Kamilah Taylor
Edit: Though this post was started while in Japan, and much of it written in Japan, I didn’t finish it till recently so have decided to move the publishing date. Originally this was going to be in multiple posts, but I decided to put my 4 days in Tokyo in one post – a tall order, I know! Hope you stick through to the end, sorry this is so delayed, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed all the experiences. =)
Being the geeks that we are, our first order of business in Tokyo was Akihabara, home of the electronic flea market.
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This place had everything electronic you could think of. Really, everything.
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If I weren’t a starving grad student, I’d have gone to town here. And of course where you find nerds you’ll find anime and manga fans, so….
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That last picture was taken in a figurine store, where Lars bought a figurine from his favorite anime. Definitely in nerdville…
Next up, Harajuku, considered by some as the fashion capital of Tokyo. The principal reason for visiting Harajuku was because my uncle’s (Marcus Burrowes) fashion line, Rockers NYC, is carried at a store there.
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The most exciting part of finding Uncle Marcus’ clothes was that when the sale attendant found out that I was the niece of the designer or Rockers NYC, she actually bowed to me, and said his shirts sell very well.
Located in Harajuku is Meiji, a pocket of peace and tranquility inside every busy Tokyo. You feel like you’ve walked into the countryside, you can’t even hear city sounds once your inside.
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There are many very large gates here, I believe one of them is reputed to be the largest wooden gate in the Japan. The height of it is 12 m, the diameter of each pillar is 1.2 m, and the distance between the two pillars is 9.1 m. Of course a picture is worth a thousand words:
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Heading back to the bustle of Tokyo, we explored Harajuku some more. Harajuku is filled with several teenagers all in the very latest fashion and street after street of little boutique stores.
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Shinjuku is a bit more grown up and is filled with every store you’d expect to find on Michigan Ave. At this point, however, I was sick for the second time during the trip and went back to the hotel early…
We woke up at the crack of dawn and caught the first train so that we could see the infamous Fish Market. Here I saw more seafood than I’d ever wished to see. It was of course slightly hazardous, between the fishy (sometimes bloody) water, the motorized vehicles the fishmen were driving around, and of course, all the fish.
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Then there was the back room where the largest fish were. This was the only part that gringos weren’t allowed in, but we were allowed to observe by the doorway.
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The fish market does not only sell fish, after all the Japanese do not live on seafood alone. There was other produce, and of course there was sushi. This is probably the best location for a sushi restaurant, doesn’t get much fresher.
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Unfortunately since I was still recovering from my sickness the previous day, and because we had plans to go to a sushi train that evening, I was ready to risk eating much. I did have an excellent fried rice ball, which I’m told is a traditional Japanese breakfast meal. I took many short videos at the fish market, it seemed the best way to capture the colorfulness. These I will add to the post once I’ve uploaded an edited version on youtube.
We were done before 8 am, which is earlier than most places are open. We took a nap and then headed to Ueno to the Tokyo National Museum. Here we saw more pottery than we’d ever wished to see. The collection is quite incredible though, and very extensive. The grounds themselves are beautiful, as is every other place in Japan.
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Inside, the museum was just as beautiful as it was outside. The details on some of the walls were exquisite, and I don’t usually stop to admire clocks but the one in the stairway was gorgeous!
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There was a really large collection of buddhist statues, including a collection that illustrated the making of a statue. Some of the statues were from the 2nd century!
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There was much more but I could spend the entire post talking about all I saw at the museum…
After the museum we wanted to catch a boat to see Tokyo by water, but we unfortunately missed it. We at least got a nice view of the skyline.
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Next up – dinner at a Sushi Train!
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From the stack of plates, you can see that I had quite a lot of sushi that night, as much as I could afford to. Definitely made up for being sick the previous day! We rounded out the night by playing games in Shibuya.
The next day we went to a rather interesting place, Odaiba. Completely manmade, it’s home to the Statue of Liberty (why? don’t ask) and the creepiest mall we’d ever had the misfortune to stumble into. The train ride there gave us a great view of Tokyo Bay and Tokyo Drift! Yes, the reason they have the Tokyo Drift edition of some movie or video game is because they actually do drift in Tokyo!
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Now below you may see what seems to be a beautiful sky that you may observe on a beautiful day in Venice.
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It is instead a mall designed to look like Venice on a beautiful summer day. Why? Never ask that when dealing with the Japanese. This mall also came equipped with a chair of happiness.
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Other favorite things from Odaiba? The statue of liberty, the gyoza, and the cool Ferris wheel. I should clarify here – I really mean the other statue of liberty. Twas a bit odd to see it with a Tokyo skyline, but I’m certainly not asking why it was there. Also, gyoza is pretty much the best thing since sliced bread. If you’re ever at a Japanese restaurant and see it listed as an appetizer, order it.
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Next up, Kabuki, a traditional Japanese theatre form. No pictures allowed inside, but we watched it at Kabuki-za, the oldest Kabuki theatre.
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So that’s it for Japan posts, basically. I may do a dedicated Engrish post, just because I took so many pictures of it…
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