asia04 (asia04) wrote,

Tokyo, day 1

After sleeping far too long, we finally got up this morning and had breakfast at Starbucks (which was overpriced, and the hot chocolate, like the hot chocolate in Taipei, was not really chocolate but some other thing that was not doing a very good job as a substitute).

Tokyo is not nearly as hot as Taipei, Hong Kong, and Singapore were, so we're wallowing in the coolness. We tried to go to the Imperial Palace, but apparently like everything is closed on Mondays in Japan, so our attempt was thwarted!

Instead, we took the subway to Shibuya (a downtown-ish area), where we wandered around and walked to Meiji-jinguu, which is a Shinto shrine built to honor Emperor Meiji in like 1920 or something. It had a nice garden, and was (like all the Shinto shrines) a nice building.

After that we walked to Harajuku, where we sat around people-watching for a while. Harajuku is the prime people-watching spot in Tokyo, because young people go there to parade around in their unique fashions. We saw some pretty interesting stuff, along with quite a bit of Engrish. There were some people going for the Rastafarian look, which was interesting, as well as some Gothic Lolita girls (search google) and lots of random other stuff. After that, we wandered around the shops in Harajuku, which was kind of funny because there were a lot of "ghetto chic" stores. Once again, they had hired black people to stand outside their stores and say "Yo, whassup? Yo, Yo." I heard one of them speaking Japanese, and his Japanese had a pretty strong non-English accent, so I think they must be from like Africa or somewhere instead of the US. There were also a lot of Japanese pseudo-gangstas, wearing hugely oversized basketball jerseys and such.

We had dinner at a little cafe (spaghetti, Japanese style), then headed back. After a quick stop at Ministop (convenience store) for ice cream (for me) and candy bars (for T), we came back to the hostel, and here we are.

Tomorrow: Imperial Palace, attempt number two, and hopefully Ueno park.

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June 28 2004, 23:14:02 UTC 16 years ago

Jessica we got your second postcard. I liked the irises. Hope you made it to the Imperial Palace. Are you using your Japanese much in Tokyo? It's just hot and dry here. What's with all the Starbucks? Love, Mom (Jessica's)
I've been using my Japanese mostly to order food and to ask for directions or help in the train stations (and to attempt to read signs and menus, of course!). We made it to the Imperial Palace today, I'll post about that in a minute. Starbucks seems to have taken over the world or something -- they're all over the place in Asia, and they even have regional drinks (green tea frappachino, lychee and mango flavored drinks, etc). It's actually pretty interesting. Also within walking distance of our hostel are a McDonalds and a Wendy's!