Saturday, September 11, 2010

Tokyo Trip Part 1: The Sights

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.

Asakusa (浅草)
I had to take a pic
ture 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.

Shibuya (渋谷区)
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.

Odaiba (お台場)  
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.

Much more to follow tomorrow with a little CCS surprise!

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


  1. Oh so envious! Tokyo looks like an amazing experience! I've wanted to go, but it costs about £2500 to take a trip to Japan from England and I just can't justify that. (Another thing to go on my 'when I win the lottery' list!)

    I totally want to try some konpeitou! Maybe they sell it at the Japan Center in London (I'm going there in October). Or maybe China Town. (I live in the middle of the English countryside, so going to London is an exotic experience in it's own right!)

    Both Shibuya AND Rainbow Bridge make me think of X! Both were used in the story (and Rainbow Bridge still makes me want to cry...).

    I'm glad you got to experience a whirlwind tour of Tokyo, though! Even if you didn't have time to see everything you wanted to see. It sounds like you had a great time.

  2. @selenityshiroi
    Wow, that's an expensive plane flight--I would say one day you should do an Asia-tour while you're at it since you'll be flying halfway across the world.

    Tokyo was amazing but it is an expensive city to travel (on par with London probably). Well, England is high up on my places to visit list. Konpeitou is prettier to look at. >.< But they'll probably sell it here and there. I'm jealous you're going to London. I actually used to be such a Europhile which is why I became a history major in the first place. Alas, I've only been to the Netherlands. One more thing on the bucket list, I guess an Asia-tour for you and a Euro-tour for me. ^_^

  3. Count me in for all these world tours - I've wanted to visit England for aaaages. >_< And from what I've seen of Amsterdam from the airport and the air, it's such a clean scenic place, I wanted to stay there for a day or two when I was passing through.

    Anyway, I've been waiting for a touristy blog post like this. Sounds like you had the time of your life, Wish-chan - the Konpeito picture definitely reminds me of Kobato..

    Just thinking of Asia makes me want to cry. USA might by all this and that, but there's a certain glittery, earthy ambience in Asia which you can't find anywhere else in the world...

    One day, I too hope to travel the world - there's so much to see and do!

  4. Forgot to add: I really shouldn't be complaining though, since I got to go to Singapore earlier in June for a week to visit my brother - it was an epic trip.

  5. @Kirei-chan
    Ooh, Singapore... Another place I want to visit. I heard it's really clean there. Lol... Well, one more person added to the world-tour. ^_^

  6. Definitely clean. Chewing gum is banned there. And you can get arrested for littering. crazy.

  7. Compared to travelling around the British Countryside on public transport, travelling around London is cheap as chips!

    Londoners don't understand how good they have it!

    Ah, I went to the Netherlands twice with my Secondary school! It's the only foriegn country I've been to (other than driving through France and quick trips into Germany, Belgium and Luxembourgh (sp) whilst there. I'm not very well travelled!

    An Asian tour would be amazing at some point. When I'm not so obsessive compulsive about my job and have money to burn!