Day 1 - 2 (Tokyo)
21.03.2012 - 23.03.2012 19 °C
(Shinjuku (Kabuki St/red light area), Meiji Shrine, Harajuku, Shibuya (purikura/arcade , Shiba statue, maid cafe), Akihabara (electronics), Imperial Palace, Tokyo Station)
Being hosting us at his apartment in Iogi, our super nice British couchsurf host Dave took us around the West/Central Tokyo area today. We started the day with looking for Melissa's jacket in one of the lockers at Seibu Shinjuku Station, where we believe she left yesterday while testing out the sizes of the lockers. Unfortunately that jacket might be lost to us forever.
It is very amusing walking/training around with Dave. He's a whole head taller than everyone else! This proved hazardous for him, especially on a rainy day like today when all the opened umbrellas are at his eye level, attempting to take an eye or two out with every step he took. Fortunately our human-GPS survived.
The maid cafe was a HUGE rip-off. We went just to experience it, but like Melissa said, going to a ramen place instead would've been a better use of the money. 500yen cover charge/person, each have to order something from the menu, and a picture cost 500yen. But the majority of the entertainment was watching the middle-age bussinessmen repeating grossly cute phrases after the maids when they bring them the food. The fake, high-pitch, squeaky voices also made my ears hemorrhage. Interesting experience none the less.
We got a bit lost in Shinjuku Station trying to get to the Sumitomo Building to catch our night express bus to Matsuyama, so ended up just taking the taxi there. Turned out the bus was also 45minutes late, so we could've walked it if we really tried. Right now Melissa is sleeping next to me and we are 11 hours from our destination.
＼（＾∀＾）メ（＾∀＾）ノ ＼（＾∀＾）メ（＾∀＾）ノ ＼（＾∀＾）メ（＾∀＾）ノ
- 10 hour plane ride (US 2pm - Japan 4:15pm)
- Got our luggage, went to get the sim card for our phone, called home, and headed to take the train to Shinjuku!
- We just got on the first train that we saw, hoping it would take us to Nippori. Afterwards we switched over to Station 11, where it took us to Shinjuku station. When we arrived, we tried to find a locker to put our luggage inside so we could go exploring while our couch surfing host was finished with his plans. Except one small problem - OUR BAGS WERE TOO LARGE FOR THE LOCKERS! Luckily, we got a text from our host that his plans have changed and could meet up with us at Seibu-Shinjuku anytime. We immediately called him and told us he would come in 10 minutes. During those time, my sister and I observed the people walking in Seibu-Shinjuku station.
- Dave finally found us and took us to his place. We rode on a local train to Iogi station and dropped off our bags in his house. After settling for a bit, he took us to a cheap place to eat in Takadanobaba. Everything (or most) dishes and drinks were 270 yen! So we got a couple of drinks, yakitori, chicken katsu, and salad. The atmosphere was the most interesting - relaxed, but exciting; new, but comforting - a mixture of contrasting feelings. Listening to the laughs from drunk businessmen, ordering our food from a high-tech tablet menu, and inhaling more second-hand smoke I have had in a year, it was definately an experience that one could only get in Japan.
- After some delicious food, we headed back to Dave's place, took a warm shower, and called it a night.
I lost my jacket! We went back to Seibu-Shinjuku station, hoping to find it in to Seibu-Shinjuku station, hoping to find it in the locker, but no luck. I really wanted to find it, but we had limited time, so I tried my best to accept the fact that it just might be lost forever. Dave took us to many different places in Tokyo - Shinjuku, Harujuku, Shibuya, Akihabara, and the Imperial Palace.
Harujuku - we started our day by going to the Meiji Jingu. It was drizzling, but a nice walk nonetheless. The first of many temples that we will go to! Afterwards we went to harujuku, the place with interesting clothing and the cutest totoro bags! Definately planning to return to Harujuku after the pilgrimage.
Shibuya - there was an arcade, so we decided to go in to take my first purikura! Most of the machines didn't allow any males, but there were some that allowed males.
Akihabara - the district of manga, anime, maid cafes, and electronics. If you are an otaku, this is the place for you. There are lines of shops that sells all your favorite manga and anime. If you're hungry, you can go up to the maid cafe and be served by the maid of your dreams. We wanted to see what the maid cafes were like, so we decided to go up. It was... expensive for the amount of food we got, but it was definately a one-time experience. Business men go there to enjoy being called master. Squeeky maid voices that gives me goosebumps - it's a cute overdose. But it was definately an entertainment to watch these old guys do all these cutesy stuff with the girls. Afterwards, we went up to the largest electronics shop in Akihabara - over 7 stories high!
Imperial Palace - we decided to walk to the Imperial Palace, the place where the current emperor lives. The palace was guarded and closed when we went, but it's open two times a year (during New Years and on the emperor's birthday).
Afterwards, we went back to Dave's place to pack up so we can take the night bus to Matsuyama. Of course, we got lost after we arrived at Shibuya. I got kind of flustered by all the people walking around the station. We eventually gave up and decided to take the taxi - 780 yen. Sigh, at least we got where we needed to go and experience the crazy night life of Shibuya.