Although I enjoyed the peace and quiet of Kyoto, I was eager to throw myself into the hustle and bustle of the city of 35 million people, Tokyo. I had heard a lot about Tokyo, about the all night attitude and the politeness of the Japanese people. I had also heard that they speak very little English in Japan in comparison to Korea, so I was both eager to explore and also a little nervous.
looking out for street fashion while enjoying a coffee in the Harajuku district
One of the places I was most excited about visiting was the Harajuku district of Tokyo. I first heard about Harajuku when I much younger, from Gwen Stefani's "Love, Angel, Music, Baby" album. Harajuku girls were characterized in hit songs as the epitomes of style and I could not wait to emulate one!
Lucky for me, it didn't take long at all to find stylish, cheap clothes. There were amazing deals on many out-of-this-world styles! I love space things and funky patterns, so I was in heaven for a while. It's easy to convert prices as well, the Japanese yen is .0098 to the dollar, and so we changed the comma to a period and slid it over one to approximate prices. The skirt above (at 2,999 yen) was around 30 USD.
bye harajuku, hello shopping bags
After we had satisfied my shopping bug and my bags were full, we took the subway (aboveground for a bit in Harajuku) to another hopping part of Tokyo for dinner. The second thing I decided I absolutely had to check out in Tokyo was the theme restaurants. Specifically, Ninja!
wow ninja magic!
At the Ninja restaurant we ordered two different kinds of three course meals and had them delivered by sneaky ninjas. Favorite dishes included a lobster infused tofu, shiruken crackers hiding in grass (salad), and a fire and ice (cream) dessert. Halfway through the meal we were visited by the head ninja master, an illusionist!
another shopping area, Akihabara
The next day we ventured out to shop once more, this time at the famed electronics district, Akihabara. There were a lot of electronics stores. Also, there was a lot of anime! There were many products and mangas and DVDs. I am not a huge superfan of anime, but I am a fan of Hayao Miyazaki's movies, and there were plenty of movie franchise touristy items for me to marvel at as well. There were also a lot of maid cafes, but we avoided those.
Can you spot us among the crowd at the busiest intersection in the world?
We ended our Tokyo time at the busiest intersection in the world in Shibuya. It was a fast-paced vacation, but ultimately very fun! If you ever find yourself wondering where to spend your next break while living and teaching in South Korea, consider catching a flight or ferry to Tokyo! You won't regret it!
After graduating from Emerson College with a BA in Writing, Literature, and Publishing, Ariel Rosen looked back on the semester she spent traveling around Europe and decided she must explore Asia. Her teaching job with ChungDahm April in Busan allows her to experience South Korea firsthand and with the enthusiasm of all the children she teaches. She is overjoyed to share a class with them and finds herself learning more from them and the bright beach city around her everyday.
Read Ariel’s blog here: http://arieldrosen.wordpress.com/