Monday, December 25, 2017

Japan Trip Day 3: Asakusa, Omotesando, Harajuku, Meiji Jingu, Shinjuku

It is Christmas!! MERRY CHRISTMAS!! Lol but it does not feel like Christmas at all here in Tokyo.

This morning I managed to wake up half an hour earlier than yesterday and hence left hotel half an hour earlier than yesterday. Actually it is still considered late to leave at 930am lah haha.. The first destination today was Asakusa that I did not manage to visit during my trip to Tokyo 2 years ago. I find it disappointing as the atmosphere and the reality are not as pretty as google pictures. Even the sakura-like decoration at the street leading to Sensoji Temple is not real sakura. I felt cheated! Well at least now one of my curiosities are answered.
Sensoji Temple
Kaminarimon (from inside)
I suggested to eat at one of the sashimi-don store that we passed by on our way back since there was English menu and the prices were reasonable too. I did not enjoy it because the rice was rather warm. It was not my first time eating natto but it was my first time eating natto in Japan and gosh.. it was much stinkier than that natto I tried in few restaurant in Singapore.

The next plan for the rest of today was Harajuku, Shibuya, and Shinjuku but we side-tracked. I was curious about Omotesando which kept appearing at my facebook news feed and since it is just next to Harajuku, we went there. The trees lining the street were decorated with lights. It was just like that yet this was the best winter decoration that I had seen so far in Tokyo. Lol. Omotesando is unique as it makes me feel like I am in Europe. As we walked towards Harajuku side, the crowd grew and it started to feel more and more like Japan. Lol. My sister wanted to cross the road to visit Kiddy Land but I reminded her that we still had a long list for today. Thus we just walked on and she dropped by at LINE store. I find LINE characters cute but not cute enough for me to like but I still enjoyed the store as there is Brown photo room. Lol. We continued to Takeshita Dori which was a sea of human. We went to the Disney Store and I was tempted to get Peter Pan tsum tsum land version. Its price is comparable to tsum tsum but the size is much bigger. Again it is in my KIV list lol. I am still a bigger fan of anime/manga and I shall not buy anything until after I visit my otaku havens.

After reaching the Harajuku Station, my sister suggested to side track to Meiji Jingu instead. We actually did not know where it was but we thought it should be nearby since we kept seeing the signage along the road. With a reason that this might be a place that my dad would like to see for our May trip, we decided to explore. It was not a short walk from the entrance to the main temple but when I saw the timing of our photos, we only spent about an hour there. I suppose the cold made the walk felt further and more unbearable. The inu shiba figurine at the souvenir shop caught my attention but again I told myself to tahan.
Sake barrels along the way to Meiji Jingu
We went to Shinjuku specially to find Yodobashi because at this point of time, my sister had decided to get Apple Watch and my dad had decided to get iPhone. Yodobashi and Bic Camera has additiona 5% for payment by credit card. Since we knew that Bic Camera does not sell iPhone without contract, we decided to try Yodobashi. The unreliability of my sister and her internet map+GPS was proven again as we exited at the wrong side and had to make a big round. My Japanese language was useful finally to help to locate the Yodobashi building in the midst of buildings there.

Unfortunately Yodobashi also did not sell iPhone without contract so we only bought Apple Watch for my sister. She did not want to speak and I refused to speak to the shop assistants as well. I cannot speak Japanese after all. She wanted to buy she better open her mouth. The assistants could actually speak English pretty well.

Detouring to Omotesando earlier was a blessing as we passed by an Apple Shop there. Initially we thought we had to return to Ginza to buy iPhone for my dad. Omotesando is much nearer so we went back. There was no stock for iPhone X (I wonder if it is really that popular or Apple is just producing limited quantity to create the illusion that it is a much sought after item) so we bought iPhone 8+ in the end. Since I wanted to get the credit card points, I had to be the one to open my mouth lo.

This experience at Apple Store made my impression toward Apple even more negative. The shop was full of people but they were all just windows shopping. The people who wanted to buy was asked to line up at the sides of the store. The problem was there were more staff attending to the window shoppers than to the ones who wanted to buy. Yucks!! It was really just a strategy to make the shop look busy from outside.

At this point of time we had to bid goodbye to Shibuya and Hachiko as we were already tired. Haha.. We still had to walk all the way to Harajuku again leh. This time we visited the Kiddy Land and aih I saw Harry Potter plushie sia.. Lucky it was only Harry because if the others were available, I would not be able to resist. I saw Squall mini plush which I did not buy because I should be able to find it in Akihabara. After the sun was down, Takeshita Dori was empty. I was joking that perhaps the students had to go home already. Lol. That was a good thing because at least our journey to the JR station was much quicker.

The weather was really taking its toll on us. We left half an hour earlier this morning but we returned to hotel one hour earlier. Since it was Christmas, I was thinking of getting a cake or something. It is interesting that Japanese do not really celebrate Christmas as they are not Christians but they really buy the cakes etc to celebrate this occasion. A lot of cakes were sold out at the shops that we passed by at Shinagawa. In the end I only bought 1 banana mochi and 1 peach mochi. Well good enough as they were good enough and definitely I would buy again before this holiday ends.

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