Tuesday morning: It was time to get out of Kyoto. I learned only one Japanese word while in Japan, the most important word in Japanese: Shinkansen!
But before beginning our journey, I need to show you this Japanese University stealing BYU's thing.
Word is you get a great view of Mt. Fuji from the bullet train between Kyoto and Tokyo but it was all cloudy that morning so who knows what I saw. Also, my favorite noise in the world is probably the mighty hum of the bullet train as it screams down the tracks. In the future I'm going to post all my videos from Japan in a single post and then you'll get some idea of what I'm talking about.
I spent a lot staring at this schematic during my ride.
My business-person trainmates.
Roast a Boast.
So there I was, in Tokyo. Cheryl and I got a hotel sort of in Ginza and after a moment of rest began our assault on the Most Awesome City in the World, one Most Awesome Neighborhood at a Time. First up, Ginza, of course.
Not Pictured: 8 story Sony store where they had Playstation 3's you could play. Cool, right? Well, no, because the only game you could play was some cartoony golf thing. Wow, Sony, I'm so impressed by your $600 videogame system and its amazing cartoon golf games!
In Ginza they have the world's only Leica boutique. I held and fired my first M8 there (also, my first M7. And my first Digilux-3. And D-lux3. And V-lux. But mostly my first M8). Oh man. Probably my favorite thing I ever held.
This is a kindergarten. Whoah.
This is a production of Oklahoma. Whoah.
Then we wound up at the park across the street from the Imperial Palace.
This is the old park office, a German Colonial style building built in 1910ish. It's amazing what facts from the trip my mind retains when I can't even remember the name of the park where it was at.
But why mess with the park across from the Imperial Palace when you could go to the Imperial Palace? Which has a moat. (and btw, don't even think of trying to camp there)
Also found on the Palace grounds?
The Shelter for People Who Cannot Go Back Home.
The Imperial Palace grounds were full of buildings and walls that looked like this
It was my plan to always use karate poses for my photos in Tokyo. This was my last Karate pose photo.
Why the smirk? An idea for a culturally insensitive pose was crossing my mind at that moment.
I think this is almost my last posed photo of the trip. Almost.
Then we took our first subway ride of the trip and wound up (not accidentally) in the Aoyama neighborhood. Besides being home to an El Torito, Aoyama is also full of insanely cool stores.
Consider, for example, the Commes de Garcones store.
It was such a rad, curvy maze that I was giggling the whole time I was inside.
Fashionable people on the go without the time to go inside the store had the option of buying clothes from the "Play Box" booth outside.
Then there was the Bathing Ape Exclusives store where I somehow wound up trying on a tiny orange sweatshirt covered with images of monkeys and cheeseburgers.
But the crown jewel of the Aoyama architecture situation is the jewelike Prada store. It was like a futuristic hive for mindblowing design. Seriously, it's at least the year 2100 inside there.
A handful of yards off to the side from the store across a little plaza? A "secret" entrance to the store's basement.
It's too bad that really I can only convey an idea of what the outside looked like
Walking down Omotesando in Harajuko we came across this sushi restaurant . . .
This conveyer belt sushi restaurant
The fish was absolutely delicious and ridiculously cheap! Come on, Tokyo. You were supposed to be expensive and there I was eating sushi that was barely $1 a plate and staying at a hotel for $40 a night.
Can't figure out what fish this is? That's because it's hamburger fish! Little cooked hamburger patties on rice topped with ketchup! Japan, you're crazy!
At a conveyer belt sushi restaurant the plates are color coded by price and at the end you stack them up and the waitress tallies your score/bill.
Cheryl totally beat me! Mostly because she loves fruit and vegetables so much!
Uh oh Japan, looks like you got your English wrong! Don't do it again!
PS You bet we were totally kicking ourselves when we found the Shakeys a few doors down the road.
Shiny Dior store.
Also on Omotesando? A toy store called Kiddyland.
Just five floors of the greatest toys I've ever seen. Seriously, if an American child were to enter Kiddyland, they awesomeness of the selection at this store would cause them to disintegrate by the third floor.
It's good to see so many toys that are out of work in America making a serious living in Japan.
Consider the Gizmo/Gremlins section of the store. (Which makes me wonder, isn't it time for a third Gremlins movie?)
Or the Monchichis on hand.
Oh, hey. It's Kuromi!
Up on the Fifth Floor: Girls that turn into airplanes.
Moving on into the part of Harajuku that Gwen Stefani sings about I saw these: Jeans with exposed boxers built in!
By now it was raining lots and lots of rain = not so many photos. Headed towards Shibuya we found this store:
The Iceberg! Future home of the Tokyo Audi showroom.
Just some weird stuff.
And then took refuge from the rain in an arcade where I got to play the Mario Kart arcade game they have in Japan.
This means that I won!
Magnificent spoils for the claw game.
Yes, you can win a cappibera!
Shibuya! SO intense!
I wonder what happened to that guy?