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Tuesday, January 22

The Young, The Hip, and Often The Quite Freaky

What do you do when your husband ditches you to return stateside, hanging out with all of your favorite people in all of your favorite places? Well, you retaliate by shopping one of the hippest and priciest parts of Tokyo… that’s what you do!

A girlfriend and I caught an early (but not too early as I stay up way past my bedtime when the husband is out of town) train to Harajuku on the best day to be there… Sunday! Why Sunday, you ask? Well, that’s when some seriously freaky people haunt the neighborhood. And everyone knows I love myself a good freak show.

In the past, there used to be a lot more freakiness and costume-wearing, day-long hanging out on the bridge over the train tracks, but things are mellowing in the area a tad. There are still those interested in good old-fashioned fun… like the middle aged guy handing out free hugs while dressed like a school girl. No, I did not except one, but I am pretty sure I would have gotten more than I bargained for with that price. This Sunday was particularly cold, which we think kept a few of the good costume wearers hidden inside curled around their kerosene heaters.

Besides the freaks (and I say that in truly the most adoring way), Harajuku provides shopping for the punk, the young and the trendy. And since I am… well… none of that, I relegated myself to the huge winter sale at the Gap and some kitchen trinkets and Ikebana books from the Oriental Bazaar. We peaked through many other stores (Condomania – oh, how you amuse me but I simply have no need for your wares) where there were many more frivolities I would have liked to waste money on (kisses to Anna Sui and Jimmy Choo just for making some of the most fantabulous goods my un-fashionable eyes have ever seen), but I’ll take the Valentine’s trip to China for $1700, Bob, and not the purse for twice that amount.

No visit to Harajuku is complete with a prayer at the most venerable shrine in Tokyo, the Meiji Jingu. There, in the middle of Tokyo, which rarely sees nary a flake of snow, did we see about fifty ice sculptures. Why, you ask? You with your questions… why, I have no idea why. But they sure were purty. Even the one where we questioned the artist’s intentions, knowing it would be placed at a religious site.

The bonus of the day… catching a bride and groom leaving the shrine after the ceremony. I sure hoped they didn’t mind my impromptu photo shoot performed over their photographers shoulder!


Lisa said...

Aren't you funny. I think I'll give that ice sculpture pose a shot. Ok, maybe not. But you should! As soon as KH gets back in town - try it out. It could be the one that brings you "success".

Anonymous said...

Hello, My name is Joe. I stumbled across your blog while doing research for my senior project. Which is on Expatriates living in Japan.
I myself want to pack up everything I have and move to Japan after I graduate, and have wanted to since I was young haha.
So, if I may ask, can I ask you a few clarifying questions as to your process of moving and etc? Not only for my project, but to help me know what I need to do to move.

You can reach me at my email, which is,

Thanks :)