So yesterday we went on an outing to Shibuya. Before we got started, however, we stopped for lunch at a Japanese spaghetti shop. The staff were really nice, as they provided us with English menus as soon as we sat down. Guess they could tell from how we were just pointing at pictures. LOL. Anyway, the pasta was super good. Now, while you might be thinking it’s strange to go to Tokyo and eat spaghetti, let me tell you that part of the Tokyo experience is tasting all of the wonderful food they have to offer. Tokyo has restaurants and cuisines from all over the world, including the best French restaurants in the world outside of Paris!
Anyway, after lunch we took the train out to Shibuya, a neighborhood popular for shopping and entertainment. It was afternoon, so we just walked around and observed people, did some window shopping. When we first stepped outside of the station, we were overwhelmed by the amount of people out there. Someone said that Shibuya was sort of like the Times Square of Tokyo. We could totally see what they meant. Tall electronic billboards, throngs of people, folks handing out handbills in the street, music blaring from stores, oh, and a huge Starbucks.
Predictably, we grabbed our Carmel Macchiatos, Lattes and coffees and began to stroll up and down the streets. The feeling of the area was very upbeat and lively. The sun was shining so we felt good about that. We rolled into some department stores and noted all of the women at the makeup counters. By the way, Japanese women LOVE makeup. We went to a bathroom in the subway station and noticed every single woman stopping at the large mirror to apply blush, lipstick or mascara. That subway bathroom stop was also notable because HR was freaked out at her bathroom stall. While the stalls on the left had regular toilets, the ones on the right had squat toilets, basically a hole in the floor! I’ll do a separate entry later on Japanese bathrooms, but you can just imagine the look of horror on her face.
There were all kinds of people in Shibuya but mainly young folks. The stores clearly catered to them. There were popular Japanese department stores as well as American staples such as The Gap. We even rolled up on the BAPE store and looked around.
While walking around, we kept on looking for this dog statue we kept reading about in our guide books. Finally, when we were about to give up, I spotted a tiny dog on a pedestal. Folks were gathered around it and taking pictures next to it. Hachiko, a stone Akita, is a popular meeting place for people in Shibuya. Check out the backstory here. We took a seat near Hachiko and did some people watching. Turns out, somebody was watching us. Some old Japanese dude clutching a beer can walked up to us and started saying something in Japanese. Quickly, I responded “wakarimasen” which means “I don’t understand.” Then, he burst out in English saying I shouldn’t have assumed he couldn’t speak English and not to judge a book by its cover. Whatever dude, you were totally speaking Japanese to me a second ago!
Anyway, he starts going off about how Japanese kids are dyeing their hair blond and wearing blue contacts, which he called an unfortunate look. He says that white men are coming over to Asia prowling for their women. He was disgusted that white people thought they were superior. All too late, I got the idea to record what he was saying. I didn’t want the camera all up in his face though, because he was kind of irate. So the clip I got was of the last bit of his rant, and it’s sideways :/
This is going to be some trip.