2009 - 2010

Day 10


Today was the day we planned to visit Shibuya - known for its crazy fashion shopping, really busy intersection and night life. We actually got a lot done in this day, so just a warning, this post will be long!

The first thing I needed to do before we headed off to see stereotypical Tokyo was to book our Hakone tour to Mt. Fuji for tomorrow. After talking to the tour company the day before and talking it over with the group, we decided to book a ¥ 16,000 full blown guided tour of Mt. Fuji and Hakone with English speaking guide, boat ride, ropeway ticket, fancy “Japanese lunch” and a bullet train (Shinkansen) ride back to Tokyo.

After this was all sorted, we headed for Shibuya. We had a rough list of things to do, and one of them was a park (garden). We finally got to a station that was close to Shibuya, but closer to these gardens and slowly made our way through. We weren’t sure if we were going the wrong way, and eventually just left. All we really saw was some (possibly homeless) guy urinating on a tree and plenty or people running, riding and walking their dogs.

The next thing on the list was a sword museum. What we didn’t realize is that it was hidden away in (what looked like) the suburbs. We spent ages walking through these small winding streets with level crossings for the trains. Eventually we got there, and it was actually pretty cool.
At first, i just looked like a room full of swords behind glass, but after reading the English handout (“The manual to sword appreciation”) it was cool to see the different temper patterns from the sword makers and markings of different eras. Unfortunately photos were not allowed.

Next stop was the Square Enix Center. After walking for quite a while to get out of the suburbs, we got a little lost and asked some locals for directions. They didn’t speak English, but some near by teenagers heard and very enthusiastically offered to take us there after they heard the words “English” and “Final Fantasy”. It turns out it was right around the corner. Unfortunately it was closed, so we took photos and headed off.

Not knowing exactly what to do next, we headed to the station and went back to Shinjuku. This was mainly because we didn’t see too much of Shinjuku and we were all hungry and figured there would be lots of options.

We got to Shinjuku station and hunted around for some food. The station is absolutely massive. It is Tokyo’s largest station and gets 3.5 million commuters per day!

In the end we ended up at a chain burger place called “Lotteria” which is where I had the worst burger I have ever tasted! I had a BLT and even asked them to leave out the onion (yes I don’t like onion) and still the letuce and tomato tasted like chemicals, meat was flavorless, no tomato sauce, only mayonnaise, and it had some crazy spicy mustard stuff that left a horrible after taste.
I am a very fussy eater, but this was bad.

We stopped at another multifloor electronics store to shop around and ended up being amazed by small pocket computer (running linux) and dual screen tablet notebooks. Amy, with her addiction for Disney mechandise, ended up buying a Disney Asus eeepc, only thing is, it was mainly in Japanese, but thats easy fixed.

After finishing shopping and it started to get darker, Sarma decided we should go back to Shibuya. As we were pulling up to station we caught a glimpse of the amount of pedestrians on the street and were amazed! We headed for the mass of people until we came across the famous intersection. The lights either let traffic through, or all the people at once (which there are a lot of!). We headed for high ground for some photos at a Starbucks and then went to look at the shops.

There were lots of people dressed up in crazy outfits, bleached blonde hair and fake tan, called “Mamba”. There are actually lots of different styles and all have they’re own name, which makes the pop-culture scene in Shibuya so cool.

Shibuya also has lots of shopping! The streets are lit up and there are huge multilevel shops and people everywhere! We went into Shibuya 109, which is a multilevel fasion shop - turns out we needed Shibuya 109-2, which is for mens as the first one had nothing but womens clothing. It wasn’t a waste going in there though, there was screaming advertising girls in every shop and some unbelievable outfits.

We eventually left and started looking for somewhere to have dinner, but in the mean time, Robert found a shoe shop… we waited outside for quite a while just taking in the atmosphere and eventually Rob and Lee came out and Rob had bought shoes.

After this, we walked up and down the street a few time till we found a good place to eat, and it was really good! Well prices and I really enjoyed my meal. It was beef peices in lemon sauce, with noodles and a burger in a tomato based sauce with a side of rice. This is where I learned a new phrase “oyshikata” - which means “That was delicious”.

We decided to get a few more shots of the crazy intersection, but this time with the night sky (with light trails) and headed back to the station to go home.

At the Shibuya station there is a statue of a dog (Hachiko), which is very famous. The story goes that there was a man who used to be greeted  by his dog at the Shibuya station everyday when he would return from work, the man died and the dog would go to the station everyday at the same time waiting for his master to return. This statue was made after this dog and is now famous. It is used as a landmark and a meeting place now.

We finally got home for an early start for Hakone tomorrow and Lee decided to down a whole pack of “Frisk black mints” - which are small tablet-like mints that are really strong. 1 mint was enough for me, and it felt like it was burning, but lee did about 50! Its all been recorded :)