Day 2 in Tokyo: friends, food and fridays

Friday in Tokyo. Some things shut on a Friday, like the Imperial Palace East Gardens. Except I forgot to check before I left the hotel and got all the way there on the metro, walked through the financial district, to find it is never open on a Friday.

I decided to head to the Meiji shrine in Shibuya instead as I hadn’t yet visited a shrine. This is the Shinto shrine that is dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife Empress Shoken.

The torii leading to the shrine are impressive, tall and lots of people get their photo taken beside them. I just took a photo of the torii instead:

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It’s so peaceful here, not far away from the hustle and bustle of Shibuya which is an extremely busy part of Tokyo.

On the main walk to the shrine area, there are a couple of things to see, the wall of sake barrels wrapped in straw  (a must to photograph) and the casks of wine to be consecrated, that are given by celebrated wineries of Bourgogne in France.


The shrine was lovely to see, and I managed to see the procession of a Shinto wedding!

There is also a large section where you can see votive tablets that are offered toward the deities enshrined in Meiji Jingu shrine. You can write your wishes on them and they are offered at Mikesai, the morning ceremony held every day, your supplications will then be conveyed by the priests. It’s worth seeing these:


After I left the shrine, I had some free time so visited Takeshita street. this is a small street but it oozes the pink, girly, my little pony, crepes and candy floss type of girl charm that is so unique to Japan. 


Wander down here and watch the girls giggle into their candy floss, buy socks (quite a few sock shops here, they seem to be a bit obsessed with socks) or just breathe in the smell of sugary crepes. I’ll be coming back here so more about that another day.

I also visited Tokyo International Forum, mainly for its architecture, its roof seems to be shaped like a boat:


And I found a chocolate convention on too! Although I just viewed from afar!! 

I went back to the hotel after this as I had walked all day, and I was going out in the evening. As you know, I work for a Japanese company. So, I was meeting 3 Japanese colleagues for dinner. Spanish tapas. I met them (James, yoshi and seiji) at Shibuya station and we went to find the restaurant. Now, I still claim I haven’t got lost in Tokyo, but same couldn’t be said for my colleagues! They couldn’t find the restaurant. Eventually we found it and had lovely tapas, wine and a mojito! They learned that I still hadn’t had Japanese food since arriving in Tokyo. I’ve found it quite difficult to just go into a little eatery where everything is in Japanese and know what to do. So I’ve avoided it. Do you go in and sit and wait for someone to come and take your order, do you order at the till, can they even speak a little English. It’s difficult. So anyway, my colleagues decide I need to try yakitori (meat skewers), so we trail the back streets of Shibuya to find a small eatery. We eventually find one that has a spare table. 2 floors up. Smoking. (I forget not every country has banned smokiing in restaurants). Excellent yakitori!! Chicken skin ones, chicken ones, then onto kidney and liver (I didn’t realise what the last 2 were for a while). And I was introduced to sake! I like it! 


So, it was a good night, I learnt more about Japanese culture, and about my work colleagues and it was good to have company while travelling alone.

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