Saturday, October 18, 2008

Tokyo Food

Random Foods

I had lots of food in Tokyo, some really expensive but most on the cheaper side... after all I am backpacking. The expensive places generally did not allow me to take picture of their food, so what I have here is what you can get if you're visiting Tokyo on a budget. You can still eat well I think.

Back at McDonalds..... check out their pie.

Yes, you read that right... it's a Bacon Potato Pie...
Hmmmm, I wonder what it tastes like....
Why it tastes exactly the way a Bacon Potato pie sounds like it tastes..... nasty!

Rice treats
The rice treat I bought.... it was soy sauce flavored. I didn't like it.

Ice Cream from 7-11
Rice and breaded halibut at AtoZ Cafe
Rice Cake Pizza at AtoZ Cafe

Japanese style sunday from AtoZ Cafe

I love Japanese curry, it's cheap and it's good. However people in Japan view the little curry shops as cheap fast food... sort of like how we view McDonald's or Burger King or Taco Bell. The funny thing is McDonald's, KFC, and Starbucks have a lot more prestige in Japan (and all over Asia) than they do back home.

Ramen and Tempura.... mmmmm

Nice to know you Yoshinoya
The beef bowl comes in an actual bowl, and you get tea. It's considered fast food 99.9% of their customers are men. The women are at McDonalds.

I'd say the Yoshinoyas in Japan are a little higher in class than back home but the food tastes exactly the same.

More Yoshinoya, you can't get these back home.
More curry, cheap and good.

curry and beef

The famouse puffer fish.... if it's not cut right and you eat it you will die. I did not try it. Yeah, I know, what a wuss.

Tempura and Udon

My Bento box on my many bullet train ride.

another train bento box

Tokyo - Harajuku

On Sunday, 10/5/08, I went off to explore Harajuku. First stop was the Meiji Jingu, Tokyo's premier Shinto Shrine. The shrine is dedicated to Emporer Meiji and his Empress. Meiji Jingu was created as a symbol of imperial power and japanese racial superiority according to my guide book. In any case it was destroyed during World War 2 by Americans and rebuilt in 1958.

Entrance to Meiji Jingu

Entering the inner gardens of Meiji Jingu

Fishing spot of Emperor Meiji

Well inside the Inner Garden

I happened to walk in on a marriage ceremony happening:

After that, right outside Meiji Jingu on Sundays you can see Japanese teenagers, mostly girls, standing around wearing very strange clothing. This is known as cosu-play-zoku, which means costume play tribe. It's called cosplay by all the comic book and anime geeks in America. These kids are dressed up in costumes featuring characters from japanese animation or japanese glam rockstars. In my case I mostly saw a goth / lolita look, no animation characters I could recognize.

Artist next to cosplay area

Harajuku Girls

Of course by walking around Harajuku you will see the famous Harajuku Girls... which I think also include the cosplay girls. Harajuku Girls are generally teenage Japanese girls that have a very unique sense of fashion. I tried to take a few picture for the blog, but they ended up being blurry cuz I was trying to be discrete when photographing. Insetad you'll need to settle for some youtube videos I found:

Ganguro Girls

I saw one or two Ganguro Girls while in Japan but I didn't realize what they were exactly until I randomly stumbled upon this blog entry:

Next I walked through Omotesando, a street lined with little shops, restaurants, and bars aimed mostly at the harajuku teenager scene.

trying to get people to go in his store

A sign posted at a store selling offensive t-shirts on omotesando

Not on omotesando, but one of the more interesting stores in Harajuku.

Then it was off to Togo-jinja, a shrine dedicated to Admiral Togo Heihachiro who lead the Japanese fleet to lopsided victory over the Russians in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-5. Just outside the shrine every first and fourth Sunday is an outdoor antique market. You can get some serious bargains here, but you'll need to know what you want to buy before hand to prevent yourself from getting ripped off. You can bargain here as I saw plenty of foreigners doing so.

Togo Shrine

Outdoor shops:
Outdoor Market every 1st and 4th Sunday of the month. Know what you want and how much you want to be pay, then be prepared to bargain.

Finally I stopped by Shibuya, a major shopping district. There are tons of people moving through this area. Also just outside the subway stop is a statue of a dog named Hachiko. Hachiko has an interesting story, he was the dog of Ueda Eisaburo, a professor at the Imperial University. Every evening Hachiko would come to the station to greet his master. However in May of 1925 his master died at work, but Hachiko continued to come to the station everyday. By 1934 he had been coming to the station for 9 years. The locals were so touched that they cast a statue of him. In 1935 Hachiko passed away. His skin was used to create a doppelganger Hachiko which is on display at the National Sciend Museum. During World War 2 the original Hachiko statue was melted down for weapons but was rebuilt in 1948. This is now the most famous rendezvous point in all of Tokyo... and extremely crowded.

Shibuya Shopping

Masses of people waiting to cross the street.

A better idea of how crowded Shibuya City Square is.