JAPAN – Tokyo day 2

Our second day in Tokyo is finishing so time to post some of our impressions.

Before I write about our day step by step, let me share with you some of our observations.

First of all, I would dare to say that the Japanese in Tokyo are very elegant, both men and women. Great majority of men traveling by metro wear formal suits. I guess it must be the dress code that requires all workers to wear suits, and it makes the metro trains look formal and black. Oh, men here also carry handbags- all of them have more or less fancy handbags. What struck me as well is the silence on trains. People do not talk because they are all strangers, however, even those riding in company do not speak much and if so then quietly. They all use phones like people on metro trains all over the world, but they do not talk on the phones and are asked to have the phone sounds switched off. So altogether it contributes to quiet and peaceful metro rides for everybody.

If it comes to female fashion, I have to say they are very feminine and elegant. Most women wear high heels, not necessarily very high but reasonable pumps are very common. Despite being quite short, they often wear calf-length skirts and short socks (even on tights). They seem to love to cover their heads with mohair berets or cute hats. What is now perceived in Poland as sexy and fashionable: over-knee boots, short tight skirts, and lips ‘boosted’ by a plastic surgeon, does not happen here. As long as we do not talk about cosplay fashion, the Japanese are very classic and classy. Michael Kors that has taken Europe and USA by storm, is very hard to find in the streets of Tokyo. While Coach is omnipresent, popular among men and women. Even my husband noticed it since he is a fun of Coach bags for men;-). Well, of course LV is popular here as much as everywhere else, but unlike in Europe, no fake LVs carried in the streets. Summing up, they go for more upscale brands of handbags and for more timeless garment pieces.

The other striking thing that Tomasz had told me about before is people watching or guarding places and things and giving directions to people when not necessary. Imagine that there is a whole in the street being repaired by workers and there is still a guy standing by and telling people that they need to divert a bit to go around it. Or at every second or third train door at the metro station there is a man watching over and if necessary pushing people onto the train so more can get in. And what is the funniest, is these men saying something to a train coming and leaving the station. Apparently they greet and say goodbye to every train that arrives and departs.

One of the great attractions for local ladies as well as tourists is browsing at a drugstore. OMG- shelfs full of colorful gadgets with labels all in Japanese. But with the power of Internet and screen shots I have already gathered a decent bag of beauty ‘must-haves’ from Japan. I just show a picture of what I want and I trust to be getting the right thing. I hope I will not lose my face, literally! We do pretty much the same with choosing food but where if not in the country that is famous for plastic food images displayed in restaurant windows. Also quite often menus have pictures. I have to admit that there are plenty of restaurants where everything is written in Japanese ‘bushes’ so we do not dare to enter. Maybe we will gather the courage someday soon?

It is all for now as far as my observations are concerned. Let me report a bit on our second day in Tokyo.

Today we were spoilt by the weather- sunny and warm (20 C). So we started the day with walking around Sesnsoji Temple in Asakusa where we live and taking pictures of Shichi-Go-San celebration. Shichi-Go-San that is “Seven-five-three” is a traditional rite of passage and festival day in Japan for three- and seven-year-old girls and three- and five-year-old boys, held annually on November 15 to celebrate the growth and well-being of young children (observed on the nearest weekend). As the place was terribly crowded we were happy to leave and walk to Ueno Park, where the main attraction was yet another temple;-). I felt like spending the rest of the sunny day there just lying on the grass, but we had a few more things planned for the day.

Right from there we made it to the Imperial Palace- which you can only see from a distance but it is beautifully located and after all it is a must-see for tourists.

From one tourist attraction we took a train to another and landed at Shibuya crossing. Crowded, vibrant, involving, one of its kind- it made us stay there for a longer while. Not only did we watch and take pictures but we also crossed there and back a few times. Shibuya crossing is very much like Times Square with lots of neons on and noisy commercials being played on and on again and lots of shops that were unbearably crowded and thus for us not welcoming at all. But we went there to see Hachiko and to enjoy the crossing and so we did with great pleasure. You may be familiar with the story of Hachiko- a dog who always greeted his owner returning form work at Shibuya station and even after the owner’s death he kept waiting there for almost ten years more. Tokyo dwellers rose the statue of Hachiko to honor his loyalty and commitment to the owner.

From Shibuya we walked to our already favourite district of Harajuku and just chilled for a while before we took a train back to Asakusa.

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