Its another broiling day here in Japan; somewhere around 90 degrees with 60-70% humidity… T_T Yep, its basically a day full of sweating out all the liquid in your body and my pale skin turning cooked-lobster-red…fun times!
All sarcasm aside, it was another incredibly fun day. I set off for Tokyo to meet my friend Taylor from back in Minnesota who happens to be here studying at Keio University. We met at Shinjuku Station to make things easier and ended up shopping around and eating lunch there.
One of my favorite destinations is the bottom of all department stores, which is where we headed first. I could probably spend all my time and money here, but it would be worth it! >.<
We did some more wandering around on the street and went into several more stores and department stores, and ended up deciding that we are going to be rich in the future solely for the purpose of buying our entire wardrobe here.
After an hour or two of shopping we hit the streets in search of a restaurant. It is a little difficult in Shinjuku for foreigners, I think, to find a good quality restaurant to eat at without being more of a bar, kinda sketchy, too expensive… So we were thinking about returning to the Shinjuku Station to find a restaurant there, but just then we saw a menu with some eye-catching pictures and decided to give it a try.
However, we needed to enter this elevator in order to get to the restaurant and for whatever reason we were confused and worried we were going to the wrong place.
Luckily for us, not only did we arrive at the restaurant we had in mind, it was DELICIOUS! 😀 We each got a “lunch set” which came with both cold soba noodles and fried pork or shrimp over rice.
After lunch we took the JR line two stops over to the Harajuku Station.
Harajuku has some serious shopping and is known for the peculiar fashion of many of the young shoppers. It had a very vibrant atmosphere and all the streets were filled with people.
The shopping was not our motivation though, and we continued a few blocks down until we reached the entrance of the Meiji Shrine.
This area is fantastic. It is large, shaded, and full of green things while still being surrounded by the largest city in the world. In addition to the beauty, there is also a lot of history here and is also a good place for reflection and worship.
Before entering the main building of the shrine, we washed our hands and mouths with this water.
We weren’t allowed to take pictures at the very head of the shrine, but it was beautiful, and there were gold steps up to a throne across the way from where we were praying.
Being gaijin, we were a bit unsure about how to do things properly, so in order to correctly pray at the temple we watched several people go first. When we gathered our courage and went up there we tossed in a few coins, bowed twice, clapped twice and bowed again.
There were also many wooden boards with prayers from people all over the world, written in dozens of languages. Taylor and I decided to contribute our own, so we got a prayer board and wrote down our prayers before hanging it up on the fence with all the others.
I also got a prayer charm for good fortune.
On our way out we saw a very traditional Japanese wedding taking place, and I snuck a picture of the bride and groom as we were passing.
Because (as previously mentioned) it was so hot and we had been sweating for hours, we stopped at a little café before heading home. The café was right between the station and one of the main shopping streets, and it was the perfect place for a little relaxation and people watching!
After I was back in Makuhari and walking home, the temple near my house had the perfect angle of sunlight, so I had to take a picture—even if it has nothing to do with my other adventures for the day.
As always thanks for reading! Tomorrow I am headed back into Tokyo—this time with IES—to tour Asakusa and see some Sumo! 😀 Stay tuned!