If only that were true. In fact, I had to pay extra to cart all my goodies home. Six kilos of bento boxes, Hello Kitty hairbrushes and four hundred and seventy-five pieces of cute stationery. Seriously, the place is a shopping mecca. Everything screams "buy me! now!" and the stores are packed. I went to a shopping centre that was only for teenage girls and there was eight levels! It was intense... and full of fake eyelashes.
The Japanese, from what I saw, are phenomenally well-dressed. Hair perfect, pretty bows on shoes, a serious addiction to eye makeup and gorgeous coats. Men were looking sharp in suits and little kids were straight out of catalogues. It made me re-think my devotion to hoodies in winter!
The foliage was breathtaking, and filled the beautiful parks we went to.
We definitely do not get this in Queensland! Trees are either green or brown. Or greenish-brown.
Shibuya was a sensory overload - no wonder they call it the Times Square of Tokyo! The thickest crowds, the brightest lights, the loudest TV billboards. I was invited to buy the latest single from Sexy Zone, and Afterschool Xmas, and some Pocky, among other things. The scramble crossing was insane, at some points I had to hang on to Veggie Dad's bag so I didn't get carried away by the tide. Lots of people going in lots of different directions!
The statue of Hachiko was so sweet. I love the story - he was the much-loved dog of a Tokyo University professor, and would meet after work at the station every day when the train was due to walk his owner home. One day in 1925, the professor did not appear, having died from a brain haemorrhage. Hachiko continued to wait at the train station faithfully at the end of each day until he too died nine years later.
Tokyo DisneySea was super-fun. Seven ports, all very different, all very well-recreated. Mediterranean Harbour, American Waterfront, Lost River Delta, Port Discovery, Mermaid Lagoon, Arabian Coast and Mysterious Island were all so much fun to walk through and explore. We had the best time in King Triton's cave, where everything was The Little Mermaid-themed and aimed at the younger kiddies. Veggie Baby had her first theme park ride and was nonplussed. Dad and I, however, were loving it.
I wanted to go on the Tower of Terror ride so bad, and climb all over the S.S. Columbia, but the wait times were in excess of 70 minutes... so I consoled myself with some popcorn - one batch was black pepper-flavoured, and another was milk tea. Weird, but good!
Shinjuku Golden Gai blew our minds and made us wish we had a babysitter! six tiny alleyways packed to the brim with even tinier bars for 4-6 people. I'm reliably informed you can order a beer and some metal music on the same menu and you can rock out in your cramped quarters. The doors looked like tiny fairy doors from an Enid Blyton book, only they were painted black and brown and had graffiti and stickers all over them. Punk fairy doors?
Sunset over Mt Fuji from the 45th floor of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building was pretty special. The city stretches out for ever in every direction.
Sadly we couldn't eat a lot of Japanese food, as there is meat and fish in everything. I figured we could eat tempura and just ask for veggies (yasai) instead of whatever they had. I learned how to say "I don't eat meat" the last time we went to Japan in 2008, but they don't see seafood as meat. (As an aside, that is usually the first question I get when people find out I'm vegetarian - "do you eat fish?" Why is this? Fish is an animal, no? If I'm vegetarian, why would I eat fish? Please explain!) After this dish was brought out with prawns and whitefish along with the veggies, I went home and learned how to say "I don't eat meat or fish"!
Oh and Americans abroad? You are loud, rude and ignorant. Most of you, anyway... sad.
Wanna come too?