It rained all day!

Survived the trip from the airport to Tokyo station in rush hour, (a touch dramatic for an opening sentence? I maintain that the whole trip required endurance and strength of character!) I have a flair for the dramatics!

As I had booked a hotel reasonably close by, my 2 options were to either catch the subway one stop or walk (into the unknown since I had never stayed in this particular hotel before) After the nightmarish train trip from Narita due to rush hour train commuters the thought of diving into the subway whilst it was still rush hour was not appealing at all, even for one stop! Even the fact it was drizzling wasn’t enough to send me down into the depths of the subway.

Therefore it was an obvious choice to walk, even if it was into the unknown. My previous trips to Tokyo I had either stayed with a friend of mine out in the suburbs or in a hotel in Shinjuku, the area around the station and Ginza was a blank page to me. Prior knowledge of how things work in Japan helps, Tokyo station is enormous so knowing what exit you need to take makes it less daunting. I knew I needed the Yaesu Central exit, found it, then Yaesu St, which on Google maps looks like a little side street but actually is a major road, with a large median strip down the middle.

Found the hotel without too much trouble but it was 9am and check in time was 2pm. This was Japan I didn’t even bother to try and negotiate, this is the country of ‘rules are rules’ so left my suitcase and headed off. First stop was Shibuya, I love people watching at the Shibuya crossing (the famous 5 way crossing, watching people cross is like watching them do a choreographed dance with each person moving in a specific direction) There’s a Starbucks there across from the station, their seating area is up on the next level with windows  looking out on the crossing. Didn’t manage to get one of the prized window views directly overlooking the crossing but still managed to enjoy the show below me.

Having been fed and coffeed up, next stop was to the neighbourhood where I used to stay at my friend’s apartment to take ‘nostalgia photos’ for my friend who’s since left Japan. 

And what did I find in the small garden across the road but tulips!! I love tulips and these were huge and beautiful so naturally I took photos. I put my umbrella down, my camera got rained on but I have pretty tulip pictures!

There’s a GAP store in the main shopping area where I used to be a regular thanks to their terrific sales. Thought I would pop in again for old times sake, just to see what they had. Annnnnnd sales were on, grabbed a great bargain! Winter jumper reduced to 1,990 yen, 30% off and I ended up paying just over 1,300 yen which works out to around $15 AUD. 

Here it is, judge away at my fashion choice but I like it and IT WAS $15!!!!! Plus it's soft and warm.

Love the Japanese customer service too, it was raining so my bag got a plastic cover!

(Dear reader (readers?) I bet you thought you were going to get pictures of Japan, instead so far it's tulips, a jumper and a shopping bag! Quality picture content right here!)

Next stop was Shinjuku, I wanted to check out Tokyu Hands (a ‘lifestyle’ department store) where I would buy assorted Japanese paper goods. Ended up taking the wrong exit out of Shinjuku station (another enormous station with multiple exits) and by that stage I was tired and fed up, it was 1.30pm so I could return to the hotel to check in.

Checked in, rested up and then ventured out for a few hours in the late afternoon so headed off to Harajuku, just so I could indulge my need for cutesie things so “Kiddyland here I come!” Kiddyland is on the main road called Omotosando and is 4 floors of cartoon characters, complete with one floor dedicated to Snoopy (still huge in Japan) Disney and of course the Japanese cartoon cutesies. There are other Japanese souvenir type things as well, doesn’t everyone need origami crane ear-rings, no? Just me then. And a Jiji the cat from the movie Kiki’s Delivery Service. Love his sarcastic one liners. 

So acquired a few things, on the way back to the train station it had now begun to really pour with rain. I saw a group of young people queuing outside a small shop. Fascinated I went to look at what they were waiting in the rain to buy and wanted it so much they were prepared to line up for it. POP CORN was the answer, gourmet popcorn is what these young people were queuing in the rain to buy! I’ll add it to my “Only in Japan” list!