Wabi-Sabi Sole

Finding Beauty with Imperfection

Category: Takeshita Street

Family Day

On Monday, 10/15, I had the wonderful opportunity to greet my Uncle and Aunts and their friend during the Yokohama port visit of their cruise. Their ship docked at Osanbashi Pier in Yokohama. I took an early train up to meet them. Even on a cloudy day, it wasn’t hard to spot the ship!

After joining up, we set out for a one-day Julia Tour of Tokyo. Here is a picture of me with my Aunt Merrily, Aunt Eileen, and Uncle Jay. Throughout the day, we attempted to recall the last time we saw each other. It’s been at least 20 years since I saw my Aunt Merrily and probably closer to 30 since I saw my Uncle Jay and Aunt Eileen. Regardless of the time, it didn’t take long to quickly fall into step and reminisce of days past.

The cute blue elephants at the Yokohama pier were too cute to pass up a picture opportunity. Pictured here are my Aunts and Uncle and their friend, Nan, who was cruising with them.

Our first stop in Tokyo was the Tokyo Metropolitan Building. It provides a great birds eye view of Tokyo. The best part, it’s free! I joked that by taking them to the top of the building, I could show them ALL of Tokyo!

On one of our numerous train rides, Aunt Merrily asked me to take a picture of the Tokyo Subway map. It looks like a big bowl of colorful ramen.

After our trip to the top of the Tokyo Metropolitan Building, we took a break for lunch. A delicious bowl of ramen filled our bellies and fueled us for the rest of the afternoon. I know I’ve mentioned how much I love Japanese eggs. The ones in ramen are smoked. Oishi desu!

After lunch, we headed to Harajuku. We walked and shopped our way down Takeshita Street. It’s one of my favorites in Tokyo. As long as it’s not too crowded!!

During our shopping, we stopped for a break. We thought we were just getting flavored tea. To our surprise, it had little balls of tapioca at the bottom. Needless to say, the first sip was quite a surprise. We all had different strategies for enjoying the drink. It provided a humorous highlight to our tour. Sometimes you just don’t know. Now that I do, I might not stop there again.

After a little more shopping, we took the train one stop to Shibuya. First stop in Shibuya is always at the Hachiko Statue. Hachiko is remembered for his loyalty. He walked everyday with his person to Shibuya Station. One day his person never came back. He had died of a heart attack. Hachiko lived the rest of his life at Shibuya Station waiting for his person to return.

No trip to Tokyo is complete without walking through Shibuya Crossing several times.

We stopped for an afternoon coffee at Starbucks for a chance to watch the scramble. We were lucky to see an almost poo brown bus pass through.

By this point, it was time to return my family to the cruise ship. One last train ride!

It wasn’t without a little bit of humor at the end. Nan’s train card didn’t have sufficient funds to exit. Unfortunately, I had already exited. She had to request the assistance of the station master. We were laughing so hard when he popped out of the wall!!

It was a a great day filled with laughs and adventure. It was great to share one of my favorite cities with my family. Simultaneously, it was really fun to reconnect and reminisce. Hearing stories of their travels and retelling stories about my grandparents warmed my heart. It was such a grand and special day. I couldn’t have asked for more – well, maybe a little bit more time together!

Day Two – Tokyo Tourists

After an amazing day at Tokyo Disneysea and a good night sleep at a Disney Resort Hotel, I planned for us to take the long way home via Tokyo. Layla placed Pizza de Michele at the top of her “must go to” list during her visit. So, we went for lunch. 


The staff was so friendly and allowed us to take pictures while we waited for our pizza. They even let Layla help cook! 


It was delicious! Check out that pizza! 


One final shot of the kawaii jack-o-lantern pizza. 


Here’s more great news. I had train books ready for Nina and Noah when they arrived. We were able to start their stamp collecting as we explored Tokyo!! I was even able to get a few new ones! 


After lunch, we went to Shibuya Crossing. Here we saw the Hachiko Statue and crossed through the crossing three times! Yay, tourists! 


After collecting another station stamp and a couple Hello Kitty stamps, we headed to Harajuku. We stopped for the mandatory Takeshita tourist photo. Do you see the spelling mistake on the marquee? Wabi-sabi in real life! 

Our first stop in Harajuku was at Cafe Mocha, a fancy cat cafe. Nina and Noah put cat cafe high on their “must do” list. I’ve been wanting to visit this cat cafe because it looks pretty cool from the street. We planned to stay 20 minutes. It easily turned into a 30 minute visit. We just needed a little more time to give all 16 cats enough love. 

This cute kitty reminded Layla, Nina, and Noah of their cat Simba. Kawaii! 

Perhaps the furriest cat in Japan! 

Cat in a bowl. 


The cafe had two rooms connected by a hallway. It was decorated in an Alice in Wonderland theme. 

Cat ears were available if you felt felined… I mean inclined. We did. 


Treats were available for purchase so you could feed the cats. The cats went crazy for the lollipop! We asked when we were leaving what it was made of. They were frozen chicken broth lollipops! Who knew? 


My favorite kitty was Pumpkin. He was a real life Grumpy Cat. Although he did seem a little happy to lick the lollipop! 


We had to tear the kids out of the cat cafe. We reminded them there was still cotton candy to eat and a toy store to shop! 

After a quick stop for a pair of cat ears, we made our way to the cotton candy place – Totti Candy Factory. 


Let me make a promise to you. When you visit me with your kids, I will spoil them with a HUGE mountain of cotton candy. 

All I ask for in return is a cotton candy face plant photo! This was a highlight to my day!! Pure sugar happiness. 


We finished walking down Takeshita street (so much kawaii) and worked our way to Kiddy Land. 


Kiddy Land is a four story toy store in Harajuku. It has every imaginable Japanese and U.S. toy. From Star Wars to Hello Kitty. 


We shopped until we dropped. On Pusheen! 


By the time we made it home the train count was up to seven. Seven different trains in one day! Some were pretty crowded. Especially, during rush hour. Nonetheless, we were all smiles! 


I had a great time sharing the Tokyo experience with this crew. They were flexible, inquisitive, and excited! Once again, I want to give photo credit to Layla for helping me document our day. And props to Dave for having dinner ready for us when we finally got home at 8:00pm! 

Purikura 

Purikura (pronounced pu-ree-ku-ra) is the shortened common name for Purinto Kurabu meaning Print Club. Purikura are Japanese photo booths that enable the users to take digital pictures with a twist.

Purikura photo booths can be found in shopping malls, arcades and of course, Harajuku. Yesterday we stopped in one while walking around Takeshita Street. The purikura was in the basement of one of the buildings on Takeshita Street. It had about 12 different booths to choose from. This is the one we selected.


Check out the close up… so weird and funny. Something was lost in translation, obviously.


For only ¥400, the six of us were able to cram together into the Japanese sized photo booth and have 6 silly pictures taken.


The purikura photo booths have image editing features that wash out skin tones giving the person smoother, lighter and blemish free skin. Also, there is a feature that will enlarge a person’s eyes making them look like an anime character. The pictures can also be enhanced with decorations using a stylus before the pictures are printed.

A few close-up pictures of the editing and decorating.


In the purikura there was also Gacha. The Gacha were all boy bands!

The experience was yet another opportunity to enjoy a fun and funny aspect of Japanese culture. I can’t wait to take you during your visit. I’m giggling just thinking about it!!

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