*** Not much food in this one, so I wouldn't blame you if you just decided to come back tomorrow!
On our second full day in Tokyo, both the Missus and I awoke feeling....well, great! I'm sure you would too if you'd had the great meals we'd had the previous day. After doing some laundry the night before, the Missus hatched Her plan for the next morning. And so we started off from our apartment in Yotsuya Sanchome, heading South, then supposedly West....I say supposedly, because we took a wrong turn. Upon hitting Minamimotomachi Park, we realized we were headed in the wrong direction and turned around. From there it was a pretty straight line to our destination, Meiji-jingu.
And while Tokyo itself is fairly quiet for a city of its size.....you can escape much of the "white noise" here. All you hear is the crunching of gravel as you walk down the paths.
Emperor Meiji presided over the Meiji Restoration, which consolidated power under the rule of emperor. This period marked the modernization of Japan as it formed various alliances and opened its doors to the west.
The gate to the main shrine complex is the largest wooden "tori" (gate) of this style in the world and was built from 1500 year old Japanese Cypress trees from Taiwan.
The grounds give an impression of an old and ancient forested area, but the trees were actually planted during the shrine's construction in the 1920's.
The main shrine complex, at least when we visited, during a weekday morning was so peaceful and relaxing.....
It's a great place to contemplate the day and life in general......which was kind of broken up by the two dudes in suits from you know where shouting at each other trying to get the best shots. You can see them, in a rather Picasso like fashion if you click on the panoramic shot above to enlarge.
As it stands, one of our favorite spots during our time in Tokyo.
Before leaving, we saw some folks taking wedding photos......I read that this is a popular location for traditional style photos.
Leaving the area, we headed down toward Shibuya...land of the well.....kind of a "hipster-slacker, punk-goth-Hello Kitty, oh my goodness what is that"....well, let's just say, there's a lot of young people around expressing themselves in the way they dress!
As we walked down the street, I saw "a sign"......well perhaps not divine in origin, it was still a hallowed sign from years ago....my goodness Tower Records! I asked the Missus if we could check the place out....She understands that very few non-food things really get me excited, so this must mean something. Unfortunately, they weren't open, but the Missus decided that we should grab a cup of coffee.
A few minutes before the place was scheduled to open we walked over. There was a fairly young, balding, guy who kept twitching, ants in his pants, almost jogging in place, raring to go at the door. As soon as the doors opened he sprinted up the escalators. Curious, we followed. What was going on here...some new release, tickets to some concert? Well, no....we found the dude in the aisles of the Jazz section? Huh? Pretty goofy.....I actually do a pretty good impression of the guy for the Missus once in a while....the Jazz section....
Actually, I love Jazz and took some time to look around, Kenny Burrell, Jim Hall, the Brecker Brothers! However, I just wanted one thing....I've been trying to get ahold of the "local music" of my hanabata days. I knew from previous experience that a lot of releases, especially the one I was looking for are still available in Japan....and guess what? I found what I wanted.
We made our way down to Shibuya Crossing, considered to be the busiest crosswalk in the world...while not too busy at this time of the day, we just had to cross.....to get to the other side of the road of course.
Here's what it looks like from Shibuya Station.
You should see some of those Youtube videos of the crossing, like this one.
Man, this placed was packed with shops.....just about everything catered to young people. We walked over to Shibuya 109, the young and trendy fashion shopping mecca for young people...and boy am I old! I couldn't believe how short some of those skirts were....sheesh. The Missus was also not having a good time so I asked Her where She wanted to go? "Ginza......" So off we went on the Ginza line. It was getting pretty close to lunch....even after yesterday's meals, the Missus was craving one thing.....salad. I had an idea....but before we headed off for Ginza, there was one thing I had to see. You can read the story about Hachikō here. I just needed to come here and take a photo......it's all I really wanted to do in Shibuya.
And so we got on the Ginza line....getting off at the stop where Mitsukoshi Nihonbashi, the flagship store of the chain is located.
So here's the deal...in the lower floors of any major department store, like Daimaru or Mitsukoshi....you'll even find department stores in every major train station, there will be ton of vendors and stands.
There's quite an assortment of western and traditional dishes available, usually priced by weight or by piece.
It's not cheap....especially the roasted sweet potato the Missus got.....630 yen!
Still, we ended up having a light meal..... There are no places to eat in the basement, but if you ask, you'll be advised to head up to the 9th floor.....where the restaurant, cafe, and gardens are.
There you'll find folks eating, whether they bought their food at Mitsukoshi or not....the couple next to us was really cute....they ate exactly the same items at exactly the same time.
We ordered just a few things....that smoked duck was really awesome. Like I said, the Missus was missing salad....
Notice the portion sizes? I came to appreciate the portion sizes....you got the fried stuff, they ate ramen with rice, no denying the love of sweets.....but they were all thin....because they walked and used public transportation. Oh, that's the Missus's roasted potato to the right....She felt so bad about the price that She made it last three meals!
And for folks old enough...remember when we had the Mitsukoshi Building in Waikiki? 2155 Kalakaua? They had an entire floor of video games......Galaxian!
Thanks for reading!