Tired tonight after roaming the city all day. The plan today was to visit the Harajuku district. On Sundays this is were the kids go in their crazy clothes – the more outlandish, the better. We arrived via JR train a bit on the early side and wandered through some of the lanes. Definitely where the young ‘uns shop. We made a loop back up to where the action was to be. From a distance we could hear a hectoring female voice over a loudspeaker. This is surprisingly common, in a country that so values discretion and politeness. Trucks drive by advertising via loudspeakers, vendors on the street are using loudspeakers to entice shoppers. Since we can’t understand what they’re on about its just a lot of noise.
Back to the bridge by train station – no crazy clothes. But hundreds of people streaming out of the train station with banners. At this point it was just on to 11:00 a.m. We followed down the street for a bit – the hectoring voice was coming from a van by the side of the road with a group of what could only be local politicians bowing and smiling while this woman went on and on and on. On one side of the road is a huge park that people are heading towards in large groups. On the other side of the road is a huge arena, where there appears to be a rhythmic gymnastics competition going on, given the number of very young girls in sparkly eye makeup and carrying fancy hoops.
I managed to find a young policeman who could manage enough English to confirm that there was a political demonstration about to happen in the park. We decided to walk back down through the shopping area and let things settle for a bit.
The fancy shopping area was packed with people out for a day of strolling and shopping. Once clear of the Harajuko street area proper we were into designer land – huge Ralph Lauren stand alone store, Louis Vuitton store, Harry Winston, you name it. Back in Harajuko we got a local snack – crepes, rolled up in a cone like an ice cream cone, filled with yummy stuff.
By now it was about 1:15, and only a few people on the bridge looking kind of purple and gothy. And then there was this guy:
Dude – aren’t you a little old for this?
We found a cafe near the entrance to the Meji park shrine. Lots of parents bringing their kids to the shrine for blessings as part of the 7-5-3 festival. Lots of tourists. And then, about 1:15, the singing started. And the chanting. The folks we saw at 11:00 heading for their demonstration were now, at 1:15 returning up the street. For 45 minutes they kept coming and coming. Chanting, singing. A sea of people. Carrying lots of signs and banners. Lots of police keeping an eye on things.
Passing the train station – at first I thought they might be heading from rally to the train to go home, but no – they just kept on going….
Like I’ve said – it is a real nuisance, being illiterate.
We scooted over to Roppongi to see the Roppongi Hills and Tokyo Midcity developments – they’re like cities within the city. Amazing architecture:
and these two cuties and their Dad – playing in one of the sculptures.
We have covered a ton of ground, and are thoroughly the city. So much to see – we never know what we’re going to find when we come up from the subway- will we step into the 21st century, or go back in time down some tiny little alley of little bars and eateries?