Sunday, 26 July 2009

Shop 'til you drop...

I woke up bright and early this morning (not) and headed off towards Harajuku for some retail therapy and Harajuku-girl-spotting. I left my apartment, armed with my camera and credit card but in no way was I prepared for what the Tokyo summer threw at me. I have never experienced heat like today - well over 35 degrees, humid, barely a breeze and clear blue skies. Honestly, I thought that I was going to melt or just spontaneously combust on the pavement.

Shopping in Tokyo has to be the best in the world. I hit Forever21 first to grab a few nice things and was glad that I got there early(ish) as when I left at about noon, there was a massive crowd queueing to get in! I wandered in and out of a few places in Harajuku before ending up in Kiddyland, aka, Holly's-dream-land. Let me try to show you exactly why I loved (and my bank balance hated) this shop so much:


And that was just one small display on one of the six floors! Needless to say, I bought a lot of Hello Kitty related paraphernelia, as well as countless other charater-branded stuff. Happy face!

I then headed towards Jingu-bashi, where all the cool kids hang out on Sundays. Or at least they're meant to. There weren't that many dressed up teens hanging about (it was absolutely boiling...) and not all of them were happy for me to take photos of them. (At least I asked! Lots of people just snapped away like they were visiting the zoo.) Here are the happy few who laughed at my attempts to ask for their permission in Japanese:

I then walked down to Shibuya, got lost in a department store and then made a bee-line for Shibuya 109 - the place to shop for the latest Tokyo trends. It's amazing: nine floors of concessions, each with it's own distinct style of clothing and music blaring from huge speakers. The shop assistants are dressed from head to toe in whatever mini-shop they're working for sells and were often standing at the entrance, shouting about what's on sale or better than the next door shop. It was shopping like I'd never experienced before - hundreds of concessions, hundreds of immaculately-styled Shibuya girls, shouting, overlapping dance tracks from neighbouring shops, squeezed into a building that's not quite big enough for it all - I loved it! I got myself one of those little straw trilbys too :)

By the time I left there it had been dark for some time and my feet were about to mutiny, so I dived into the first ramen joint I could find and then got the train home. The chashu-ramen (char sui pork and noodles) was delicious and tasted even better because I had ordered it from a vending machine! I kid you not. The machine is just at the entrance to the shop:

I put in my money, made my selection, took my ticket (the order is sent to the kitchen) and then joined the queue for a seat. Here's what I got; not bad for a meal from a vending machine!

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