People everywhere will try
to be Tokyo tonight
leave it all behind it’s Tokyo-ing
and I wanna go.
Day 8: Some place you have been, Part 6
Sunday brought us the best day of our whole trip. Partly because we took in so much of the city, and partly because we were celebrating Andrea’s golden birthday. This was the day when we really experienced as much of Tokyo as was humanly possible. We started out the day with a trip to Harajuku.
By now I’m sure everyone knows what Harajuku is, but in the off chance you’ve been living in a cave I’ll give you the downlow. Harajuku is Tokyo’s youth and fashion district. If you want to know the latest trends and alternative fashions and lifestyles, Harajuku is your place.
The weekends are typically when the teens and trend setters come out to show off their gothic lolita, hip Harajuku, or cool cosplay outfits. I am assuming that we didn’t see very many because of the aftermath of the quake, but we still had fun exploring.
Takeshita is the street where all the cool kids meet. We spent most of the morning exploring the vendors and crepe stands that made up this famous thoroughfare. Andrea ended up getting a skirt for derby, and chose some shoes she would pick up later.
After we were done there, we headed over to Shibuya to check out the Square Enix store. Square Enix is the company that produces both the Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy video games. Andrea loves Kingdom Hearts, and we drop some cash there picking up some collectibles. I almost dropped something else when I climbed the stairs and happened upon this:
After that, we head up to Asakusa to see the Sensoji Temple.
Sensoji Temple is one of Tokyo’s most famous and popular temples. There are many places for prayer placards, good luck wishes, and fortunes. When you receive your omikuji, or fortune, if it’s bad you can tie it to one of the trees nearby to draw the bad luck off of you. If you have a good fortune, you can tie it to increase your blessings or speed up their delivery. Either way, both Jason and I tied on our fortunes.
One of the oddest experiences at the temple actually had to do with Andrea. There was an orange tree by one of the statues, and these three old men were sitting there chatting with people. For whatever reason, they were fascinated with Andrea. It was strange, but not in a creepy kind of way. It was almost as if she was a celebrity. They wanted to have their picture taken with her, and took pictures of her holding an orange from the tree.
After our tour of the shrine night was starting to fall so we made our way down Nakamise-dori, a shopping street where pilgrims to the shrine used to buy necessary items. Now it’s primarily where tourists can buy trinkets to take home. We did most of our shopping there as well.
Finally we needed to wind up Andrea’s birthday with a special dinner. And we couldn’t visit Tokyo without trying out Andrea’s favorite food in the world.
It was one long, amazing day. But we wouldn’t have had it any other way. And what an adventure to start out her teen years. All in all, the entire trip was so amazing and life changing. Being a part of a different culture and traveling so far from the comfort zones of home really expanded all of our horizons. In a lot of ways, I envy the opportunities that my daughter has had in her short life. Her world view is so much broader than anything I could have imagined during my youth. Being able to see what life is like for other people in other countries really puts so much of your own life into perspective and makes you realize that your little world can be limiting if you don’t test those boundaries.
What is the most memorable day you have ever had? Have you ever had the chance to experience another culture or part of the world that was different from your own day to day? How did it change you, and how did it change your perception of your own spirituality? When we see how big the world can be, it’s hard to imagine how we can limit a god to one that feels so small.