Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Harajuku and Akihabara


Yesterday, Ben and I went to Harajuku. It was quite fun. It was another shopping district, but this one had more street venders, and smaller, much less expensive shops than Shinjuku. It was very crowded despite being a weekday, which I found very exciting. Luckily for Ben and I, we both really stand out in a crowd here, so it's not hard to find each other if one of us looses the other.

There were about a dozen sock stores along the strip.

Ramen vending machine

  Ben and I had a really fun lunch. We went to a sort of ramen bar. It would be absolutly perfect for a quick bite during a lunch break, or for any time you wanted good food, but didn't want to socialize. The proccess of the meal was really fun. First you buy a food ticket at a sort of vending machine, you choose ramen then any special contents you want such as egg, green onion, or nori. You then seat yourself in a little personal cubby, which has its own water spout, cups, chopsticks, and what ever else you need. There are little buttons inside the cubby for you to call the waiter. A little hole at the front of the cubby was where a waiter comes to take your order, and pass your soup through. The ramen was quite exceptional.

The whole area of Harajuku smelled like crepes, so by the end of the day Ben was nearly salivating every time we walked by a crepe stand. Just before we headed home we bought one for him, it was filled with strawberries and chocolate ice cream.

The general rule for eating on the streets of Japan: Don't. The Japanese seem to feel really awkward about it. You will never see someone eating while walking, and if someone is forced to eat on the streets they are very discrete about it. Generally they try as hard as possible to hide it. Ben ate his crepe where everyone else was, in a little back ally way out of the way.

Today Ben and I went to Akihabara, the electronics district. It was a very interesting experience. Akihabara is also the "nerd" district, so anime, video game, and manga aficionado are quite catered to. I have to say the whole area was just a little creepy. There were a lot of a adult shops thrown into the mix, and many stores had adult sections or content. There were at leaste a dozen maid cafes. Anime culture is just as much of a fringe activity in Japan as it is just about everywhere else. Anime enthusiasts also seem to be considered just as nerdy as back home.
Gundam Cafe: Let your nerdliness shine!
One of the many maid cafes.
 Ben and I ate ramen again today... good thing we're eating healthy breakfasts and dinners. It was really good. For some reason they gave Ben a bib, but not me. I promptly dipped my hair in the soup to make sure they knew they had made a mistake... oops.

Even the statues here are cold?

 Near the house we are staying at is a little shrine. I really like it. There is a playground, a cemetery, and a cemetery on the grounds as well. The whole place really gives you a feeling of the circle of life. There are so many flowers placed on the graves, and blooming on the trees that the whole place smells like spring, despite the fact that it is still pretty cold. It is quite refreshing in the big city


  1. This looks like so much fun! So happy for you guys <3 Harajuku looks incredible! Akihabara too...Who knew nerd-dom was so universal...