I had a bunch of pictures I wanted to post, so I have 2 postings. Also be on the lookout for some new videos. I am going to upload them as soon as possible.
Today I went back to Harajuku. This is the area of Tokyo where I got my conveyor belt sushi before. I would split Harajuku into 3 main areas. The first is Takeshita-Dori, which is the area of crazily clad and oddly behaved people. Second, is the Meiji-Jingu, which is an incredibly authentic reconstruction of a Shinto-shrine. The third is a very upscale shopping district, reminiscent (as I mentioned in a earlier blog) of the Champs Elysées in Paris. I toured all three areas today. The first two with Frank, a guy from Villanova, and also part of the Temple program, and then the swank street (and more conveyor belt sushi) with some girls from the program. Also, while Frank and I were at Starbucks, we met a girl from San Francisco, who was visiting some relatives in Manila and was taking a short vacation in Tokyo – so she joined us for dinner too.
I had never seen the craziness of Takeshita Dori, or the beautiful and serene Meiji temple before, so both were a great experience. People basically dress to shock you. Some like the attention, some, I’m sure are just using it as an artistic outlet, but they all deserve medals for going out in public (a very conservative public) and dressing and acting like they do. All fashions throughout history are represented. Gothic, middle-ages, moder, post-modern. Also, people will dress very much not their age. Like the young children dressed to the nines, or the old man in a diaper. This place is NUTS. Also there are street performers playing music and dancing.
In stark contrast to the obsurdity of Takeshita Dori, is the Meji shrine, which is only about 1/4 mile away. The Shrine itself is set back about half a mile from any roads. The gravel, tree and brook-lined path leads circuitously to the main Shrine. Honestly, the Shrine is gorgeous, but because you are kept at a distance, it was difficult to discern differences from the other temples I’ve seen. That said, the walk itself is worth taking. Fortuitously, there were two weddings taking place while I was at the temple today, so I got to see people dressed in full Japanese garb. Actually, the women were traditionally dressed, the men, for the most part were wearing suits.
Once again, dinner at the conveyor belt sushi restaurant was delicious. There were 7 of us this time so dinner took a lot longer, and we ate sooooo many plates of food. I had the fewest with four, but 2 of the girls had over 9 plates.