An epic day of Tokyo sightseeing.
Had the morning to myself – really the first free time I’d had on the trip. First thing, on the way to the train station, I passed a big pachinko (Japanese pokies) parlour that was just opening up. At 8.30 in the morning there was a queue of 20-30 people waiting for it to open.
My love affair with Japanese public transport continued, particularly on discovering that certain carriages of certain trains during peak hour are designated as ‘women-only’. No prizes for understand why this might be necessary.
I went to visit Meiji Shrine, situated adjacent to the famous Harajuku shopping district of Tokyo. The first thing I encountered on exiting the train station was hundreds of people lining up outside a popcorn shop. Yes, that’s right. Hundreds of people lining up for popcorn – welcome to Tokyo.
The shrine was quite gorgeous.
Lunch was a creamy stout in Ebisu Station with a toasted sandwich. I then rushed through the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography.
The reason for the rush was to meet my sister Alei at the kabuki theatre in Ginza. We watched the first act of a play, standing up the back. The audio commentary explained how, unlike European theatre, in kabuki the focus was not on the story or the play itself, but instead on the actor, and the performance they were giving.
After that we rushed across town to a summer festival, north of the imperial palace, with a crazy amount of people.
Having worked our way through the festival, we were back on the train heading to night district Shinjuku. First stop was camera stores, where I picked up a new macro lens and encountered a shopping assistant with OCD who held us up for a LONG time filling out the forms (twice, because he made a tiny error the first time) so I wouldn’t have to pay extra tax on it.
Then we ran across town to the Robot Restaurant, but that deserves a post all on its own…