Sunday, September 04, 2005

Lost in Tokyo

After a VERY restful sleep, Terence and I got up and ready to tackle Tokyo.

We took the 3 minute walk to the JR station to catch the train to Shinjuku. On the way, we're seeing a lot of people walking around, and some cars getting towed! Terence has kinda become ethralled with all the different cars in Tokyo. At this point, I think we have more pictures of cars than we do of people/objects!

Here's Terence taking a picture as we're getting ready to cross the street to go to the JR station.

By this point I think we've pretty much mastered how to navigate the JR system. I look for English on the signs, and Terence reads the Japanese on the signs. With both of us navigating, we have yet to take the wrong train. (Although once, Terence had convinced himself that we were on the wrong train and told me to get off. By the time he realized that it was the correct one, the train had shut it's doors. :)

Terence at the JR station

A JR train

We decide that our first stop today will be to go to Harajuku. It's where the Meji Shrine are and all the teens that dress strangly hang out.

There's a long gravel trail that we have to walk to get to the Shrine. Thankfully it's through a lot of trees, and there's shade for us while we walk. Here Terence and I take a breather while on the way to take a picture. Notice the GPS on his belt loop? ;-) Terence hadn't charged the GPS while we slept, and seemed kind of worried that we wouldn't have it. I told him that we have all day to figure out where we are going, and that getting lost would be an adventure! :)

Here I am at the entrance to the Meji Shrine.

We arrive at ehe entrance to the shrine, and wash our hands. When we got inside the shrine we read that we were also supposed to wash our mouths out with the water, but we didn't do that. On this hot day, I have to admit that the water was very refreshing on my hands.

Terence and I then walked over to the wishing tree to check it out. There are all these wooden plates on this wall around the tree. People write their wishes and the spirits are supposed to grant them. Terence and I decided to both write wishes.

Here's Terence's wish!

While we were at the shrine, we were lucky enough to see a marriage procession!

The nurse in me kept thinking that those poor people are going to get heat stroke dressed in all those layers! After exploring the Shrine some more, we decide to go and check out Harajuku and find something to eat.

Upon the entrance to the Meji shrine, there are all these sake containers. Aren't they cool to look at? I asked Terence if he thought that there was any sake in them. He didn't think so.

Here's some of the interestingly dressed people outside the shine.
See, they have nurses in Japan too! :)

Terence and I make our way back to the JR station to go back to Shinjuku. Terence spots a sushi restaurant where they have a conveyer belt! He knows I've never eaten sushi like this so he suggests to eat in Harajuku. I don't complain, it's sushi! :)

We had many yummy things, including fried chicken bits for Terence and strongly flavored shrimp rolls, and even grilled mackrel! All of it was yummy. The charge is by the color of the plates. We even had dessert of sweet potatoes with syurp. Very sweet, but good!

After lunch we decided to check out some yarn stores (woohoo!). So, we took the JR trains to Kichijoji to set out to find two stores recommended by one of my knitting magazines.

On the way there, we walk through a food court, and vow to visit it on the way back.

Mmmmm.... Sweet things to eat.

A poor dog getting groomed while we're on the way to the yarn store.

Now, Tokyo is a little challenging to navigate. The addresses given for navigation look like this: Sheep Meadow 2-27-8. It breaks down to the Vector-block number-unit number. Terence and I had a CHALLENGE to find the first shop, Sheep Meadow. Terence asked for directions twice, and when we finally found block 27, we walked all the way around it to find unit number 8.

The ladies there looked at me kind of funny until I said Vogue Knitting (the magazine they were featured in). It's a beautiful but very tiny yarn store.

After exploring that shop (and the ladies in the shop telling Terence where to find the next one) we walked back towards the JR station. The next shop we visited was Yuzawaya. This shop is more like a department store with all sorts of offerings from fabric to model trains, to yarn. Terence and I split up in this store so he could visit the model section (I'd put in one of his pictures of it, but they were all blurry!) I went off to visit the HUGE yarn section.

Decisions, decisions....

On the way out, we stopped in the section that offered Miyazaki merchendise. Terence admitted to me while looking at the stuffed animals that he missed Scout (one of our kittens) and ended up buying the cat from Kiki's Delivery Service.

We then stop for a quick snack in the food court that's near the JR station before heading back to the hotel to drop our stuff off.

Terence suggests to go and find the last yarn store on the list, as it's too late to visit Akihabara and he wouldn't have good light to take pictures of all the goodies there. So we make our way back to Shinjuku station and disembark. Okadaya was even harder to find.

We had to stop for directions several times. :)

But we finally found it. :)


By this time (and all that walking!) Terence and I are hungry. He wants to share with me the experience that is Kobe beef. And can I just say, all the stuff you hear about it is true! SOOOOOOO GOOD! And look, I could even cut it with a fork!

Try doing that with American beef!

After our dinner, Terence and I decide to explore Shinjuku some more. While walking around the neighborhood, I told Terence that I felt that walking through the Tokyo streets felt very cartoonish--like the proportions were off or something. He completely understood what I meant and thought that may be due to the tallness of the buildings and all the signs and neon.

Still, I think Tokyo is a pretty cool place, and if I could speak Japanese, I think I could live here. :)

Look what we found while we walked thorugh the neighborhood! A SQUARE watermelon!

How cool is that?

So, by now, it's about 10 pm and we're getting tired, and we decide to go back to the hotel and get ready for the next day. We stop at the AM PM and get some snacks. Here's Terence's. :)


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