When I was a kid I wondered why fantastical realism was so popular in the anime I watched. Every anime hero found some lost shrine or hidden place and I having grown up in a population dense but geographically spacious area could not truly appreciate the mysticism of having things packed so tightly next to one another. Most of the buildings I encountered were multilevel and filled to capacity with every type of shop imaginable. I recall quite on accident pressing the third-floor button on an elevator and having it open directly into a restaurant. No foyer, no hallway, and no host stand, just a table with two people eating, maybe 3 feet from the doors. Tokyo is a place bisected by time, with the very old clinging to the edges of where the very new is not.
I returned from my first trip into Akihabara tired, as I was still sick. and I slept for a few more hours before I decided to head out. The sun was setting as I trecked along.
It was odd, and many people questioned why photograph this man’s converse, but it reminded me a lot of home, and despite being gone for only a day or two international travel tends to summon up homesickness readily.
One of the few one on one interactions I had with someone who was japanese. Harajuku is very close to Shibuya, and there was actually a photo op location near my hotel, so I ran into these lovely ladies. Not pictured is the part where they took about 20 photos of themselves with me.
after narrowly escaping the lovely ladies above, I read online (read 7-11 WiFi) about a bar that was also a collectables store, and so I headed out in search of it, and despite Tokyo’s incredibly hard to navigate address system, I found it!
the stock , and On the second floor of a (relatively) small building was a little shop called mint. From the outside, it looked like a card and comic shop. I ventured in browsed the stacks, found some deals, and then found the bar. The bar is ingenious. The tables had play area below a glass sheet which covered the playing field, meaning you could drink and even spill on accident without having to worry about getting your game of choice dirty. The bar also featured sports betting from what I could tell.
When I finally pulled my jaw off the floor and got back to Shibuya crossing it was in full swing. I have never seen so many people all walking all at once, except maybe at Comicon, but instead of being overweight pop culture aficionados, they were all well-dressed Asians. (quick note, I saw only 2 people in my entire time in Japan who didn’t look like they’d spent considerable time in front of a mirror. Both of those 2 people were old ladies, who had a look of IDGAF about them.)
This is something we need here in the States. It’s a smoking room. Japan is very strict about where you can smoke, and this is one of the area’s designated for smoking. I can see this being really useful when it rains or snows. BEHOLD THE BEHEMOTH That is Starbucks. I actually never tried Japanese Starbucks. A 12-ounce coffee was 5 USD and I decided to stick to canned coffee.
So to be completely off kilter I decided to visit a bar in Shibuya. I settled on one right up the street from my hotel, a British-themed underground pub. (for a country that has earthquakes the Japanese seem to be enamored with being below ground). Within I drank the best damned Rum and Coke I’ve ever had. They added a fresh lime, and it was glorious. Even at the time the comedy of the situation was palpable, as I was sitting in Tokyo, in a Brittish Pub, Drinking and American soft drink mixed with a Puerto Rican Spirit.
I’d like to say I went galavanting into the night and that I was too drunk to take pictures, but I did not. I had three drinks, and then stumbled back to my hotel, and passed out. (pardon me for being a light weight!)
Day three-tomorrow dear readers! Thanks for reading!