store across the street from the Indian restaurant. I love the bright colors. Standing next to it was a tall wooden wine rack, but i couldn’t fit it in one photo because we were standing too close. The streets, especially the narrow ones, are full of people all the time. You have to keep moving. Everyone seems to have a destination.

We did a little window shopping today but unfortunately shoes here do not fit me! My 9.5 size feet won’t fit into the dainty flats or comfortable looking boots. I asked if the shoes here are made better or more comfortable because people do so much walking every day, but was told no, the shoes can be just as uncomfortable.

20111008-064300.jpg

20111008-064308.jpg

20111008-064314.jpg

20111008-064320.jpg

20111008-064338.jpg

We were walking around looking for a recycling bin for our empty water bottles when we turned down the wrong street and found some seedy looking signs, girls in maid costumes that totally could have been early Halloween but weren’t, and a neat-looking building filled with bars.

Streets here are so clean! There are people everywhere, biking, walking, crowding into the intersections, and yet I’ve seen ONE piece of litter so far. And that was wedged between the slots in a bench, so it was probably accidental.

20111008-071515.jpg

These racks are for bicycle parking. Some you can park overnight. People don’t lock their bikes up like we do — they have a back wheel lock/kickstand.

And though the sodas, ice cream, sweets and other foods aren’t as sweet, Dr. Pepper tastes the same.

20111008-071654.jpg