After our shrine day outside of Tokyo, we spent the next couple days exploring things in and around the heart of Tokyo.
We saw the beautiful Meiji Shrine!
After the Shrine, while we were in Shibuya, we saw the famous Hachiko statue. Hachiko is a famous Japanese doggo who waited for his owner for nine whole years after his owner had died! This statue is in the Shibuya district of Japan where we got extremely lost when looking for the statue (it’s a confusing place!). We were confusedly looking at our phones when a really sweet man came by and asked us if we were lost, in English. We then told him where we wanted to go and he actually walked with us through complicated entryways and buildings to show us where to go and he would reply in English every time we spoke in Japanese. So cute!
Other places we visited included Akihabara Electric City which is famous for having lots of anime-related places, arcades, and stores. We went to a Victorian-style maid cafe called Cure Maid Cafe (not the super moe-moe types), where sadly the only vegetarian thing I could eat was a bland pasta and we were not allowed to take pictures. 😦 There were tons of cute souvenir shops and anime/manga-themed shops where we did a bunch of shopping. We also bought happis which are shorter, more casual kimonos or yukatas (more on those in the next post). Here are some Akihabara pictures.
After leaving Akihabara and going to the train station, I suddenly realized I didn’t have my JR pass which cost oh-so-much money (loss #3 — are you keeping track?). I freaked out and we went to the counter at the station and asked if I could get a replacement to which they replied I could not. Aditi and I decided to take the chance of retracing our steps in the hopes that we might somehow come across it in the enormous Akihabara. We went back into the last store we visited and checked around the areas we were in but I couldn’t see it anywhere! I decided to ask one of the sales clerks and literally forgot the word for “lost” in Japanese and was struggling to say that I was looking for my JR pass. Finally, I summoned the words and said “JR pass wo nakushita” and the clerk showed recognition and led me to the back where they had stored the pass. I cried a sigh of relief and it was at this moment that Aditi decided I shouldn’t be in charge of my own JP pass for the rest of the trip and even passed the responsibility onto Aparna when she joined us for the second week of the trip.
On one of the nights, we decided to check out one of the known vegetarian restaurants in Tokyo (which we looked up on https://www.happycow.net/). This place also happened to be in Roppongi, which is the nightlife district of Tokyo. On reaching the place where it should technically have been, we discovered an empty slot in the building. Confused, we went next door and asked one of the hosts about it and he seemed as confused as we were. Since we were hungry, we asked him if his restaurant had vegetarian food (“begetarian ga arimasu ka?” – if anyone wants to keep track, this was my most used phrase throughout the whole trip which means “do you have vegetarian food?”) to which he laughingly replied “chotto ne, kore wa ‘niku paradise’ desu ne” (“ummm, well this place is called ‘meat paradise'”). Following this hilarious revelation, he proceeded to ask us about where we were from and what we were looking to do. We told him we were from India and we wanted to eat and then karaoke. Apparently, he had traveled to India for a few months and did either hiking or mountaineering in the Himalayas a while ago! He then asked us something and we replied to which he exclaimed “okane-mochi desu ka?!” (“are you guys rich?!”). Aditi and I remember finding that so adorable but for the life of us cannot remember what conversation led to him asking this! I will keep you posted on that.
We ended up eating at Hard Rock Cafe (I know, so Japanese of us). After this, we walked along the main Roppongi street looking for a karaoke place. Turns out you can’t walk more than 2 meters without running into a karaoke place in this area. We went into a few places and I put my numerical- and price-related Japanese to the test in asking about pricing and we went to the cheapest place. All the instructions and song titles were in Japanese so good thing we could read Japanese. 😀 [Again, curious how non-Japanese speakers would handle this. Because I am pretty sure there are anime-watchers who love Japanese songs but can’t read or write. But, it’s entirely possible that maybe, just maybe, not everyone is as obsessed with karaoke as I am.]
Last but not least, we went to Tokyo Tower!
Also, Dominique Ansel’s famous bakery in Tokyo!