Monday, September 07, 2009

Travel: Japan, pt.3 (blast from the past)

Tokyo: Last Full Day | 2006-05-03
It was bound to happen. In a city full of 1-2" shelf-steps all over the place, it was inevitable that the girl with ridiculously loose ligaments would turn her ankle... and fall... while watching her brand new digital camera soar through the air next to her (in slow motion)... then hit the pavement simultaneously. Why don’t they make hard-plastic iPod-like cases for cameras anyway? I was so angry with myself for not paying enough attention and missing that step - I was too engrossed in a window display and taking pictures. Anyway, both the camera and I survived. I landed on my left hip, so I’m expecting an ugly bruise to show up soon, but other than that and the ankle itself I only had a couple scratches on my left hand. I did it first thing in the morning too, so I couldn’t very well let it ruin my day... which was BEAUTIFUL by the way! Gorgeous bright, sunny; warm-in-the-sun, cool-in-the-shade weather!! Anyway, I hobbled around the area we were checking out, and eventually stopped at a drug store and got a Japanese Ace bandage. I can't believe I came all the way to Japan and bought an Ace bandage (when really, knowing myself,¢ I should have packed one). After I got my ankle all wrapped up, I faired much better and stopped hobbling and got to walking again.

This all happened in the Aoyama area near the Omotesando subway station. Right up the street from one of the coolest buildings I’ve ever seen - Prada. From the outside it looks like a quilted glass building - inside it’s all space age and futuristic. The rest of the shops in that area were cool clothing boutiques. We saw tons of them, and after a while they got a bit boring. But we got to see some amazing, and maybe a little out of the way, parts of Tokyo. Including Harajuku (not out of the the way, actually rather popular) and a completely overcrowded market street. It’s been a holiday all week in Japan - Golden Week (not sure what it means, but it obviously meant a ton of people out shopping). I won’t go into too much detail, but I have tons of pictures of all the shops (and the crowds - or maybe a better description would be SEA of people - everywhere).

After many hours finding and perusing various boutiques (clothes, paper goods, books, toys etc), we decided to try to make it out to the Ghibli Museum (Spirited Away, etc.) It was a bit out of the way, but TOTALLY worth it. Words can’t say how amazing it was, a real treat for an injured and super-tired traveler. The tickets are sold-out something like a year in advance for natives - but they reserve a certain amount for foreign visitors. We were lucky to get in at the very end of the day, we only had about an hour and a half by the time we got there, but it was an amazing experience. So not overdone like Disney, just really beautiful down to the last detail.

Once back in Tokyo, we tried to find a good Sushi Restaurant in Shibuya, but it just was not happening. I was so hungry and I needed to eat so badly - we ended up going to (I’m ashamed to say) T.G.I. Friday’s. Ridiculous, I know - but I got a really good milkshake out of it - and that alone made it worth walking in. After dinner we were beat so we headed back to the hotel. I packed everything up, and am looking forward to a relaxing all-nighter (so I can sleep on the plane on ”our” time). What an awesome trip.

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