Sunday, October 7, 2012

Harajuku you doin'?

We spent today in Harajuku, a suburb of Tokyo - not sure if the girls or the suburb name came first but on weekends this is where to find yourself a Harajuku girl. Except apparently this weekend, maybe they were all washing their hair? Despite lack of Harajuku girls, the place is lovely.

 It was drizzling this morning (Ben's fault- last night he hoped it would "bucket down" and last night it did. It then continued as light rain until about lunch time today.) and we decided to go straight to Harajuku for breakfast. The shops didn't open until 11 (it is Sunday, afterall) so we had a bit of wandering before a quick coffee stop and people watching.

All of the high end shops are lining the main street- D&G, Chanel, Dior, Bvlgari and both sides have beautiful big green trees. There are lots of little off streets where we found creperies and smaller boutique shops.

When things started to open we stopped at a sushi train on the main strip. Walking in the door the three chefs and each waitress yell out good morning in unison to you. Confused by the sudden yelling and the waitress instructing us how to use a machine that wraps your wet umbrella in a sheath of plastic to keep it from dripping, Ben proceeded to place our umbrella in what turned out to be the bin. We didn't realise until we'd sat down and it was far too late to get up and take it out. At some point a waitress took it out for us. Haha

Then, taking our seats at the train which wraps around the room and encircles the chefs rolling sushi in front of you, we tried to do what we knew how to - put a small amount of soy in a dish and stir some wasabi in for dipping. There were two jars of green powder, both with small spoons. I put one small spoonful into my soy. I found out later, after wondering where everyone got the green tea they were sipping on that I had dissolved a spoonful of green tea into my soy. Learning curves, children, that's what it's all about. It was amazingly delicious sushi so all totally worth it.

We stopped in at KiddyLand (think bright colours, children singing Beatles covers and Hello Kitty), Zara and a great vintage clothes store on the way up to the big park in Harajuku that holds the Meiji Jingu Shrine - a Shinto Shrine dedicated to Emperor Meiji and Empress Shokem.

To get to the shrine involves a walk up a wide gravel path through a forest of green trees. You wouldn't believe you were in such a busy city on this walk- it was so peaceful.

My hair styled by: the wind and a low voltage Japanese hairdryer. Not even straightners would touch those bad boys on this day!

After our parks visit we had a drink (a mojito, Mum, and not a bad one either!) and a fried pizza - apparently a must try in Japan. Not especially mind blowing, just a fairly tasteless bolognese samosa.

After a little siesta back at the hotel we got back on the train to get to Shibuya and the busiest intersection in the world. We had dinner at a place where you order your meal from a machine (thank god for a couple of American guys who taught us how to use it) and the speciality is a steak that arrives at the table after just being sliced and placed on a sizzling hot plate and smeared with a butter of some sort. You turn and cook the pieces and coat them with different sauces at the table before eating them with a plate of plain rice and some sweet corn.

Also couldn't resist a spot of post dinner shopping at UniQlo- it hasn't seen the end of us.

Sorry for length of posts, I usually hand write a travel journal but figured this would do the trick instead. I'm making sure I'm thorough for memories sake!! Actually, I'm not sorry.


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