Howdy folks! Ethan here. After our last photo post, we decided the WordPress photo upload feature was…kinda bad. So! We’ve changed formats – here is a link to a Google Photos-based album for you to browse to your heart’s content. Below is a short description of what it is we were doing each day. Enjoy!
Emily recently read a book called People Who Eat Darkness, a true-crime thriller about the disappearance and grisly murder of tall, blonde British woman in 2000. According to Emily, it mainly takes place in the underbelly of Roppongi, a district in Tokyo known as notorious for its high-end shopping as its seedy world of strip clubs and hostess bars.
Naturally, Emily wanted to see the place for herself – in the daytime, of course. Nowadays, it’s more about the big malls and public artwork (though red light districts die hard…).
Afterwards, we visited Yoyogi Park, a public space with significant military, Olympic, and cultural history in Tokyo. Think of it as the city’s Central Park/Golden Gate Park. A short walk north was Meiji Jingu, a Shinto shrine and larger park dedicated to the Meiji emperor and his wife. Last, we dove into the commercial weirdness that is Harajuku just across the street. I may have bought an inordinately expensive (and just as inordinately cool) vintage Levi’s shirt. Thanks for finding it for me, honey!
This was the day we made the pilgrimage from Frank’s apartment in Matsudo (Chiba Prefecture, just to the east of Tokyo) to Asakusa, my favorite neighborhood in the eastern ward of Taito. After settling in, we went out for a night of bar games in Shinjuku.
First, a visit to the Edo Shitamachi Traditional Crafts Museum in Asakusa, a small museum devoted to all the amazing things that came out of Tokyo’s Edo-era craftsmen districts. Next, Kappabashi, a street that sells everything a chef, home cook, or restauranteur could need. Then, we took the train to the Imperial Palace in the center of the city, followed by the nearby Hibiya Park. Finally, we walked a short ways away to Ginza’s bright lights and fancy shops just as rush hour hit. I walked away with a slim and fashionable cigarette case, while Emily went full “Tokyo girl” and bought a really cute red midi skirt. Later that night, I got lost (and quite toasted) in Asakusa with a Brit and two Germans.
A museum day! Pursuing my love of all things shitamachi, I finally made it to the Shitamachi Museum at the edge of Ueno Park. Kit and Emily, meanwhile, visited the much more remarkable Tokyo National Museum and Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum on the other side of the park. The order of these photos in the album is particularly neat, as they show the different things we were doing at the exact same time.
After I went to the Shitamachi Museum, I wandered west around Shinobazu Pond, then visited the Kyu-Iwasaki-tei Garden, a fascinating former estate that pairs early 20th century Western architecture with classic Japanese building. After an accidental jaunt through a red light district (“You want Japanese girl??”), I headed back to the hostel in Asakusa. That evening, after we all reconvened, we went to a hookah bar I knew about nearby!
That’s all for now, folks. We’re a week ahead of where this post leaves off, but we’ll show you pictures of gorgeous mountains, quaint towns, and monkeys (!) soon.