Tokyo! Culture shock…

On our way home from Vietnam, the Teen and I had a four day stay in Tokyo. He’s studying Japanese in school, and I thought it would be good to get the language in his ear. It was a little shocking to arrive in Tokyo after being in a socialist third world country for a week. Much denser, way more urban and electrified, and so much shopping! Too many choices. But we got used to it. 😉

Shibuya Crossing


Takeshita-Dori in Harajuku on a Sunday was a teen dream: crowded, lots of fun stuff. the Teen especially loved the t-shirts with fractured “English” sayings on them.



To me, Forever 21 is a cheap shop in the local mall. In Harajuku, it’s an event. There were loads of people lined up to get in, and the were being let in a group at a time.


Shopping is a little more upscale on Omotesando-dori. But still very crowded!


And there are vending machines everywhere.


I wanted to bring home a flash drive for DH, but these were a bit too spendy for a gag gift.


Shopping is fun when the stores first open. We were in the Ginza one morning after seeing the fish market, and it was nearly 10 a.m. We saw people lined up outside Mitsukoshi, a department store, and when the clock struck 10, the crowd went in. So did we. The employees line up at their stations, and bow and say good morning as you enter. We felt like celebrities! We weren’t shopping for anything, but took a walk through several floors, just for the greetings. A bit later we found ourselves at Itoya, a paper and pen store. They opened at 10:30, so we got to have the greeting experience again. Yes, we’re rock stars. Or pen geeks. Or both.


Architecture is interesting in Tokyo.

Buildings in Shinjuku

Shinjuku by night


This building is on Odaiba, a man-made island. Things are more spread out there. We visited Miraikan, the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, but should have arrived earlier in the day to use more of the interactive sites. (It was moving day for us; some things can’t be helped.)

One more Tokyo post to go (all the cultural and pretty stuff!). And then it’s back to knitting, I promise.

14 responses to “Tokyo! Culture shock…

  1. It looks like you had so much fun! Your photos make me miss Tokyo. 🙂 I laughed really hard when I saw the photo of Condomania… I used to always show that shop to my friends who came to visit to make them laugh.

  2. You have to be “up” for it to enjoy that kind of crowd.

    Great pictures, again.

  3. Wow! A whole store for condoms?

    I also noticed the McD’s and Wendy’s. Guess they are EVERYWHERE!

  4. How awesome! I am SO jealous that you got to go to Japan. I studied Japanese in college and though I forgot 98% of it, it’s still one of the top 10 places I want to visit. Sounds like you had a wonderful trip!

  5. I loved that building in Shinjuku. It was right by the Hilton; we kept referring to it as “the nest” because it reminded us all of a bird’s nest.

    And Condomania? Did you see the sizing they offered? There was a Big Boy and [something] Boy and a Smart Boy (smallest size). We all thought that was pretty cruel.

  6. That arched building is awesome! It looks like a very interesting time. =)

  7. I wantes to tell you I LOVE your blog I love the pictures..
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  8. really great streetscape shots. I got a real sense of being there!

  9. Wow!

    I think culture shock may have been an understatement.

  10. thanks for the photo tour. I would never have the guts to do the travel, but I have enjoyed the trip through your eyes!

  11. morewithles

    Wow! Your photos really show how crowded it is there!

  12. did you get to ride a fast train? Any mass transit? Dense seems like the perfect word.

  13. My husband has a undying love of all things Japanese. One day, I know he’ll drag me here!

  14. Who would have thought Forever 21 is the “it” store. Wish you would have gotten a picture of a genuine Harajuku girl….the really bizarro type. But I guess I can see them on Hawthorne…only not Japanese.