Japan Trip 2010
Nothing like a can of hot green tea to start the day with yes?
The same walk back to the JR Suidobashi station.
Tom is everywhere.
I wished the roads in Singapore were as bike friendly as Japan.
A lot of homeless people in Japan too.
Our standard time leaving the hotel is 9am. 8am on park visiting days.
We saw a couple Singaporeans today at the station. As soon as we heard singlish we stopped talking. lol.
It took a long time before I managed to find where we were, and where we were headed. I don’t know why they placed the railway map on the ceiling. Neck hurts.
Changed trains at Yoyogi. We’re heading back to Harajuku today.
To get tickets for this evening’s Morning Musume concert!
The place looks different during the day. Less shady.
When we got to the shop, there was already a queue outside. Decided to come back later.
Walked around the main streets, looking at people and shops.
All the shops here are targeted at the younger crowd. The clothes are fancy and loud.
Black guys (I assume they’re Nigerian) can be spotted along the streets, bugging hip looking customers to their hip hop shops.
Second Gorakudoh outlet. They sell all boy band stuff here. Like, ALL.
I’m guessing it was still early, so most of the shops were closed, and trucks were driving in to make deliveries.
Harajuku fashion. Loud and flashy!
Matches the graffiti along the walls.
More street art.
And cool stickers.
Must have had a long night.
We crossed over to the back alleys, where Chad says the shops are catered to the more mature crowd.
Higher end boutiques line the streets.
But sadly everything was closed.
We were the only people walking around this early in the morning. lol.
More boutique homegrown brands.
Did I mention everything was closed?
This was the coolest shop front along the street.
Great place to camwhore fish eye shots.
We planned to come back here when Wilson joins us in a couple days.
Chad says I always walk into his shots.
After a while we arrived at Omotesando Hills, where even higher end boutiques like Burberry lined the streets. All of them were open, but we didn’t even think of stepping in. Way out of our league.
It was here that we spotted the street style crew, and people filing out release forms.
This is the exact spot they shoot the ‘Shibuya’ weekly photos on the mega famous street style website. No we didn’t get asked. Not fashionable enough! Shit!
It’s a sort of achievement to get featured on the site.
I can imagine girls walking by daily, dressed in their best, just to get featured on the site.
Obscenely huge H&M poster.
Further down we saw a bunch of punk rock looking dudes queuing up for something. No idea what though.
Chad was saying there are a lot of specialty shops here that won’t last a month in Singapore… like this shop that specializes in doggy clothing.
We made our way back to the Gorakudoh ticket shop. Sure enough it was open, and the queue was gone.
The shop lady was slashing the prices of all the tickets. The nearer the concert date is, the cheaper the price becomes. Chad still couldn’t make up his mind on whether or not to go for another Morning Musume concert, even after walking nearly the whole of Harajuku.
In the ended he decided to save the money and go sight-seeing instead. I didn’t want to miss out on another opportunity to catch them live. This was one of the main reasons I was in Japan anyways. So I made sure to get the closest, most affordable ticket that was in the middle column. This was a 5th row, center seat, S$440 ticket. W00t.
At this point it was getting major crowded in Harajuku.
Decided to walk up the hill towards Meiji shrine.
We weren’t the only ones people watching. xD
I want one too.
Meiji shrine, according to Chad, is one of the most famous and commercial shrines in Japan.
It was located just behind Harajuku station. I don’t know how we managed to miss it the last time we came here.
It was a long gravel walk in towards the park.
Resting point along the way…
Loaded with tourist traps.
You don’t see people sitting under direct sunlight resting in Singapore.
In Japan it’s more comfortable to be in sunlight because it’s so damn cold lol.
Map of the place. We’re at the red dot.
Overpriced ice-creams. S$5.50 each can!
These huge barrels were along the gravel path.
They’re actually wine barrels, donated from various countries decades ago.
Across the barrels were these.
Barrels of sake donated to the Meiji Shrine.
Each barrel is from a different prefecture in Japan.
Torii gate, at the entrance to Meiji-jingu.
I didn’t bring my wide lens. Was trying to fit the ground and the whole gate in the shot. Failed.
Lots of kids around here. We saw a bunch of French kids. They were playing with the drain that runs along side the gravel path. Chad says maybe they’ve never seen a drain before in their life. No drains in Paris?
Every shrine has these, fountain things for your use before entering the shrine.
Steps on how to do the Ritual Cleansing of Hands and Mouth.
We followed it. Although the last part, holding the dipper upright to wash the handle was a bit difficult. lol.
