Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Tuesday 15th December

Another busy day with some estimates of distance walked getting to around 16 kms, though that seems a little high.
The morning started with a short exploration of the Youth Hostel area, which was mainly finding the nearest convenience store, eating ice-creams at 9:00am, and then heading for the train to Harajuku. Harajuku's Takeshita-dori is the centre of young people's Tokyo, and famous for the cute, strange and popular. The demographic is teenage girls and some boys. Our early start meant we beat the crowds and had time to look around without being unduly crushed. 
By the time we left at around 10:45 the street had filled considerably. Many of the group found further ways to boost the Japanese economy.

At the start of Takeshita-dori

Shopping for ...


..candy floss !!!

Being photo-bombed by one very strange but amusing street performer (we presume)

What we were trying to do.

Then we moved on to Shibuya with the compulsory photo with Hachiko.

The crowds at Shinjuku and Shibuya were amazing and took some getting used to. Although we missed rush hour, we were still quite tightly packed in on one or two of the trains we took. 
At Shibuya the group had two hours to explore the area, and most found something to buy during that time. H&M and Forever 21 were the main beneficiaries, but as one boy commented, he couldn't get a pair of cool blue suede shoes for $65 in Westfield!
For a little more Japanese pop-culture, we moved on to Ikebukuro to find the "Pokemon Centre" on the second floor of what was the tallest building in Tokyo, before the turn of the century. Some of the group were in heaven, while a few others chose to sit the experience out, and keep their wallets and purses closed.

We left for Akihabara Electric Town, and searched for a retro-video and computer game store called "Super Potato", which proved a little difficult to find, being tucked in a small alley and up some stairs. Mr Smith re-acquainted himself with some of the games he played when he was a young teenager, quite some time ago. In the area were many "maid cafes" and similar businesses, and the group were approached by a number of young girls dressed in various costumes, touting for business. The streets and alleys were well lit, and the advances were very polite and non- threatening, and the costumes were colourful, but most were taken by surprise with this strange side of modern Japan.
On returning to the hostel, there was a small birthday celebration, with cake and candles for Keimpe's birthday.

Unfortunately, one of the group was taken ill around mid-night, and Mrs Tappenden took her to the after-hours clinic to be checked out. Luckily, nothing major was discovered and both returned around 2:30am. Wednesday's schedule will be slightly re-arranged when both the girl and Mrs Tappenden have had a few more hours of much needed sleep.