Friday, June 4, 2010

Day 7 Harajuku and Akihabara (aka Electric Town)

Today was the day to wander around Tokyo. First stop Harajuku. This is the trendy area where Tokyonites apparently come to be ``trendy and spendy``. We walked to Asakusabashi train station, caught a train one stop to Akihabara and then changed at Akihabara for Harajuku. The train in Tokyo was amazing. There was like a loop line and we were able to use it on our JR pass and also meant that we didn:t have to try to work out the subway. Although everything is so well sign-posted in English that it wasn:t too hard to work out really. We managed.
So we took the loop line to Harajuku, got off and followed the crowd. It was easy to see which was the `trendy street.` We walked along looking at all the shops and suddenly realised we had lost Kate. She was in an accessory shop. So we hovered for awhile looking at the shop and other stores around it until she had made her purchase and then we continued. Next we wondered into Harajuku Daiso (hyakuen shop) where everything is supposed to be 100yen although in this one it didn`t seem to be. So then we lost Kate in  a shoe shop. When we went in she was trying a pair on and although they were too small I think she was going to buy them until Cara suggested she look at everything first.
WE walked on to the end of the street looking for the Harajuku girls but there were none to be found. Apparently sunday is the best day to go, but unfortunately that would not have been possible so Friday it was. So although we had come to Harajuku to see the Harajuku girls, we did not see any. WE walked back up the laneway dodging people and decided we could do with some food. Wandering makes you hungry, so we tried a couple of mall type areas but didn:t like the look of anything. Eventually we settled on a place that did Japanese style pasta and rice. Kate had the pasta, Cara and I had the rice as we do not believe that pasta is really Japanese and we were trying to be authentic.

It was so-so. Not the worst, but not the best meal either. Then we wandered on, found a few other little streets and wandered up them. We wanted to leave at about 2pm to go to Akihabara. We almost met that deadline. We found ourselves back on the train around 2.30pm which was fine. So we got back on the loop line bound for Akihabara. Electric town here we come. This is where i thought I would get my birthday present.

So we got off the train and wandered out onto the street into nothing I have ever seen before. A geek`s paradise so to speak, rows and rows and streets and streets of shops dedicated solely to electronic goods. I was in heaven. We wandered into the first store to discover it had 8 levels of all electronic goods. Wow is an understatement.
So we wandered around. Cara had a couple of things in mind that she wanted. Me, i had no idea. I was just in awe. So we wandered and wandered and wandered. Store after store, level after level. After a while it all got the same but it was still amazing. By this time I still didn:t really know what i wanted to buy for my birthday. SO much i wanted, but i had to think of space in my bag and the fact that i didn:t have much. So i didn:t really buy much of anything. I did buy a 16gb usb memory stick for quite a good deal. Although most things do work out about the same as in Australia, they are just a model that has not been released yet. SO a newer product for the same price as an old one. DOne deal.

After wandering through lots of shops and not even seeing everything, we eventually decided we had had enough. By this time i had kind of decided that I might like a digital photo frame. I still had to think of the limited space in my bag and wasn:t completely sure that it was what i wanted. So i didn:t actually buy one, but it was something to keep in mind.

WE wandered back to the train station and then got on a train bound for Asakusabashi. After wandering around all day we were all beat and we decided that if we got dinner on the way back to the hostel then we would not have to come out again. WE decided we wanted some udon soba type thing so we wandered past the street to the hostel and kept wandering for awhile. we came across a place that did udon or so we thought. WE had to order from a vending machine and then pass it to the shopkeeper. Everything in Japan is vending machines. I swear in about 10 years time it will all be robots. haha...

So we ordered. Cara and I semi-successfully, Kate not so much. She didn`t eat much so on the way back to the hostel we stopped at a convenience store and got some 2 min noodles.

We got back into the hostel and basically got ready for bed after a long day of sightseeing/shopping. Tomorrow was an early morning as we were bound for Mt Fuji on a bus tour and had to be at the bus stop at 9am. As we were not sure where we were going we had to walk out of the hostel at about 8am. So we organised everything and went to bed.

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