More Torii gates inside.
Place to buy charms.
There’s a charm for everything you can think of in Japan. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, you can visit another shrine someplace else for a whole other selection.
Chad says the ones he bought on his last trip were effective, so he bought a few more.
I bought one for ‘Sound and Peaceful’ mind. So nice ya?
Entrance to the inner area…
Where a wedding procession was going on.
A lot of tourists stopped to take photos and videos of the wedding going on.
I felt we were being a bit rude by taking photos of their wedding.
Close by they had this huge tree, with blessings tied all around it.
You can purchase these wooden plates to write on and hang by yourself.
Writings in different languages. If Facebook posts were physical, this was how it’d look like.
Alternatively, you could also write your wishes in these envelopes, together with some donations.
They had instructions on what state of mine you should be in before writing. So in a state of deep respect and gratitude, I wrote mine, Japanese style~
Chad was surprised I wrote so much. I have a lot of wishes :D
Charms bought, blessings written, donations given. Time to move on!
Made our way back along the very long gravel path.
We found this guy outside selling idol photos…
To unsuspecting female students streaming out from a nearby school.
Chad mentioned the NHK studio was nearby too, so off we went, squeezing through this crowd of school kids.
Turns out they were having a huge volleyball tournament. Nothing to see, moving on.
Further down the road at NHK, there was this huge workers rally of some sort. Food stands were set up.
Chad was a big fan of Yakisoba, so we ordered some for lunch.
These looked appetizing. Chad regretted his order. lol.
Yakisoba man in action.
The burnt and completely tasteless sausage thing on a stick.
Walked towards the studio after our completely random lunch.
I wondered if these were sakura trees. Would look impressive if they were.
This was a funny sight. The studio was behind. They had some anniversary recording going on, lots of elderly people streaming in to watch. We had to pay to enter. I didn’t feel so keen on going in to watch the recording. Didn’t have any famous actors or actresses.
So we went back to Harajuku station, along the way coming across more homeless people.
And cute, odorless mini garbage trucks.
This bridge beside Harajuku station is famous for random people performing. We were unfortunate enough to see these 3 people performing.
The middle one was ‘singing’ through a loudspeaker and the other 2 waving flags. Chad said they were completely tone deaf. I agree. lol.
Even the kids are more fashionable compared to our touristy garbs. Sads.
Around noon time, Takeshi Dori was insanely crowded. Lucky I got my tickets early.
At this point it was either Ebisu or Tokyo Tower. Decided to check out Ebisu during the day, since it was free xD
Here we go. Ebisu Garden Palace.
After leaving the station…
We were met with the longest travellator passage I’ve ever seen. 20 minutes maybe?!
Welcome to Yebisu Garden Palace!
The headquarters of Sapporo Breweries, The Beer Museum Yebisu and the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography were also in the area.
Ebisu was founded around 1928 as a community developed around the Japan Beer Brewery Company facilities where Yebisu Garden Place now stands.
In case you’re getting confused, the spelling “Yebisu” is intentionally archaic. With or without the “y” the pronunciation is the same as “Ebisu”.
This place is famous for it’s amazing night scenes.
It wasn’t night yet, but we had time to kill before the concert starts later, so we came to see how the place looked like in the day.
Looks a lot like Ngee Ann City, with nicer flowers.
Very, very strong winds here.
I got a pleasant surprise ordering from Starbucks in Japan. Everyone echos your order in a funny sing a song like manner.
Caramel Frappachino, Made in Japan! Mmmm nice.
The place was crowded, but we managed to fine some nice seating in the forum area. We sat around, people watched and chatted for a while. Chad was sharing his grand scheme to move to Japan. I want to live here too.
After a while pigeons came visiting.
At about 4pm we split, I headed back to Shinjuku for the concert while Chad went to cover more ground over at Akihabara.
View from my row 5, S$440 ticket. Perfect view of the entire stage yes.
I only had 1 glow stick with me on this concert. Saving the rest for AKB. Being in the middle column with all the other hardcore wotas was an experience in itself. Because this was my last concert, I went all out on this one, jumping around yelling like everyone else haha! Man I’ve never sweat so much in any concert, ever!
To my left was a 200% Sayumi fan, my right, a 400% AiChan wota that, would, not, stop, jumping. If you didn’t jump, you’ll either get hit by their obscenely bright glow sticks or couldn’t see, because everyone else in front was jumping like no tomorrow.
So insanely tired after the concert. Met up with Chad for dinner back at the hotel, but everything was closed at 10pm. So 2x cup noodles it was. Yummy!