I had a few things I wanted to try and see in Tokyo before I left, one of which was the waterfront area….but I never got there, and as usual did things on a whim.
So that is how I ended up walking around the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography.
Luckily I had an interesting journey on the way there. I stopped off at Ueno on the way, and had a quick stroll around the park, and thought what am I doing here…I could go to a park anywhere. Unfortunately I walked through the old fashioned (or at least it seemed that way for Tokyo!) shopping area underneath the train tracks. I noticed a Gravis sign (the home to some of the comfiest trainer type shoes you can get), had a peek and walked out with a new pair of footwear.
I then stopped off in Ginza just to wander around. Taking the exit through the Sony Building, I walked up the musical stairs, took a couple of photos of the crossing and thought, bugger this and got back on the metro to Ebisu.
I walked out the station and did my cocky ‘I’ve been travelling for ages” and convinced myself I was walking in the right direction. I quickly realised I wasn’t, but in the process was was walking around a residential area that had some really funky little clothes shops and cafes with none of the area in ‘The Book’. A helpful Tokyo resident American (a non English Teacher – wow!) pointed me in the direction and I was soon walking through the exhibits of the Japanese Photographic Society and a Japanese photographer.
I then headed to Shibuya as I hadn’t been there yet and had my most Tokyo experience yet. Standing with my tunes on, guidebook in hand, another helpful Japanese girl came to ask me if I needed any help. If you want to through yourself in Tokyo head first, get the train to Shibuya at a busy time (erm, like late on a Saturday afternoon like me), walk out the station and gaze at the masses standing around waiting on people, and crossing in all directions when the lights change. It was like a sea of people, and my picture above doesn’t do it justice. Bizarrely there was a very un-Japanese protest. I didn’t have a clue what it was about but an older Japanese lady next to me volunteered an explanation that it was against the war in Iraq and the government. She assured me it was unlike the reserved Japanese, especially as people had travelled from many prefectures to join in the demo.
I then headed to the fantastic Tokyu Hands shop in the search for a wacky Japanese t-shirt, but found out they sold pretty much every kind of thing you want, or instantly find out you want but don’t know why, except clothing. I walked out with a cool cliched souvenir of Tokyo – a cord to put on my mobile phone with a flashing Tokyo station sign – suitable wacky.
I was gutted I never found a really wacky souvenir t-shirt. I almost bought one with a cartoon style character dancing on top of a big red apple with some random Japanese words while I was in Kyoto, but was sure I’d find one jumping out at me with no effort. Oh well. Quite gutted I’m heading back without one, so if you are in Japan, please send me one. Probably a Large size thanks.