Taiwan and Japan

2015 - 2016

Day 14

R&R, Shibuya and Akihabara

After a massive day of shopping yesterday, I’m all shopped out so I decided to take a day off today while the others went to “Nakano Broadway” which is a big shopping complex famous for anime and manga merchandise. I’m not a huge fan of this stuff so I wouldn’t appreciate it as much as everyone else but from what I saw in our group chat it sounded like they spent a lot of money!

I had a proper sleep in today and got up sometime between 10:00 and 11:00, had some breakfast and wrote some blog posts. I think this trip has been my poorest attempt at a blog, I keep falling behind! We have been having a lot of long days and late nights and by the time we get back I’m normally too tired to blog - maybe I’m just getting old! Today was a good chance to catchup although I still didn’t finish all the posts for the days I’m missing.

As I was blogging I had our group chat opened along side my blog and I could see all the chatter from the group. It sounded like they were having a ball buying a ton of anime stuff. The one thing that I was jealous of was the sushi train restaurant they went to. Around that time I went down the street for a walk, got some fresh air and some supplies, more fruit and a roll.

Sarma and Chris actually had their own plans today as well. Sarma has some friends here in Japan and wanted to meet up with them, so Chris went along to keep him company. Later that afternoon Sarma suggested we all meet up for dinner, so our Taiwan group planned to meet in Shibuya at 6pm while the other group made their own plans.

We met at the famous Hachiko statue. It seemed like it would be impossible to find them amongst such a massive crowd, but surely enough we found each other right on time. Sarma introduced us to Ayumi and Chika and we crossed the road to go to dinner. Ayumi and Chika were very friendly and had booked us into a really nice restaurant right called “Shibuya Dining” on the busy main intersection. They helped us translate the menu and order, while we tried to slow down our speaking so they could join in on the conversation with their limited English.

Dinner was great! We started ordering a dish each as we normally do, but then decided to get a bunch of dishes and share so we could all try everything. We basically used the pictures in the menu to pick and Ayumi and Chika would then explain what was actually in the dish. This was also good practice for them to speak English. Ayumi and Chika were very helpful so we all chipped in a paid for their meal, they were so surprised we did that for them and were very grateful.

From dinner Amy wanted to go to the Disney store that was around the corner, this was the one that we had gone to last time to buy our DisneyLand tickets and Amy’s birthday present. While we were here we decided to get our DisneyLand tickets now, saves us lining up when we get there. Sarma also bought a gift for Ayumi and Chika to say thank you for spending the day together, it sounds like Chris and Sarma had quite an adventure today.

The next stop was Akihabara. We parted ways with Ayumi and Chika along the way to Akihabara and when we arrived we thought we would try a maid cafe. On the way we saw the AKB48 cafe and shop so we had to stop for Chris, who is a die hard fan. We looked around the gift shop and got a photo (and video) of excited Chris. Pretty sure he is coming back here to buy tickets if he gets enough spare time.

This is my third time to Tokyo and I had never dared to go into a maid cafe, but we wanted to tick as many stereotypical Japanese things off our list as possible and Chris was really excited to see what they were like. It was one of the strangest experiences I’ve ever had. Definitely the weirdest thing on this trip and pretty hard to describe the mixed feelings of confusion, amazement and caution. The maids were overly cutified with high pitch voices and the persona of a preschool girl with a very fun and energetic attitude.

We paid about $30 which covered the service fee (about $5) and a “dessert combo” that included a dessert of our choice, a drink, a souvenir of our choice and a photo with the maids. The room looked like a venue for a 5 year old girls birthday party with disco lights and “cute” music and the maids were singing and dancing and playing little games with all the patrons. When our maid brought us our dessert we all had to clap to a beat and say some “cute” Japanese words while making “cute” gestures. This happened to everyone, every time some new food or drink would arrive and sometimes all the maids in the room would join in.

Every now and then the lights would dim and there would be a little performance where the maids would get on stage to sing and everyone would be clapping, singing and dancing along. Chris even bought a glowstick to join in on the fun. There were even a few people celebrating a birthday so the whole place would sing a crazy happy birthday song for them, although I get the impression taking someone to a place like this for a birthday is more of a prank than an actual celebration. One of the groups that were there for a birthday were from Melbourne and when everyone was singing happy birthda