Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Let the Croc hunting begin!

I got up reasonably early & put on some washing in the laundry upstairs (with the crappy dryer). I thought I would walk about 20 metres up the road to Lawsons (like a 7-11). I bought us some breakfast of onagiri & boss coffee & calpis. As soon as I stepped outside I couldn't remember which way to go! I wandered around fretting for about 10 minutes before I found our hotel. It was nerve-wracking!
We hit the town at about 11.30 and headed for the streets of Ueno to have a look around. Ueno is very very interesting. From the initial look it appears a bit boring but... in the back streets there is a whole other world. Like Amerika-Mura but without the "look-at-me!"attitude. It is a bustling place with all sorts of shops (like a fantastic western wear store that we could have spent up big in if they had Mick's size). Shoe shops, a HUGE fish market area, cosmetics & clothes. But we decided that we would do Ueno streets another time because now it was time to hit Shibuya in search of a pair of crocs for Mick. The crocs over here come in all sorts of different styles that you wouldn't even guess were crocs brand. I had read that you could find them at Loft (Loft is a 6 story department store filled with all sorts of kitsch, cute & very cool stuff and now my new favourite shop ever). My brain very nearly exploded in the art section. It was fantastic! Everything from cool retro furniture to cutesy onogiri containers to toys to stationery. Everything left me with my mouth wide open mouthing öh my god! .
We did a quick tour of each level until we got to the top where clothing was... nup no men's crocs.
The girl in the store drew us a map & told us (in very limited English) to go to Sony Plaza.
We walked for ages through this other mall until we came to a basement level called Plaza. We checked and found out that this was indeed Sony Plaza.. even though it is only called Plaza. And again... only women's. By this time I was starting to get cranky. I wanted to pop into the Campers store & we asked the girl there who told us we needed to catch a train to the Crocs store. OK. We stopped and had a latte and caught the train. I have now worked out how to 'do'the train station crowds.. JUST KEEP WALKING. Do not stop politely to let somebody pass. Do not be polite. Just walk head up and purposefully.. And you know what.. it really does work.
The crowds of Tokyo are the only thing that is getting to me a bit.

We got off the train and walked to the place where she told us to go to but it wasn't there.... UNTIL THERE IT WAS!!! JUST AROUND THE NEXT BEND! THE CROCS STORE!!! We almost kissed the floor! Mick got a pair of the most comfortable shoes in the galaxy.
I tried on a pair of nice ballet flat ones but they did'n't have any arch support for my mongy feet so 'no go.
The girls in the shop were lovely & recommended a good ramen shop for our late lunch.
We wandered over to the shop & had some really delicious ramen & gyoza & a couple of Chu Hi to celebrate the finding of the crocs.

By now it was about 4pm & my feet were killing me again so we headed back to the hotel for a rest. I had a bit of a nap & Mick watched weird TV.
At about 7.30 we went next door to a little place that specialises in Yakitori (chicken skewers).
They were alright. I think the Ma the elderly woman who ran it and the clients thought it was a bit of a novelty having Gaijin (forgeiners) eating in this little businessmen's eatery.
The meal was more of just a snack so we paid up & went for a wander around.

Japan is (in my opinion) much better at night. It is alot cooler and there aren't as many people around. The walk was nice. We settle on Yoshinoya (beef and rice bowl). I wasnt' hungry so I had miso soup & salad.
In Ueno there are alot of homeless people, almost like this is where all the homeless live. Most are men in their 50s and they make these beds from cardboard boxes. And yet, they are still really really neat & tidy. It is very sad.
We got back to the room around 10 and I put my feet up & slept while Mick watched Discovery Channel.

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