|Asakusa Nakamise Shopping Arcade|
I have finally managed to upload and organize my photos and have been pondering the best way to relate my trip. This was my first time in Tokyo and I was staying for such a short time, I wanted to do and see as much as I can, and I don't know how it was possible, but it literally felt like I went for a month. The food was absolutely delicious (there's going to be a separate post on that). The trip itself was decided within two weeks and very sudden for various reasons. And miraculously, it came through. I remember five years ago, I really wanted to go to Hong Kong. Part of the reason was for the tourist in me, but another part was because I definitely needed to see Hong Kong, breathe the air, in order to write the New Trials of CCS Arc 3 season finale. Writing requires research, nee? Hence, going to Tokyo was also important for the writer in me. Who am I kidding though. I'm a girl and when three girls travel, it means shopping, food, and more shopping. And lots of walking. I took over 500 photos in that limited time, so I will just share with you the highlights.
I had to take a picture of the konpeitou because it reminded me of Kobato. I used to love these little confectionery treats when I was little. The colors are so pretty and I would take a handful of them and crunch on them behind the sofa. These were sold in the Nakamise shopping arcade in Asakusa leading to the Sensoji, the largest Buddhist Temple in Tokyo. You enter through the Thunder Gate (kaminarimon). There is an incense burner (that people breathe in for purification and healing purposes) and there is also a fortune-telling stall and a wooden box to throw in a coin and make wish at the top of the temple. You can also buy lucky charms from stalls.
In contrast to the traditional ambiance of Asakusa, Shibuya is young, vibrant and modern. If you watch a Japanese drama or movie, the streets of Shibuya are most often shown in representing Tokyo. The streets are bustling with fashionable people who looked like they stepped out of a girl's fashion magazine. Shibuya 109 (Ichi-maru-kyu) is a 9-story building full of cheap, pretty stuff, a shopping haven if you have the energy for it (which frankly I didn't). Shopping advise when traveling: if you let it go, you'll never find it again. Don't think "maybe I'll come back later." Buy it. If it doesn't fit/ you find something else, one less present to find for your sister/friend/mother. Below is the view of the streets of Shibuya, people waiting for the green light to cross, and then green light.
The view from Odaiba is truly beautiful, especially in the nighttime. Odaiba is an artificial island linked through Rainbow Bridge (remember X?). I didn't expect to find a mini-Statue of Liberty there. Somehow standing on the harbor of Aqua City, staring at the Statue of Liberty crossed with the Rainbow Bridge with Tokyo Tower in the backdrop made me smile. Tokyo Tower and Rainbow Bridge are two landmarks that will always make me think of CLAMP, and then jarringly from the Tokyo Bay juts out the Statue of Liberty, the emblem of New York (though this replica is supposedly a shout out to the French-Japanese relationship). The surreal vision somehow made me think of a photoshopped picture or an interpretive pop art. And it made me somehow think of the New York arc of New Trials, and I thought, ah, of course the CCS crew were destined to go to NYC. It was all decided here, in Tokyo.
Tokyo Trip Part 1:The Places
Tokyo Trip Part 2: The Shopping
Tokyo Trip Part 3: CLAMP x Blythe Dolls
Tokyo Trip Part 4: Food
Tokyo Trip Part 5: Final Thoughts