We are in Japan!
It finally feels like it now that the travel stresses are over. It also feels very very very humid. I’m not great with heat but we’ve had the same temperatures back home and I had been better with it….turns out I can’t deal with humidity at all. Both Dad and I need to sit down in a cafe regularly to rest our feet and enjoy their aircon. But it’s not stopping us enjoying ourselves!
Today we explored Shinjuku (this time further than just the family mart down the road) and also went to Shibuya!
One of the back streets in Shinjuku behind our hotel. This is what I came to see!
Shinjuku is mainly an administrative area, holding the metropolitan building and lots of businesses, however the closer you get to the station the more shops there are. We got to walk through some proper Japanese side streets filled with neon and instantly felt more like we were in Japan (or at least the Japan from the movies we had watched and the games we had played!)
Our first meal of the day was at a coffee shop, I fumbled a bit with my Japanese and instead of a cappuccino and a latte we ended up with a black coffee and a latte….my latte was very nice, not sure about Dads ‘cappuccino’. I had bought a melon pan from the family mart in our hotel and Dad had a tiny sandwich from the cafe, which lasted about two bites.
This was the view from the cafe window. The sandwich was tiny and the coffee was pretty awful (somethng that was going to become a recurring theme for the trip) but it was great to be able to watch the cars and people go by and realise that you were somewhere completely different from where you were yesterday.
So when we came upon a McDonalds ordering a Big Mac meal with Coke was A, much easier and B, much needed.
You order the meal and someone makes it for you. It looks like the photo on the wall and hasn't been standing around on a warming plate for an hour. Funnily enough it doesn't take any longer to get either.
I didn’t have anything but Dad said that the Big Mac tasted better made and it certainly looked a lot more like the photo and commercials! (It didn’t last long enough for me to actually get a photo though, so just take my word for it).
Now fully charged we began to explore the side streets of Shinjuku, starting with an arcade!
Sumikko Gurashi, they were everywhere. More on these later.
This was a lot of fun though I didn’t win anything (I TOTALLY SHOULD HAVE WON THE LOVELIVE BADGE THOUGH!) Dad has video proof of me failing….that’ll be posted later I’m sure.
Here it is :)
We didn’t come away with nothing though, Dad got a cute Gacha cat thing that holds your phone up (sort of). We then continued to look around the shops which is where I got my colour changing light stick! Now I am prepared for any concert!
We soon felt a little tired again though and needed a break so we went back to the hotel for a bit before heading out to Shibuya! We walked down what we thought was the entrance to a tube station but was actually an underground walkway. Also known as our new best friend. Its much cooler down there and takes us straight to Shinjuku Station (not somewhere I’d like to go again though its very busy and all sprawled out).
I wanna ice cream! waaaagh!
The walkways do have lots of shops and the first book shop I found I bought the AKB48XDog book, because why the hell not. It's super cute even for a cat person like me.
After figuring out where the hell we were going we got to Shibuya and found the Shibuya 109 exit (which incidentally was miles away from where we were). From our travels to Shinjuku I had found that my angel wing backpack was actually a giant pain in the ass. So we went to 109 to go and buy a new bag! Very exciting, even if I don’t wear anything remotely J-Fashion, I do love it and have always wanted to go there. All the girls (both customers and staff alike) were super cute and fashionable. I felt really unfashionable in comparision ;3;. I ended up with this bag from Ober Tashe, not a brand I had heard of but the girl was really nice and happy and cute and the bag was just the right size and is pretty cute too that I couldn’t resist, it was also in the sale!
The bag itself is great but the engrish on the plastic bag it came in was priceless.
Next we went to see the crossing and found a lovely cafe called L’Occitane (I didn’t know they did food I thought they just did smelly bath stuff) that looked down on it. The food was really good and the view was excellent! (even with the tree in the way).
L'Occitane was a great place. We got a place on the top floor in the photo below, above the sign. Japanese restaurants have baskets by your table where you can put your bags, hats etc so they're not in the way, another brilliant idea.
The food and drink were excellent. Japanese restaurants and cafes also provide free, endless, iced water which they hand out along with hand wipes as soon as you enter. These were a life saver as our trip progressed because the heat never let up.
We had a pretty good view of Shibuya crossing (apart from the tree). This is a famous crossing, seen in many movies and games. Shibuya station is a massive underground complex full of people, not the busiest station in the world- that honour goes to Shinjuku station, and every 15 minutes or so it disgorges thousands of people, many of whom then stream across Shibuya crossing.
Japan also has cute buses.
Here's Michaela after we crossed the crossing ourselves. We crossed it a few times and, later on, we drove across it in a taxi for the full crossing experience. You can see L'Occitane behind her.
After the crossing we had an important stop to make at the bus station, the very bus station that Jet Set Radio & JSR Future base their bus station off. This was a must see for Dad and I as we loved the games, and it looked almost exactly the same! We took loads of photos on the raised walkways despite all the people and the way the walkways bounced.
Here's L'Occitane again, at night.
We then took a walk down some side streets in Shibuya where I bought a lot of AKB stuff and finally after a sit down in Starbucks and a look round the Donki we got a taxi back as we were too exhausted to move.
Everything stays open until 10:00pm. The heat's a little less oppressive but the noise level is unbelievable (in a good way, it adds to the atmosphere immeasurably).
Here I am amidst the bustle.
Still amidst the bustle but staying cool and calm thanks to the millions of vending machines selling cold drinks.
Dinner, strawberry milk, melon pan and a pot noodle. Fantastic!
A great first proper day in Japan and I’m very excited about the next…