Japan – Day 6

Day 6 was a low-key day for us as today was the breaking of the fellowship with one of our number heading back to the U.S. and the next morning the remaining 3 of us would be catching the Shinkansen for Kyoto. Our imminently departing friend hadn’t been feeling well so we stayed in for the morning, hence the uneventful post.

Not to say that we had a totally quiet morning: to hopefully make himself feel better, he ended up downing some energy drink packaged in a pink bottle that made him feel a bit jittery and wired, which was somewhat comical. None of us had any idea of what was in the drink but it had 47 of something and 25 of something else so it must have been good, right? It seemed to make him feel better, even if he was bouncing off the walls. We didn’t worry about him much, though, as we all kept saying, “Trust him, he’s a doctor,” because he is (of medicine, even).

After a lunch of curry at the request of our departing friend (who also has a problem digesting it, I might add – but trust him, he’s a doctor), we saw him off at Shibuya Station. As the remaining 3 of us to leave Tokyo for Kyoto the next day, we decided to get our train tickets for a morning Shinkansen. We could have skipped the ticketing and boarded the train in the unreserved cars but we decided to reserve our seats and also get into the Green Car (first class) since that’s what we purchased the Green Japan Rail Passes for. Our previous trips on the Yamanote Line and various metro lines during the week taught us that the trains will be VERY crowded at that time of morning and it might be difficult for us to get ourselves, not to mention our luggage, into the train at that time so we decided to get on the Narita Express from Shibuya Station to connect with our Shinkansen – that way we could reserve seats in the First Class cabin and have plenty of room for our bags. 🙂

It started to rain hard while we were at the station so we tried to stay indoors as much as possible, going back to get a last bird’s eye view of the city.

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We spent some time in the indoor shopping malls (sorry, no photos allowed) and my German friend bought a bright orange knit hat, which you’ll see in later posts (trust me, you can’t miss it). He and I were making sure we were prepared for the cold weather in Kyoto (45 degrees F) but our other friend thought it wouldn’t be a big deal and decided he didn’t need anything…you’ll see how long that lasts. 😉

We grabbed some food at a basement food hall and headed back to the apartment to dry off and rest a little before heading out again in the evening. We decided to visit the 109 Mens store, which is apparently where the young trendy people go. Here is a shot of the main 109 store all decked out for Christmas in its own way.

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Across the scramble was the 109 Mens store, which oddly had a big pink Hello Kitty display at the entrance. After that, though, it seemed to be a men’s store.

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You can see the Starbucks we visited on Day 3 in the picture above. The clothes at the 109 Mens stores ranged from the types of things we normally see in the states to punk and Visual Kei styles. I’ve been wearing my Blaster Bag for most of the trip and it seemed to draw a bit of attention here – if I wasn’t a gaijin I’m pretty sure someone would have come up to me to ask me where I got it…or why such an old lady was wearing something like that. 😉

Since the yen is so weak against the dollar and we could have the 8% tax waived for purchases over ¥10K, we decided to check out the Shibuya Apple Store and Labi to see what electronics prices were. We got some ideas for things we may want to bring back but we don’t want to lug everything to Kyoto and back to Tokyo again so we’ll make our purchases later.

In anime news, the latest Naruto movie The Last was being heavily advertised by the Marui stores.

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The branch across the street had even more advertisements.

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My fellow anime-loving friend on this trip introduced me to Naruto and I’m slowly making my way through the series. I was unimpressed by the first 3 episodes when I tried watching a few years ago but he made me stick with it and it’s decent, actually. I’ll admit I’m more of a Bleach fan (except for Rukia – her best role was as a MacGuffin in the Soul Society arc than as a participating character, imho) but Naruto is ok. The manga ended only a month ago after 15 years (no spoilers, please!) and I hope the story was wrapped up nicely. I’ll be sure to take a look…eventually.

One last parting photo from our trip to downtown Shibuya:

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There’s a lot to see in this scene and I had to capture that, yes, cigarette vending machines really do exist here. So do smoking cars on the shinkansen and smoking sections in restaurants. It’s a bit different from California.

I’ll leave you with a view from the apartment in which we stayed in Shibuya.  We were very fortunate in its great location and how nice everything was!

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Our trip to Kyoto commences on Day 7 and I’ll have lots of pictures to share so stay tuned for the next post.

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