Tokyo Love

So I left Tokyo Tuesday morning… tear… How would I have loved to stay longer to explore more of this fascinating place! But Japan has so much to offer, one has to move on, otherwise you could easily get stuck in a place like Tokyo. But that was Tuesday, and before that laid a weekend ahead of me.

Friday I went to explore some more of the district around the hostel and to the construction site of the Tokyo Sky Tree. It’s currently standing 497m tall and supposed to reach 634m upon completion end of next year with the opening scheduled for spring 2012.

Contrasts around Tokyo Sky Tree

After that I headed for the posh shopping mile in Ginza. All major labels have flagship stores in the Ginza Dori avenue. I was not that much interested in what they sell to the rich guys, but once again the architecture is fascinating. I really like the way they do it here in Tokyo. Where ever I go in this city I see some or many interesting constructions. This stands in stark contrast with the way of producing buildings in Shanghai (and any other booming city in China for that matter).

After Ginza I continued towards Shibuya, where the famous crossing can be observed sipping coffee at you know who. It is pretty impressive to watch the activity around that place, supposedly the world’s most busy intersection. In Shibuya I really quite liked some of the smaller streets where one can find some nice bars and coffee shop as well as excellent record shops. There I pretty much lost it. Got into a used record shop, which has a huge selection of very different music styles and really takes good care of the vinyl. Ended up browsing in listening to music for a couple of hours and left happy with a bag full of records. So if you’re into music, think thoroughly before setting a foot into that area…

Saturday another busy shopping area was explored. This time it was Omotesando Dori in Harajuku and Aoyoma area, again heaps of fascinating architectural creations, this time even with a notable Swiss contribution. Herzog & de Meuron are the creators of Prada’s top notch store there.

Chloe, Cartier & Prada on Omotesando Dori

I continued my stroll at Takeshita Dori, a very entertaining street. Also dedicated to shopping frenzy, however, somewhat different. It is an excellent street to do people watching, as is the rest of the Harajuku area. However, Takeshita Dori attracts the playful and colorful clientel. At one end of this street is a big park where one can find the Meiji Temple and Shrine. There I saw a traditional Japanese Wedding, emersing me in one of these ‘lost in translation moments’. And had an additional special touch just after the walk between those completely trashy stores.

Takeshita Dori, not only foreigners are surprised
Traditional Japanese Wedding at Meiji Temple

With my reservation done from Switzerland a while ago I went to check it at the Blue Note Jazz Club, just to be sure not to be facing disappointing surprises. But all was good and so I also new where to go and what to do the next day to attend the concert of Michel Camilo and his Big Band playing Caribe! By the way, the concert was fantastic to say the least! However, for the hefty price the set was rather short, still it was worth it.
The Blue Note also being in that Aoyoma area, I decided to continue towards Ebisu. It had all started five days earlier during the train ride from Narita Airport to Asakusa, where my hostel was. As I was looking into my maps and my Tokyo guide after a nap, I must have seemed a bit lost, since the Japanese guy next to me asked me if he might help me. And as he and his girlfriend were also having big luggage with them the conservation was on. He then also made sure that I won’t miss my stop, but before that, like any respectable Japanese would hand me his card. It turned out he’s a hairdresser and since my hair were out of control since a couple of weeks anyway I decided to go look for his shop.
One thing lead to another and before I realized it I was sitting in a tiny bar drinking expensive import beer with a nice bunch of Japanese. The result, you guessed it: Karaoke! All Night Long…

Very entertaining, but no good for my Sunday plans. As I was lying in my bed in the afternoon, I suddenly thought: who’s shaking my bed? – No one here… What’s happening? It was not strong, but it was there. My decelerated brain needed a few moments until it realized: Tokyo + Shaking Bed = Earthquake!
I admit, it was not strong, but it was there. And just to be sure I wasn’t hallucinating (the possibility of which I would not completely exclude) I checked if I could find something. Didn’t take much until I ended up on the website of the Japan Meteorological Agency. Magnitude 4.4. The day ended with the aforementioned wonderful performance of 17 top notch Jazz musicians.

My last day in Tokyo started early. At 5 a.m. to be precise, Tsukiji Fish Market calling. This was a fascinating thing to see and the sushi I had for breakfast will certainly be the freshest I’ll ever have had. And it was delicious too – oishii! Went to see some more of the many things to see, such as the Tokyo Tower, the view from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building and the Kitchen Market. My last sight was in the early evening in Shinjuku. As my friends stated: Crazy! ‘Nuff said…

At the Tsukiji Fish Market
In Shinjuku

Good Night Tokyo
Sayonara, domo arigato

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