Wow! Saturday was the BEST day! We spent the day showing Maria all our favorite Tokyo spots. Tokyo was showing her finest colours that day, and even Jeff and I spent most of the day with our jaws dropped in wonder...(ya, I guess Ota is pretty hick for Japan). We started with Shibuya. Maria had to see the gaudy and overwhelming 109 building - THE center of ridiculously hip Tokyo fashions. And then we went to Starbuck's... to sip coffee while staring at the unbelievable Shibuya pedestrian crossing from the second floor windows. Jeff took this picture from the windows...that's my white shirt you see reflected ;) It's hard to really capture the scene. When the three D's were here, we all referred to it as "The War of the Worlds". While the pedestrian light is red, you watch the crowds pile up...from the station, the streets, on all sides of the road. Then, the light goes green, and hundreds of people move, en mass, in every possible direction. Our crossing advice? Don't make eye contact. Look down, walk confident. Talking or texting on a cell helps too. Then it's THEIR job to avoid YOU!
After Shibuya, we trekked down to Harajuku, where the fashion is cheap and fun. We dragged Jeff down Takeshita dori, all gothic chic. And after, we made our way to Yoyogi park, home of the "Harajuku girls" and the dancing Elvises. Unfortunately, it seems Sunday is their day, not Saturday. However, there were plenty of other wonders to fascinate us. We were actually astounded by the strange variety of amateur performers out that day in the park. Maria and I started this whole conspiracy theory. We figured that Yoyogi Park is actually the secret recruiting grounds for the underground Japanese circus... if you don't believe us, read the following list of "acts": guy practicing trumpet, guy practicing sax, ... oh, there goes a single relay runner, group doing stretches after soccer practice, three (or more?) separate groups practicing a variety of skits (one seemed to be a dress rehearsal), a group doing a circular dance with fans, oh, there goes another single relay runner, groups playing badminton, volleyball, frisbee, a group of jugglers, a few tapdancers, a group that seemed to be doing something wedding related ... kind of strange - there was a bride, in gown, but no groom... only women, but they all seemed kinda serious... bongo drummers, people doing "Labrynth" moves with glass balls, and our favorite: the percussion/flagging/stick twirling group.
No really, we figure this guy was the circus genius. He excelled in everything. Usually Yoyogi is full of people just strolling around, but for some reason the crowds were small that day, so we ended up being this group's only audience for awhile. But wow - did he ever put on a show! He could do it all - play the xylophone, play the drum - and really really well! ... oh, there goes another single relay runner... And he could twirl those sticks (sorry, don't know the "official" name for them) like no one I've ever seen! In this picture, he has actually twirled them under his legs while sitting down!
And as Maria noted, "look! the girl playing the xylophone! she looks like a midget! you always know it's a circus when there's a midget..." (yes, Kevin, another one to add to the books. The really funny thing is Maria didn't even know about your jokes!)
After leaving Yoyogi, we ended the night strolling the ritzy back alleys of Omote Sando. It was peaceful, due to a lack of cars, and yet people were still milling around everywhere, in and out of cafes and boutiques. It almost felt a little European...