Saturday 12 December 2015
After a good rest in our airbnb apartment, we were set to see Tokyo. Sean’s friend Raul, whom he met when they did a 365 photo project together on flickr a few years back, was flying in from southern Japan to catch up for the weekend. Whilst Raul and Sean had had beers together across skype, they hadn’t actually met yet.
We decided to walk from our apartment to Tokyo station, via Ginza, which was a very ritzy part of town. Sue had an extra spring in her step after hearing that Christmas is not really celebrated in Japan, seeing lots of trees and Christmas windows.
dodgy photo of Christmas displays
We decided to meet up with Raul at Shibuya, and we had a couple of minutes to check out the area and find the famous statue Hachikō.
Tegan with feline interloper under Hachikō
Spotted Raul, coming towards us and it was big hugs, smiles and chats as we strolled away through Shibuya, and quickly our thoughts turn to food!
we get to meet face to face
Our lunch was great, with gyoza, chicken broth, noodles, and a nice intro into japanese cuisine with team Kelly with varying degrees of eagerness to explore near food frontiers.
We headed of then to Harajuku, which continued the Tokyo tradition of being crazy busy! Seriously, I have been in big crowds before, but this is just constant! Don’t get me wrong, I love the experience, just my crowd anxiety builds up real quick. Almost as quick as shopping Christmas eve at a Westfield.
We strolled down the main street and spotted a few people dressed up in their cosplay and “who knows what that was” outfits. It was very difficult to get some photos as it was so crowded.
it was a little crowded
After the crowds of Harajuku, we headed off to Yoyogi park, a short stroll away and the contrast from the previous hour couldn’t be more stark! It was a serene place, with people walking their dogs, where the signs say no dogs, and those adhering to the restrictions has prarie dogs and rabbits on leashes.
a photo of the girls
Raul was kind enough to grab my camera, and being much more skilled, nailed the shots he took of our family.
Raul also caught with a shot me coming back
santa entertaining the kids
We then decided to head to Shinjuku, and on the way Raul pointed out a department store in the basement of the train station, that had the highest quality of foods I have ever seen. A mango costs $100!
Raul and Tegan contemplate what to buy
Another shot thanks to Raul, in Shinjuku
As we strolled through Shinjuku, it appeared that whilst the boys would be happy with the food, the girls wanted something less adventurous and headed off in search of a menu that wasn’t raw seafood or organs.
The boys settled in memory lane, and we had the best time chatting and having a couple of beers. *insert bad parenting mark here for yours truly with Ryan enjoying a couple of drinks.
We covered a lot of territory with our conversions, a couple being:
- Star wars, holy crap, Raul has a tonne of memorabilia including a full size, certified storm trooper outfit that has been certified as part of the 501st Battalion
- The history of mexico, I had no idea how much was taken by the USA
Raul’s literary views and books to read (noted in evernote) as well as discourse over tv shows such as breaking bad, better call saul, sons of anarchy, …
- Raul’s cameo in an Antonio Banderas and Angelina Jolie movie Original Sin
We moved from dinner and settled in a very hip bar, albeit small, and when the girls did find us, after an hour of waiting when messages weren’t getting through the new carrier (holy crap), they decided that might join us in a bar that seats 10, in the footprint of a tenth of a bowling lane. We were told there was an upstairs and we headed up. Drinks flowed, lots of laughs, and it topped off an awesome full first day in Japan.
PS The Yamazaki whiskey on ice was so smooth, even Sue enjoyed a couple without a mixer.
PPS The stairs were essentially a ladder and there was a trapdoor to call down orders to the bartender.
Terrible quality photo, but it captures the mood!
Today’s song of the day is Tom Waits – Big In Japan