2009 - 2010

Day 13


Today, being a Sunday, we planned on going to Harajuku, famous for the “Cosplay” - the teenagers who dress up in crazy costumes and just hang around with friends near a famous Harajuku bridge every Sunday hoping to be snapped up by magazine photographers.

Of course, this is our last full day in Tokyo, and Anthony still wanted to get his samurai sword and some other gifts, so first stop today was back to the Asakusa markets. Anthony got his sword and Amy bought a Kimono.

We tried to keep it brief at Asakusa, as we didn’t want to miss the Harajuku Cosplay. We caught a train to Harajuku and found the famous bridge amongst alot of people! Initially we thought the crowds were for the Cosplay, but there really wasn’t that many costumes around, which was a little disappointing.
Here is a glimpse of what the streets were like:

We saw two girls dressed up getting there photo taken by some professionals and once they were done, we went up and asked for a photo. They made it clear that we could not take their photo by themselves, but if we were in the photo it was ok. So we all jumped in and I asked one of the pro’s to take our photo.

This photographer saw my camera and started adjusting settings and then attempted to see if he could fit his Canon flash on my Nikon (which wouldn’t work) and then took our photo.

As there weren’t many other dressed up people, we decided to follow the crowd to see what was happening, which lead us into Yoyogi Park where the Meiji Jingu shrine is situated.
As we followed the massive crowd through the park, we found a gift store, so we quickly ducked in before continuing through.
The further into the park we went, the more people there were. Eventually we came across alot of ice sculptures! There were at least 50 of these massive models that were taller than me.

We slowly made our way through admiring all these extremely intricate carvings and eventually got to the Meiji Jingu shrine in the middle of the Yoyogo Park.

Just outside of the shrine, there was a clearing that looked like it was roped off and there were a group of people all in what looked like traditional kimono getting there photos taken. We think this was a traditional Japanese wedding.

Inside the shrine gates, there were alot of people congregating in the middle and it looked like the crowd was slowly making its may into the shrine to pray and donate, so from here we started heading back out to the streets to see if anymore Cosplay were out and also to get some lunch.

As we got out of the park, there were more costumes around, but they were mostly gothic looking, where Sarma was hoping to see Anime costumes, so we took a few more photos and started the search for somewhere to eat.

Eventually we found a little alley way with what looked like a Japanese version of an Aussie Wendy’s. I ordered a “Oreo Shake”, a hotdog and a “Brazilian Pie” - which was like a long skinny pastry with tomarto sauce, cheese and bacon in the middle, then folded over and cooked. The meal was actually pretty good, but it took forever to be prepared! I was waiting in the little shop for around half an hour! Then to top it off, the little alley way was a wind tunnel full of smoke, so we were all waiting in the cold, smoky alley way while we ate.

After this we decided to give the Square Enix shop another go. We spoke to some locals at the Harajuku station to work out where to go, as none of us could even remember the name of the station we needed to go to.
We got there and looked around, it was actually fairly small, but they had a lot of gear in there. None of the stuff there really interested me as I’ve never even played Final Fantasy, but Sarma, Anthony and even Amy were loving it!
Anthony bought a ring and a necklace and Sarma bought a massive figurine.

A while ago we, while we were trying to find somewhere to eat in Ginza, we got the help of a local by the name of “Kazue” (pronounced Ka-zu-eh) and exchanged contact details, well a little a couple of days ago we planned on meeting up again one more time before we head home, which was tonight. So from the Square Enix shop we headed to Shibuya to meet at the famous meeting place - Hachiko.

We arrived a little before 7 and waited around for Kazue and her friend (that we hadn’t met yet). After a little while Amy spotted them and we headed out for dinner.

After I had mentioned that we have had trouble finding places to eat, and then when we did find places, the meal sizes were really small, Kazue decided to take us to an all-you-can-eat Italian buffet, which was actually fairly well priced.

We got to know each other better and met “Aya” (not 100% sure with that spelling). She was also very nice.

During dinner we went through some photos of our day in Harajuku and we now think all the commotion in Yoyogo Park was for “Coming of age day”.
Coming of age day is to celebrate when children reach the age of 20, thus allowing them to drink, smoke, etc. We knew about coming of age day, but this wasn’t until tomorrow, but it seems they did this celebration on the weekend while the actual ceremony is on the Monday (where foreigners are not allowed)

It was great going through the photos with locals, we had seen these lines with small bits of paper tied to them quite a few times now, including new years eve, and we knew it had something to do with fortune, but thanks to Kazue, we now know that when you receive your fortune, it is good fortune you keep it and if it is bad, you tie it to the line.

We also saw these big decorated barrels, which we thought we just for show, but it turns out they are full of Japanese Sake - thats a lot of sake!

After the buffet, we insisted on paying for Kazue and Aya’s meal against their will, and then they insisted on paying for dessert. We got very nice crepes in a back alley of Shibuya somewhere, luckily we had our very own tour guides because I was lost!

After talking about our Cosplay experience today, they also took us to a place where we could see and possibly buy some costumes, which ended up being Don Quites. We had seen the Don Quites in Roppongi, but not in Shibuya. None of us bought costumes, but we did buy some normal clothing. I bought a Akihabara jumper and a tshirt with the Japanese characters for “Tokyo Shibuya Store” - I’m glad we had translators!

From here we started heading to the station and on the way we stopped at a typical Japanese arcade to get some photo booth shots taken to remember the night. These photo booths are very popular in Japan and have a small room where a group of people can stand in while the screen tells you how to pose. Once you get about 6 different poses taken, you go around the back and decorate them, then it prints them out and you cut them up to take with you. We divided them up and the end of the night. These is actually a place like this on Swanston street, but they are not nearly as popular in Melbourne as they are in Japan (as far as I know)

Aya caught a different line to us and so when we got to the train station, we said our goodbyes and she exchanged email addresses with Amy and headed for her line.
Kazue walked us to our line, as she needed to catch a train nearby (possibly the same line in the other direction).
We said our farewells and she waved us off as we headed home.
We were given star treatment by these lovely girls and offered to pay back the favor if they ever come to Melbourne.
They made our last night in Japan very memorable and we all had a great time!

Thank you Kazue and Aya!