The days in Japan seem to be wonderfully long and action-packed. I'm sure you could take it easy, but with so much to do and see and limited time we opt for coffee instead of sleep.
We roll out of bed with fuzzy jet-lagged heads and hit the local Starbucks for some strong caffeine and breakfast pastries. Okay, I know, it's slacker and "Oh-So-Western" to go to Starbucks when we should be eating the more traditional okayu (rice porridge), tamagoyaki (an omelette type of thing), tsukemono pickles (random pickled things), nori (dried seaweed) & natto (fermented soy beans) . Growler, Gaz's guitar player, went a bit more Japanese trad (if not by choice); he ordered cereal and was given salad for breakfast. We opted for blueberry muffins and cinnamon rolls & they were as expected...
It was a beautiful sunny day so we strolled from Shinjuku through the park (lined with cherry blossoms) to the Meiji-Jingu Shrine. The Shrine was stunning, it was surrounded by tall trees & despite the hordes of tourist it had a real sense of peace and calm.
We then headed to Takeshita Street, best known for it's Lolita Goth scene aka The Harajuku Girls. The whole street smelled like burnt sugar, with candy shops, ice cream parlours and crepe stands side by side. There were shops reminiscent of 1990's Camden that were filled with corsets, lace gloves and black and white striped petticoats; a worthy wardrobe for an extra in a Tim Burton film: Beetlejuice meets Sleepy Hollow.
We made our way through the winding streets to Kiddyland! If you come to Tokyo you can't miss Kiddyland. It's seven floors of Sanrio, Studio Ghibli, stickers, dolls, cuddly toys, homeware, t-shirts, and other various things like talking refrigerator gadgets (between us we bought about six of these talking refrigerator things), interactive kleenex box covers & more, much more.
Laden down with exquisite tat we then headed to one of Tokyo's favourite vintage shops, Chicago Thrift, where you could find just about anything. Garo, Growler and Adam bought matching kimonos in bright cerulean blue. We later got the Japanese characters on the kimonos translated & it would seem that one is branded for a tiny, privately-owned bank, the other for a specific farm, the third kimono, we're still not sure!
We then head back to our hotel to prepare for the night ahead. The record company is taking us out to dinner & the rest of the touring party, Loz and Mikko are arriving. The night is going to be large! And that is where I'm gonna leave you... stay tuned for the next instalment.
P.S. Here's Gaz celebrating his new black-hooded-cloak with brand-new, bright-orange, trainers... en route to Thee Record Company Dinner
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