Next day we decided to visit Shinjuku, one of Tokyo’s most well-known and biggest commercial and administrative centers. Shinjuku station is one of the busiest stations in Tokyo.
We went there for some shopping, and I believe Josefin found some of her greatest bargains there.
Me and hide wanted to visit a big metal store and so we did. It was several floors high and there was a music store at every floor.
When I entered the punk store, I noted the music in the speakers and thought: “Wow, Japanese punk sounds exactly like Swedish punk!” But then I listened some more and realized that it actually was Swedish punk. That was quite a cool surprise though.
Josefin observed some special rules in those clothing stores she visited. None of us have experienced anything like it before.
First of all, you were not allowed to enter the dressing room with shoes, so you had to put them off.
Then they didn’t want you to hold the clothes more than necessary, they should be put in a bag when carried to the dressing room.
The third observation was some kind of bag that you were supposed to put over you head before you tried any clothes on.
They want you to have as little contact with the clothes as possible, I suppose.
Actually, I think it’s good. It’s very hygienic. I’ve many time felt disgusted when I’ve had to try on a t-shirt that another girl has smeared down with make up – and how often isn’t the floor in the dressing rooms so dirty so you avoid your pants from touching the floor while changing?
We spotted long lines with chairs for people to sit on outside some restaurants. At first I thought it was regular resting seats, but when everybody suddenly got up, took a step to the side and sat down on the adjacent chair, we realized that it’s actually was a comfortable queue line for those who had to wait for a table.
Some lines were extremely long, especially inside a shopping mall in Shinjuku. But I guess it’s worth the waiting to get something to eat. A great idea with chairs though! For a person like me who easily faint, especially when standing in a queue, it’s almost life saving. ^_-
From Shinjuku, we headed to Akabanebashi station to visit Tokyo Tower.
Tokyo Tower is located in Minato and is Japans highest structure, 332.6 meters high. It’s inspired by the Eiffel Tower but is actually 13 meters higher.
It’s the worlds biggest self-supported building and is painted in white and red for air traffic safety reasons.
Of course you can’t go all they way up, but from the observation deck you got a pretty nice view of Tokyo.
I got totally stunned by what I saw. Somehow, it was beautiful, even though it looked a bit like a dystopia in certain angles, a futuristic view of a world that had suffered from a great war. I don’t really know why I thought so, ’cause there aren’t really any destroyed buildings. Despite that, I felt that I really loved the city and it was fascinating to see the houses disappear at the horizon. So many houses. So little space.
Tokyo truly is big! (Duuuh) I looooove Tokyo!
So many employees
Me and Josefin just couldn’t understand how the companies managed to have so many employees everywhere. How do they finances their salary?
Everywhere were groups of employees willing to serve you. Their assignments seemed pretty simple. Like… just standing somewhere and saying “Welcome” to customers.
At the hotel in Osaka, five people were standing behind the desk, doing absolutely nothing except shouting: “Welcome” and “Thank you” to us.
Another example from Tokyo Tower: First there’s a lady standing at the entrance. Her job is to greet us and show us the way to the elevator. It was only two meters away from us. Next to the elevator stands another woman. Her job is to greet us and show us the elevator. Inside the elevator stands another woman. Her job is to greet us and press the buttons.
In Sweden we would probably put up signs instead of hiring these three ladies. I don’t think this is bad in any way. I like to be greeted and guided by humans, but I still don’t get how they finance the whole system. The scenario with “superfluous workers” seems to appear everywhere in Japan.
We finally went to a restaurant to eat some sushi that evening. Man, I’ve been longing for that! ^^
In Japan, sushi is first and foremost considered as fast food, so it’s seems to be a bit uncommon to find it at finer restaurants.
Most busy people eat sushi at sushi bars, and there’s a lot of them everywhere (the bars), but those places are not so relaxing to dine at, according to me.
In a sushi bar, you sit in front of a reel tape and a long line of sushi plates rolls round and round. You grab a plate with some sushi, eats it, and if you want more – you grab another plate. When you’re done, you leave your plates at the cash desk and pay, depending on how many plates you’ve gathered.
We didn’t go to a regular sushi bar though, since we were lucky enough to find a really nice restaurant with all kinds of sea food, including sushi.
I ordered a sushi plate, but had no idea what would be on it. It didn’t really matter, ’cause I’ve was curious and open for anything.
When I got served, I got a little bit surprised though. The slices of fish was way bigger than any I’ve seen in Sweden. I’ve eaten a lot of sushi before, but there were some ingredients on this plate that I hadn’t tried before.
On one sushi lay the biggest fish eggs I’ve ever seen. They looked like orange, semi-transparent peas. It tasted very good though – like caviar! (Lo and behold! ^^) Another sushi was decorated with something that looked like fish milt, you know… fish sperm. :-S. And it tasted like that also. (When we eat surströmming here in Sweden, we usually remove the milt from the fish.) There were also something that appeared to be seashell on one sushi. Slimy but firm. I thought it tasted good.
Note: In Sweden you often get a lump of wasabi on the plate, separated from the sushi. You get the opportunity to choose how much wasabi to put on the fish and if you don’t like wasabi, you can exclude it entirely. If I understood it correctly, this is more or less considered as a deadly sin in Japan. ^_- Wasabi should be put in the sushi from the beginning. No touchy! Period.
Anyway, it was a very pleasant evening and I adored the staff. So cute! Too bad they weren’t part of the menu.
Blog posts from this journey:
Shinjuku and Tokyo tower
4 July 2009
Today we went to Shinjuku for some shopping. I bought some pretty Japanese chopsticks and Chinese tea (the ones that “blossoms” in the tea can. Very pretty).
After that we went to Tokyo Tower which looks like the eifel tower but Tokyo Tower is 13 meters higher. It was so amazing to see Tokyo from above! It made me realise how big that city is. It’s crazy. When I was in New York and looked down on that city from Empire State Building, I just felt disgust. But not this time. I thought it was beautiful and I realized that… yes! I can picture myself living in Tokyo! I like the city, I like Japan and I feel somehow more “home” here than in Skovde, Sweden. I really don’t want to go home!!! I want to stay here! Please?
The only thing I miss is the nature, ’cause there’s almost no nature in Tokyo.
But maybe some years in Tokyo…?
At the tower I found some more hide-stuff to buy. Ureshii!
Then we went to a japanese seafood restaurant close to our hotel in Nihombashi. Me and hide ordered sushi and I have really looked forward to eat some real sushi in Japan. It was delicious. Some of the “stuff” on the rise was new to me… The fish eggs was so big so they looked like orange semi transparent berries. But they tasted good. And then there was something that looked like fish guts (and a little bit tasted like it), but I still don’t know what it was. Anyway, it was a very pleasant evening.
Tomorrow we’re going to Harajuku again to visit the Yoyogi park and hopefully see some cosplayers.
Ps. Josefin has scattered chocolate eggs all over our bed!
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