Walking tour of Tokyo

Trip Start Jan 12, 2008
Trip End Oct 01, 2008

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Diane has class so Christine and I depart on a tour of yet another random city together.  We started in Shibuya, where the street crossing is absolute mayhem.  More than 1 million people cross the street at this one intersection every day!  And they come from nowhere as soon as the green man lights up. 

The Shibuya neighborhood is trendy and I could easily spend hours exploring but we move on.  Next we walked/ate our way down Omote-sando street, the high-end shopping district with every imaginable designer in some of the coolest designed buildings I've ever seen.  (Diane was right about that whole Tokyo architecture thing after all)

Omote-sando spit us out in Hirajuku where we saw some of the craziest outfits I've ever seen and where I could have easily gotten a new wardrobe if I was interested in shopping at all. 

 The stores are all cool and while the people walking around look like they belong in a circus, or a teeny bop pop band, I actually really liked the neighborhood and decide that I'd like to make it back to Shibuya and here later in my trip just to people watch if nothing else.  I stop in at a few sneaker stores and finally replace my old and smelly shoes that have been with me for a few too many months at this point.  It takes a few stores to find one with my size but I get two pairs of shoes and am ecstatic with my purchases!

Went to Yayogi park where the 1964 Olympic park was built next to the home of the Meiji Shrine, the most important one in Tokyo.  It was destroyed by allied forces in WWII but rebuilt in 1958. We wound up in Shinjuku walking around yet another business district.  I'm not sure I've ever seen so many main business and party districts in one city... not even NYC!

From there we went back to the ryokan and picked up Diane before heading out for a big night on the town.  We hit up a nice traditional shabu shabu restaurant in Ginza where we cooked our own food, and it was good!  Next we visited to the Park Hyatt's New York Bar on the 52nd floor, which is the bar from Lost in Translation.  The bar was very mellow but provided amazing views of the city below.

The night was just getting started and we moved on to Golden Gai in Shinjuku where there are tons of pint sized bars that we could barely fit into. 

Imagine the people's reactions when a 6'4'' guy and 2 6'2'' girls walk into a bar that has never seen anyone even close to 6' tall be able to enter.  While they didn't really like foreigners there, they accepted our money and a few of the bar keepers even warmed up to us a bit.  I have to say it was one of the cooler little neighborhoods I've ever seen and I wish I had a local guide to show me all the little bars I didn't know about!

As if we hadn't done enough, we then hit up Karaoke-kan (also from Lost in Translation) for a little early morning jam session. 

 No one was particularly amazing, but we had more than enough fun for the entire city that night!  The backdrop of Shinjuku below made an awesome stage and all the classics were touched on before we finally made our way over to the fish market at 5am.  Seeing as the fish markets were always the final destination of the night out, I think we did really well to fill up the space between dinner and arriving only to find that the markets were closed due to some holiday... we head home with our tails between our legs and sleep it off!

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