|The magnificent Torii that greets you as you enter Meiji-jingu|
Yikes! But this didn't stop us from getting a croque monsieur, abricot croissant and a chocolate eclair! Everything was magnifique and the restaurant honestly made you feel like you were in Paris, the menu was even in français, much to our benefit. Although this was probably the most expensive breakfast we've eaten, it was worth every Yen.
|This picture is ex-STREAM!!|
Our next stop was Gwen Stefani's favorite neighbourhood, Harajuku. This area is the shopping capital of Tokyo with hundreds and hundreds of shops lining the streets. (Un)fortunately, we didn't see any of these shops, instead we walked to the Meiji-jingu shrine, the largest Shinto shrine in Tokyo. Before arriving, you pass a number of Torii (gates). These are the famous double T type gates that you picture when you think of Japan. They are extremely eye-catching. At this point, there was a torrential downpour and despite being equipped with raincoats and umbrellas, we got completely soaked. Sadly, it was hard to appreciate the beauty of the shrine with these weather conditions. The Torii were definitely the most impressive part of this sight.
|Be honest, does it really surprise you that much|
that Japan has a Hello Kitty store?
The most frustrating thing about our experience in Tokyo was getting lost and endlessly searching (and mostly never finding) many of the sights/shops/restaurants/bars. As we exited the Meiji-jingu shrine from a different gate, we looked for the nearest recommended restaurant. Little did we know that we actually walked more than 2 subway stops away from the shrine, all in heavy rain. We finally reached Takashimaya Times Square, department store in Shinjuku where we warmed up with some tea and beef tongue. Very chewy but delicious! After exploring the mall, we left empty handed but with full stomachs.
Since we explored the male geek district the day before, it was only time to explore the female geek district in Ikebukuro. No matter what neighbourhood we were in and no matter what time of day it was, it seemed like there were constantly people out and about eating, shopping or playing arcade games, and Ikebukuro was no exception. We browsed a 7-floor anime store that lost Maja's interest after the 2nd floor. Oh and we felt no trip to Japan would be complete without a stop-over at the Hello Kitty store which was as adorable (and pink) as you would expect.
|You can tell that these Anime characters are designed for women because all the men look like little girls|
|Maja barely fits in this stairwell leading to this shoebox sized bar in Golden Gai|
|Maja's ability to blend in with the local Japanese is uncanny.|
|Maja's favourite Japanese Grandpa|
|The friendly and generous staff of Kyoya, Maja's new best friends.|