yesterday was spent around Harajuku, the area most known for fashion boutiques and Japanese kids in crazy outfits. unfortunately, they mostly come out on Sundays but some were around, so i got to grab a few pictures. there’s bunch of different groups and styles, but it’s always over the top. it’s really great to see, especially since their faces and eyes are all sweet looking but they dress up to look like they aren’t.
the shopping down there is completely insane. not only are all the big designer stores there, there’s also hundreds of stores that carry “cool” clothing for those who play dress-up, and for the rest of younger Japanese people who love to dress funky or skater-like. i was actually pretty surprised to find these stores to sell items at about the same price as in Canada. so after all, japan perhaps isn’t more expensive for everything…
a good part of the day was also spent in Meiji-jingu park and beautiful Shinto shrine. the whole place was simply beautiful, and much larger than you’d expect from downtown Tokyo. it was also fresher in the woods, which was a great bonus. a Korean traveler approached me in the park and we visited most of it together. i didn’t have enough time at the shrine but it was nice to have someone to talk to.
today i went to Chichibu, a spot by Tokyo’s mountains that doesn’t make it into the guidebooks. as per Justin’s suggestion, i went there and what was supposed to take 1h one way ended up being 2h each way. but the ride there was beautiful: misty (smoggy?) tall verdoyant mountains, cute villages, rivers… but Chichibu itself, which apparently contains around 30 plus temples, was not so great. there was no map of the town to be found and so i had to walk around in vain, trying to find treasures in an industrial city that wasn’t so pretty and had no signs whatsoever in English. it was frustrating, i regretted going there because i couldn’t find anything worth the trip. it was also the first time where the language barrier really hit me. the first time i was on my own, without the usual translated signs. i finally did find a beautiful temple, the Chichibu one but it didn’t “save” the day. then i had to decide to which park I’d do to: by the river or by the train station. i tried finding the road to the river but couldn’t, so i headed to the other park with waterfalls instead and thought i could dip my feet in there. but the thing was fake, and filled with algae. i decided to go home.
i tried transferring my pictures from my camera onto Justin’s computer but with the damn thing being full, i couldn’t get more than a few picture to upload. it was a tad frustrating since paying for the transfer will end up costing me 525Y per disk (about $6) and so, in all with the copies i want and the memory card i have, that’s 6 disks. that’s a lot of cash, especially when i should have been able to get it for free… I’ll have to find a place today to empty my cards, because I’m running out of space! typically me, taking too many pictures!