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Japan – Tokyo 21st October

Woke up to a constant drizzle today and read in the hotel that the bike tours for the Imperial Palace are on Sundays only and aren’t on when it rains either! You can hire bikes there without a tour but again not when it’s raining. So with waterproofs on, we walked along with all the other umbrellas to the Palace grounds in search of the Museum of Contemporary art. We’re based only a 10 minute walk from the Palace moat and main entrance, it would have been great to have witnessed this area on a clear and sunny day, it however it was still impressive in the drizzle. Upon arrival at the museum we discovered no thanks to any signage that it is closed for the entire week!

Hmmm we chose this museum as it is free entry and on our doorstep, the back up plan was to walk to a Lonely Planet recommended coffee spot. We’re still not getting our food choices right here, although the images definitely sell the food, after a few mouthfuls we’ve kind of thought not sure if this was the best choice! It’s all part of the fun we thinks! So after a slightly less appetising lunch we went in search of the @home cafe. Akihabara is like an up-market Blackpool on speed! There are young girls approaching people in the street dressed in maid outfits trying to entice you into the well known Tokyo maid cafe’s. We soon realised that the @home cafe was going to be along the same line. What an experience… With a 700yen per person sitting fee we still thought ‘yeah go-on then let’s give it a go’. We had our own maid who’s name was Michel…? She tried with poor English (although better than any attempt whatsoever we could make at Japanese!!) to entertain us, we only wish we had an interpreter with us as they refer to the men as “Master” and the ladies as “Mistress”, sing songs and play games with the guests. There were mostly young men in the cafe but a few couples with a few older men and women. It’s a little like a culture for the lonely as the maids become your best friend once you have paid the entrance fee.

After the surreal experience of Akiharaba we set off to the more fashion conscious areas of Harajuku and Shibuya. In extreme contrast here we have high-end designer shops and quirky artsy backstreets offering a taste of local fashion design, art and culture. Again we hit the after work, school-leaving crowd who love to shop! We passed through the international gymnastics centre, where Japan fashion week events are taking place and eventually found ourselves in the even more trendy Shibuya. Moving from area to area you really get the sense that places are broken up into clear districts, building-types and genres of shopping . We decided that we would come back here tomorrow to get a further taste of the area.

Later we stayed local to our Kanda area and went for some less-local cuisine opting for what appeared to be cosy little taverna offering Spanish food (noodles for breakfast, lunch and dinner can be difficult to stomach). What we had was an overpriced, small portioned meal which kind of left a foul taste in our mouths due the sting of the cost. Lesson to be learned there. So after a spell of emails, photo-editing and tasty chai bed-time reached the height of 11.30pm!

(Leica M9, Summicron-M 50mm f2.0 & Olympus PEN, 17mm f2.8, processed in Lightroom 3)

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  1. Posted 25 Oct ’10 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    I love sooo many of these – you are going to have to produce a book that I can buy!!!!
    Keep shooting the food – it’s fascinating and delicious looking! xx

  2. twonames!
    Posted 29 Oct ’10 at 12:16 am | Permalink

    Just stunning photography! Stu said something about having his bike nicked! ;-)

    Enjoying reading your diary of events too, sure seems like you are having a great time.

    Keep up the good work.x

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