Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Home Again, Home Again

I returned from Tokyo the day before yesterday and overall, the trip was pretty cool.

On Sunday, I went to Harajuku and Shinjuku to see some stuff I had never seen in my previous two jaunts to Tokyo.

First, Harajuku. Harajuku is a girl's shopping dream. The entire area is pretty much all women's fashion but more specifically, teenage women's fashion. If you want to get a good idea of the size and scope of a high school girl's shopping rampage in Tokyo, come to Harajuku. But on Sunday, I did not go there to be witness to the shopping frenzy that overcame the youthful lasses, I went to take a look at the Cosplayers and the Meiji shrine. Steph, I am going to guess that this was similar to the link you left in my comments but that link didn't work. But odds are, if there is anything people take pics of in Harajuku, its the Cosplay kids. For the uninitiated, cosplay is basically the act of dressing up like your favorite Japanese cartoon character and parading yourself around for the tourists to snap pictures at. There is a bridge very close to Harajuku station that all of the cosplayers like to hang out at on Sundays. Here are some pics:

These are some of the tamer outfits I have seen. Cosplay is a fairly common hobby amongst Japanese of all ages, there are stores that cater to it and if there is an anime character out there, odds are you can buy all of the accessories to dress up just like him or her. Honestly, I think the people that do this are a tad off the deep end but I suppose it just like dressing up for Halloween...every couple of days. What's even scarier is the fact that some love hotels and hostess bars here are also dedicated to anime and cosplay, so all of the weird, horny men can act out all of their fantasies with someone either dressed up like a cartoon character or in a hotel that looks like a set out of a cartoon.

After Harajuku, I went a couple of stops over to Shinjuku. Shinjuku comes in two flavors depending on what side of the neighborhood you are on. On one side, you have all of the big business buildings and skyscrapers. You will also find the Tokyo Metropolitan Government buildings here. On the other side of Shinjuku, you run into the biggest redlight district in Japan. All of those business guys and politicians have to go somewhere after work, right?

For my trip, I stayed on the skyscraper side of town. It was here I found a place that has some of the best Indian food I have ever eaten and it was buffet style to boot. It was kind of pricey but for what you got and the quality of the food it was worth it. What was funny about the place was on the outside of the building, it just looked like another building in Tokyo but when you got to the fifth floor, where the restaurant was located, it was totally decked out in Indian woodwork and had a very cool ambiance. Oh yeah, the place was called, Raj Mahal. Mr. Blue, when you come, we are going there.

After that, I went to a bookstore and finally was able to by some books and magazines I had been looking for. Then I went to check out this place:

This is the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building #1. This is basically the heart of the Japanese government. Most people either love this building or they hate it. It has been called everything from an eyesore to architectural genius. Personally, I like it. I also like its sibling, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building #2:

Unlike all of our government buildings, TMG #1 lets you go up to the 45th floor of both of its towers for an amazing view of Tokyo. On a crystal clear day you can see Mt. Fuji from there but due to the smog and some very thin clouds, no Fuji-san for me. One does not realize how friggin' huge Tokyo is until you see it like this, its simply amazing that one city can stretch almost as far as the eye can see. Take a look for yourself, these are some of the pics that I took from both towers and they cover almost a 360 degree view of the city, sorry about the glare:

After all of the walking I did, after all of the sight-seeing I went back to my hotel and crashed rather early. The next day, I got up, packed all of my stuff, and checked out of my hotel. I made my way to a store near Tokyo station that had a painting I saw two days earlier. It caught my eye the first time I went to the store but I refrained from buying it straight away. After a day of deliberation I decided that it would make a nice addition to my apartment and snagged it. Then it was off to Tokyo station to catch my train home. I snapped this pic right before my train pulled into the station:

All of the really nice trains have their own cleaning crews that go in after the train reaches its final destination on each end of the route that it runs. The line of pink that is running down the ramp is all of the women preparing to board and clean their assigned car. There are a couple of blue uniforms in there too and those guys are the technicians that make sure the train is still in tip top shape for the return trip. I had never seen them all come out at the same time like that before so I thought it was kind of cool and had to snap a picture.

That pretty much sums up my Tokyo weekend! Now, it is back to teaching for a few months until Christmas break. I have had a bunch of new classes added to my schedule to I have been meeting new students the past couple of days. Most of them seem nice but I think one of my new classes is going to be a handful. Oh well, once I break them in they should be alright.


At 4:26 PM, Anonymous Steph said...

Pretty close to your first pic except it was a middle-aged MAN in the dress. No pic of the painting? Or are you waiting until it's safely installed in the apartment?

At 8:54 PM, Blogger Mogwai said...

I will pop a pick up as soon as I hang it. I have been busy since I got back into town and haven't had a chance to even take it out of the box its packed in. :)

At 9:14 PM, Anonymous tony's mom said...

Hey Mogs,
James and I were watching CCTV (Chinese tv in English) and they showed the Japan Games Show,that you attended.They did a speel on it, showing mostly people wandering around in the dark and of course show bunnies. James thought he was real funny and yelled out"hey, there's Tyson"! I told him 'very funny'.

At 1:03 AM, Blogger Heather said...

The only thing I know about Harajuku is from Gwen Stafani's super crappy album. But it seems like an interesting place to pop into briefly.

INDIAN FOOD -- mmmm... I just made meself some chicken curry this weekend, sho did. 'n' it was GOOD. When Jake and I make it out there you should take us to that restaurant. *nods* Um, among all the other delicious places to eat.

Not a big fan of the devil building, but could see how some would like it.

I look forward to seeing the painting... :)

At 7:04 PM, Blogger Just Some Gal said...

Wow, I'm glad you had a great time Mogwai!

I'll catch you later.


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