Day 4: 06/15/08

This was kind of a rough day.

Woke up and went to Harajuku, which is pretty much where the goth/punk crowd hangs out. This is where you go if you want to see Gothic lolita, Sweet lolita, Cyber-goths and other various costumes. For the most part, they go there and want their pictures taken. Of course, there are exceptions.

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We hung out there for a little bit and then went to see the Meiji Jingu Shrine, which is right around the corner. The shrines in Japan are huge. Lots of walking. But this was apparently one of the major ones. While there though, we were lucky enough to witness a wedding ceremony. I had no clue what was going on. It looked cool, I wanted to take pictures. Shannon kept pointing to her ring. I didn’t get it until she explained it to me afterwards. Ohh, wedding ceremony! Luckily I did manage to get a picture of the bride and groom.

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After that we went to see the iris gardens, and I kept hearing some LOUD techno music coming through the woods. I had my plan, that’s where I wanted to be. The iris gardens were actually pretty cool and we explored the whole gardens. The azaleas were unfortunately getting out of bloom.

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After leaving the shrine I had one goal. FOLLOW THE MUSIC. We tried. There was lots of music. Yoyogi-koen park is huge. People have music set up everywhere. Everything from gospel to techno, to rockabilly. Our first encounter was with japanese greaser rockabilly bikers. WTF!? These guys looked really intimidating until you’ve seen them dance. Then, not so intimidating. Between the six of them, they had ONE bike.

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After that we walked around some more, and found a mini-rave, which was actually quite lame. Then we found the real rave đŸ™‚ Raving in Tokyo! In a park. I found my Zen.

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7pm: time to shut down. I guess that’s the park rules, so time to head back to the hotel. Or so I thought.

We got back to the hotel, rested for a tiny bit, and then decided to go on a nighttime walking tour (self guided) of Shinjuku. According to our guide book we were supposed to start at the south entrance of Shinjuku station. Problem #1: Finding the south entrance. These train stations are HUGE! The north entrance could very well be half a mile or more away from the south entrance. We hadn’t gotten our bearings yet. We had already gotten lost INSIDE the station. Finally we found it. This was supposed to be our starting point.

136 - Tokyo - Shinjuku - 20080615But there was a sake stand there, and they invited us to sit down. Little did I know what this would lead to. Shannon got her beer, and with it being a sake stand, of course I got some sake. We semi chatted with the locals who were, to put it mildly, quite drunk at the time. They spoke little english, we spoke no japanese. At some point I was offered some takoyaki. I had learned the term tako before going there. Tako != Taco. Tako = octopus tentacles = avoid. But for some reason I didn’t make the connection at the time, and even if I knew what it was I would have felt rude to refuse. It actually wound up being quite tasty.

137 - Tokyo - Shinjuku - 20080615Then Shannon pointed out one of the guys(who was about 40 years old) mentioned the word “cute”. Apparently he wasn’t talking about Shannon. Great, being hit on by 40 year old guy in front right in front of my wife. And he kept trying to hold my hand. I don’t think so. But he was pretty harmless. For those of you that know him, pretty much a Rob.

After that we continued on our walking tour, but still not being familiar with the area, I fucked up. We were supposed to head south, I went west. Oops. We wound up in what Shannon considered a sketchy neighborhood. Guys in black suits with earphones standing front of clubs/bars. Places called “Girl Bar”. Probably Yakuza territory. However, personally I never felt threatened or in any way intimidated.

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After our little excursion we finally did make it back to our hotel and time to sleep. LONG day.

Full set of pictures can be seen at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/chriggy/sets/72157605668737297/

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~ by chriggy on June 22, 2008.

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