Harajuku

This morning we went to Tokyo station to trade in our vouchers for Japan Rail Passes.

It was a fun experience. First, we walked by a bunch of Japanese people waiting outside the Tokyo Station Hotel, which is a really fancy hotel, and we asked a security guard “what is all the fuss?” and he was torn between being polite/answering our question & maintaining security. So we asked, “famous people?” and he nodded and we asked, “Japanese famous people?” and he hestitated and then gave a slight nod, and we laughed and thanked him and said we don’t know any Japanese famous people and walked on.

The rail pass part was easy. We got what we needed done easily with very friendly and efficient people who spoke English well enough to help us, no problem!

Then we were started to melt from hunger but decided to go to Harajuku and get our breakfast there. We hopped on a train and the blinking lights said we were a half hour from the station. Oh dear. SIL was not happy.

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Hip, futuristic mall entrance in Harajuku, Tokyo

When we got to Harajuku, it was raining, but we were immediately rewarded for our half hour ride by seeing the trademark fashionistas who roam the area in their platform shoes, short skirts, dyed hair, and so on. Really interesting. We stopped for some takoyaki, or fried octopus balls. Hubby and I loved them, SIL and BIL: not so much. Then we went looking for “the best mall in Tokyo” – Laforet. We assumed there would be a huge food court on the bottom. There wasn’t. There were only two places to eat, and both only served cakes. Not gonna work. So we went across the street to another mall, thinking they would have a food court. At this point SIL was melting in despair from grouchiness and hunger. I had eaten 3 fried balls of dough so I was doing okay again. Hubby, too. This other mall did not have a food court either, but they had a restaurant on the top floor. We went up to check it out. Folks! It was a “see and be seen” place, and the woman took one look at us and said, “no, sorry, come back at 4pm.” She then told the family behind us, who were clad in even more outdoorsy tourist clothes than we were, “sorry, there is a dress code.” Well, I didn’t hear what she said exactly but the look on their faces was such that they were turned away rather rudely. Okay then!

Luckily there was a Starbucks nearby, so SIL and BIL got a quick snack and then we shopped our hearts out for nearly two hours while Kiddo slept on my stomach. We bought iPad accessories, stickers, multicolored zippers, colored and patterned scotch tape, folders, small toys and I think that is about it. It was a blast. Japanese consumers are so attuned to aesthetics that everything is beautiful. I think we all just wanted to take a little of that feeling home with us.

Then, we had a quick noodle lunch and went to walk the streets of Harajuku, where we did lots more people watching, window shopping, and nabbed a new toy for Kiddo: a hamburger Mickey Mouse. It is actually some weird brand that they only sell in this one shoe shop on that one street, but Kiddo loooooved it, so we got it. Poor girl has had a lack of toys, lately.

We ran out of steam pretty quickly after that, plus it started to rain, plus my back was killing me, so we headed back to the hotel. We all had baths and then we went out for sushi and Kiddo fell asleep early. Big day! First time out doing any real shopping since Portland. It was fun and exhausting.

No plans for tomorrow. Hubby was going to wake up to go to the tuna auction, but I don’t think he will. I can’t be bothered. It starts at 5am. I need my rest J

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