We got off the bullet train from Osaka, squeezed ourselves into a tiny cab, and made our way through midday Tokyo traffic. We were exhausted, but ready to walk the streets of our favorite neighborhood, Shibuya, in Tokyo.
Shibuya is full of energy. It's like the Times Square of Tokyo. Bright lights, cute kids, full streets all hours of the day and night. We love to just walk and people watch, stumble through a street arcade, grab a bite of food, then keep walking. We love the beautiful izakaya shops tucked into 3rd and 4th floors stacked on top of each other, hundreds of places to eat on one street.
Another neighborhood we love to adventure through is Harajuku. We take a back walking path from Shibuya that is pedestrian-only. We walked past vintage shops, unique stores, and some of Japan's hippest kids. At the end of the path, we always make our way to Kiddyland. 5 stories of toys and more toys.
Another one of our favorite spots to stop and eat is Harajukugyozaru - a happy little place that pretty much serves only gyoza and beer. All you really need after a long walk in chilly weather.
A new find on this trip through Harajuki was amazing coffee at Nozy Coffee/The Roastery (see previous post!)
We also spend a lot of time wandering through music stores in Japan because they've become a relic of the past in America (and maybe everywhere else in the world?) The joy of shopping for physical albums and magazines is still alive and well in Japan. Appreciation for album art, having something to hold in your hand from the band you love, is something we miss. While browsing through Burrrn! Magazine in a Tower Records, we stumbled across Matt's monthly column which included photos from Metal+Honey!
Breakfast is hard to find in Japan, and we are breakfast junkies. It's not a meal that is eaten out often, especially before work, unless you're still drunk and out from the night before and you grab some quick ramen before pulling yourself together to get to the office -- cue salaryman jokes. By day 5-6, we couldn't eat anymore ramen breakfasts, or granola bars brought from home in the hotel, and ventured out to find where the expats go. We knew that surely Americans living in Tokyo had found places to go out and get an omelet. After winding through some backstreets, we found the charming Good Honest Grub.
Benedicts, omelets, smoothies, and breakfast potatoes -- just what we were missing from home.
In anticipation of the big Knotfest show, we moved on our final vacation day in Tokyo across town to the quieter Minato district to a famous old hotel that is known for hosting celebrities and diplomats, Hotel Okura. It was fun to stay somewhere with a lot of history, majestic lobbies, and a sense of old (1970s?) Japan. There's something enjoyable about places that are traditionally fancy (and expensive), but haven't been redecorated in decades.
Complimentary kimono robe and slippers? Don't mind if I do.
And finally, the event we had been waiting for. Robot Restaurant for some glitter, fake boobs, and sensory overload in the finest sense of the phrase. And it was glorious.