Waking up in our koala suite made me not want to leave the room at all. The views outside were beautiful and as the sun was rising we noticed an entire park of people doing synchronized morning exercises (tai chi? unclear…) with absolutely no way to see each other. Amazing.
SO, why are we up so early? Well, we decided we’d make the best of day one and try to find the Tsukiji Fish Market. Unfortunately for us….three transfers later and we found out it was a holiday and thus, closed. We turned around and went to Shibuya instead where we stopped in Gontran Cherrier Tokyo.
With nothing open for another half hour, we walked up the street to another Foursquare find, Streamer Coffee [1F 1-20-28, Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo ] . Barista Hiroshi Sawada was the first Asian to win at the Seattle Free Pour Latte Championship. Their latte art and combinations speak for themselves…
Now that things were starting to open up (keep in mind it was Monday) we strolled down to the BIC camera store and wound in and out of the streets of Shibuya until we found my new love: Don Quijote, a bargain megastore that had as many useless knicknacks as it did neon lights and frenetic music. I was in heaven. With even the sock section being overstimulating to all the senses, we had to leave shortly there after.
After some wandering, shopping we stopped by Kiddyland and then Harajuku. Kiddyland was necessary because everyone visiting Tokyo should stop by at least one toy store to fully experience the wonders of Japanese toys. Also they make great souvenirs.
We finally to Harajuku. For those unfamiliar with the area outside of the Gwen Stefani lyrics, it is basically an area bordering Shibuya where the east village of Tokyo exists. With that, much like the pseudo punk clothespin culture fashion of NYC’s lower east side comes the young people of Tokyo who toe the line between cute and full blown Sailor Moon outfit. In both cases, whether it’s for you or not, just very cool to see people expressing themselves so freely.
We stopped shopping for a minute to grab lunch at a nearby underground Udon place.
Our feet feeling tired and our early start time had us slowing down but we tried to fit in a quick visit to the Meiji Jingu Shrine which was essentially at the end of the street.
After that we headed back to the hotel for some much needed downtime before heading out for dinner. Once back in the hotel we took a nap, I accidentally found out what the “shower” button does on the toilet (still unclear why people would want that…). When we finally recovered the flooded hotel room, we headed out for some Okonomiyaki and a unforgettable cocktail at Star Bar. I will have to warn you that I took no pictures at Star Bar but it is definitely an experience not easily described. Also plan on staying for several drinks as there is essentially a cover charge.
What you are looking at above is essentially a puffy pancake full of savory goodness on a griddle. I’d say its something akin to a corn fritter.
Anyways, we made it home and as a parting gift….here is a video of me trying to get Ben a dollar beer from the hotel vending machine. (Apologies for the quality, I uploaded this video with no wifi, thus it is not HD quality – will update later)