Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Shibuya - Japan Day 4

By Leo

Our internet was down all day yesterday so we're posting this more than a day late ... but Day 4 in Tokyo was awesome.

We set out trying to find the Children's Castle, but when we did find it, it was closed. :(

So we walked a few blocks and found the similar (but not as nice) Children's Hall:

Outside the Children's Hall, which is a free play experience for ... you guessed it, kids. All the other kids there were Japanese, which was not a surprise, but it was an interesting intercultural experience.

There was a "maze" contraption, really just a fun thing for the smaller kids to climb through and around. Maia, Seth and Noelle had fun here.

The next floor up was music and arts & crafts. Justin bangs away on the drums here.

Chloe making some cool cut-and-paste pictures with construction papers. She made one of Jorma of Lonely Island. Justin and Seth made a cool castle out of boxes and bottles.

Noelle, the virtuoso. There were actually some Japanese kids who were very good at piano.

After the Children's Hall, we set out to experience Shibuya, an intense district full of really really trendy young Japanese, especially young women. Great shops here, lots of little restaurants, very very crowded. This is Sentagai (or Center Gai), I believe, though I got a little confused because there are lots of little streets, very similar, full of hip shops.

We stopped to lunch at Samrat Curry Plaza, an Indian joint with good food. Surprisingly, the kids liked the food -- they're not really used to Indian food. They had tandoori chicken (too spicy for them really), butter chicken, and even enjoyed our daal. They really liked the butter naan. Eva and I had the daal and sweet potato masala, very delicious. We finished with a mango lassi that was sweet and yummy. Ordering was done through a vending machine, a common practice here in Tokyo.

Then we stopped at Tokyu Hands department store, an amazing place with everything known to man and more. Really -- you can get anything you can think of, and much you would never have thought of. From pet supplies to toys and costumes and magic tricks to kitchen goods to electronics to backpacks and luggage to stationary and pens of all kinds. It's really mind boggling. We spent a lot of time here. Above, Maia poses in a dessert costume of some kind. I would have taken more pictures in Tokyu Hands but they wouldn't allow it.

We found the coolest little clothes shop with lots of vintage-looking clothing. Here Seth poses with a hat I quite liked.

This was in Mandarake, an anime/manga shop with every kind of Japanese comic and toys you can imagine, from cute stuff to action figures to collectors items to hardcore anime porn. Seriously, it's a dangerous place to take kids -- you could be walking along, looking at kids' cartoon figures, and then find magazine or video covers with naked cartoon women on them. It was a bit scary for us as parents.

Then we went to Tokyu 109, the trendiest trendiest department store for young women you'll find in the world (I imagine). The place was filled with the hippest young women we've seen (and that's saying a lot -- we've seen some hip places here in Tokyo). Eva and Chloe were overwhelmed with the clothes here -- they each bought a couple of things but would have bought much more if budget weren't a constraint and the boys weren't bored to tears. Above, Eva poses with a couple of anime-inspired chicks -- she loves those women.

At the end of the day we stopped in a little mall near the Shibuya subway station to get out of a sudden downpour -- our first here in Tokyo, which is lucky considering it's the rainy season. We ate at Ginza Lion, not the best restaurant but an interesting one. Here I kiss Audrey, a perennial fav of mine.

See more: All Japan Day 4 photos

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