Glamorous Ginza

We spent our first full day in Japan roaming around Ginza! If you like shopping, especially if you like high end shops, then Ginza is probably the right place for you. Peter and I on the other hand just wanted to go to Ginza because of the ginormous Bic Camera! What is this you ask? Only the biggest electronic store I’ve ever been to! Floors and floors of all the electronic goodies you can think of! Even things that haven’t been released in the U.S. Without even realizing how much time we spent in Bic Camera, it was dark by the time we left. My feet hurt soooo bad and I began to feel hot and dizzy so I found myself a nice bench and waited as Peter looked around. He ended up getting himself a birthday gift and I got him some accessories for it. He also found the DJ gear and of course he DJ’d for the shoppers haha!

This is also where I discovered that Japan has the BEST toy machines! Rows upon rows of machines that don’t give out crappy break-the-same-day toys. They give out the good stuff!

But before all of that we were lost on the streets of Ginza! Thankfully, we stumbled upon a KFC that had free internet and we loaded a map to find our way back to where we wanted to be.

Ginza Street is full of people, shops, tourists and SHOPS…I said that already. We found ourselves a bench in the middle of the street, but first we stopped for juice because it was a hot day, and people watched for awhile. While we were sitting, a man dressed in robes came to us and put a photo of Buddha in our hands. Then he brought out a book and had Peter sign his name and put down an amount of money that we wanted to give! I was appalled because it was sort of forceful. Peter couldn’t say no, so he fished out his money from his pocket and when the man saw how much money Peter had, he crossed out the 1000 yen ($12.00) and wrote in 2,000! I didn’t let Peter pay 2,000 and I refused to sign the book. I gave back the photo of Buddha and he left…we watched him wander over to the next unsuspecting tourist couple walking behind us. I was quite offended and Peter was regretful that he gave in to the robed man. But he is much nicer than I am and I like that about him!

As I continued people watching, I fell in love with all the fashion. The fashion in Tokyo is absolutely the best I’ve seen. It’s so unique and inspiring. I wouldn’t wear most of it, but I appreciate it and am in awe of people who aren’t embarrassed to express themselves through their fashion.

The funniest thing happened while we were looking at the shops and walking down the sidewalk. A group of older Japanese men and women came rushing over to Peter and asked if they could take photos of him walking for their photography class! So of course Peter agreed and I took a quick shot of them taking photos of Peter! I thought it was sweet.

We walked and walked and WALKED. I love all the streets in Japan that turn into a cluster of new streets at every corner. You could get lost and somehow manage to find yourself again. The architecture is beautiful and changes with every few blocks. I found this glass building that I love!

We eventually came to the Sony building where we spent some time looking at all of the Sony products and Peter played a racing game on a giant projector screen.

We continued walking and I began to realize that everything in Japan is cute!

By the time dinner came around, we were starving and just picked whatever we could find. That happened to be a place called Jonathan’s.  It had an interesting variety of food. I guess it was Japanese and other. I’m not sure what the other was. Like hamburger patties with fries, pizza, garlic bread, and some other stuff that I didn’t recognize. There were a lot of Japanese items to choose from as well. The menu was in Japanese and we just pointed to a bunch of pictures and ate. It was a little difficult for me to find food in Japan because I don’t eat seafood and most everything had some sort of seafood in it. Even the noodles that say they’re vegetable had shrimp in them. I ate pizza a lot. Boring, I know.

We decided to walk some more and just look at all the buildings and people. Then we jumped back on the train and headed to Shibuya. It was Saturday night and we planned to bring in Peter’s birthday with a bang!

Hello Shibuya!

Sadly, my week long vacation in Japan has come to an end. I never could have imagined JUST how much I would enjoy this trip. As you know, I’ve only been working at my current job for a few months and had to take unpaid leave. I was worried about the cost of this trip and unexpected expenses. I was thinking, “It’s Peter’s birthday so I just need to suck it up and let go,” and I did just that.

Friday, the day of our departure, Peter and I went to work and the minutes were ticking by SO slowly! Finally, 2:00 PM hit and I was out the door and on my way to pick up Peter. As usual, we were running late trying to finish last minute things. Our friend picked us up and dropped us off at the airport where we ran and made it just on time. The flight was smooth and quick. As we descended toward Japan I got butterflies in my stomach. Another stamp in my passport! Curiosity ran through my body as I imagined what it would be like.

 From the airport we found the JR (Japanese Railway) ticket office where we activated our week long train passes. We also bought train tickets to the Shibuya Station. There is this really good deal if you buy a pass, one way or roundtrip, and you are a foreigner you get a Suica card with 1500 yen (about $19.00 USD) per pass to spend anywhere that accepts Suica. The card is loaded with yen and all you do is scan it at checkout. Upon return of the card, you get 500 yen back. Pretty great! We used ours to buy drinks from the vending machines at the train stations.

 The vending machines are super cool! I was wondering why the drinks are so small, until later I realized that people chug their drink and throw it in the garbage bin located next to the vending machine. This also explained why we could never find garbages anywhere other than near the vending machine. People also don’t eat and walk. You could even buy beer from these machines!

We made our way to the NEX and took the train a few hours to Shibuya, Tokyo!

How we got around in the train station beats me. Everything is pretty much in Japanese, with a few signs in English. Luckily Peter brought his tablet and loaded a few maps on it to guide us. We made it to the hotel after crossing a giant intersection and weaving through the crowd of people. By this time my energy level boomed and I couldn’t wait to dump our luggage at the hotel and hit the streets for some adventures!

We stayed at the Tokyu Inn Shibuyu. I wish I had taken a photo of the room because it was SOOO small and the bathroom looked identical to an airplane bathroom plus a tub. The room was meant for two people but there was absolutely no walking space. But that didn’t matter because we really didn’t plan on spending any time in there. We unpacked our things, freshened up and headed out again.

We walked around the streets of Shibuya. Although there were a lot of people out, it was very quiet. I guess that’s one of the main differences I noticed while in Japan. No one talks on their phones while walking, people usually mind their own business and don’t pay attention to others and everything is absolutely clean and orderly. I love it! We searched for some food, but it was pretty late so we were stuck with Family Mart and 7-11! I found this random piece of pizza with corn on it and Peter had an assortment of foods. When we got back we found these funny little robes/pajamas on our bed. Peter and I wore them. We ate and watched the people through our window on the 7th  floor until we fell asleep.

The next morning we walked across the street to this small cafe. We don’t speak Japanese and most people we met in Japan didn’t know any English, so we communicated with hand gestures and pointing to pictures. We ended up pointing to this picture on the menu for breakfast and chose this delicious sandwich and two coffee drinks. Like most things in Tokyo, space in limited so we ordered our food downstairs and ate on the 2nd floor overlooking the streets. I really appreciate the attention to detail and the presentation. From the way food is placed on a tray, to the packaging of store bought items even how you present your money to the cashier at the register. Everyone takes pride in everything that they do.

After breakfast we headed to the train station, where we got lost in the station for about an hour! We FINALLY figured out that we can only us JR lines with the train pass and were in the wrong part of the station. So, we made our way to the correct area, boarded the train and headed to Ginza…