In some respects today was a little disappointing.
Given it was a Sunday, and the typical Tokyo population is not at work or at school, I decided to go to the home of the weirdly dressed and not too shy… Harajuku. This area is known for not only a fantastic park and a couple of unique shopping strips, but more so the strange folk that come out to play (i.e. like my lead picture).
I was all geared up to see some crazy-ass people preening and posing for the cameras. But alas, it didn’t really happen. Granted it was a 30+ degree day, but there was a distinct lack of crazies. Let me backtrack.
I arrived just before lunchtime and decided to wander through part of Yoyogi Park, stumbling upon Meiji Shrine. I guess Sundays are popular for wedding ceremonies, as there was a few taking place, right in the middle of the gawking visitors. Of course I was going to take a photo too.
I then wandered down Takeshita-Dori, the street primarily responsible for the high (or is that low?) fashion of the area. A fairly narrow strip, it is full of stores with all kinds of weird fashion. Nothing took my fancy unfortunately. I did come across the famous Bathing Ape store, but it was a bit lame to be honest. I think the hundreds of knock off Bathing Ape shirts are a bit more exciting (and a hell of a lot cheaper).
That led me to the other shopping street, Omote-Sando. My Lonely Planet guide likens it to the Champs Elysee, and I kinda see why. It is a lovely tree lined street full of your Louis Vuitton etc etc, and is a change from the neon lit streets of Shibuya and Shinjuku. A bit of a breath of fresh air in a way. But alas, again nothing really took my fancy. I did find a Blythe exhibition in one of the high brow shopping centres which was actually kinda cool… about a hundred Blythe dolls dressed in the height of Tokyo fashion. More interesting than the actual fashions I was seeing.
So I got back to the park and Jingu-Bashi bridge expecting to be inundated with lots of strange folk in interesting get up. But it really wasn’t happening. There were a handful trying their hardest, but it wasn’t all that interesting. Even the cameras were kept in their bags for the most part. A bit disappointing. Oh well. You don’t win ’em all.
So I wandered back into Yoyogi park. At least there was some action there. Not quite as many young hipsters as I thought there would be, but there were a couple of bands battling it out with the park folk. Even though I didn’t understand the lyrics, I knew the main band I was watching were just a little bit emo. It seems to translate pretty easy.
The one thing that I struggle to understand is not the hipster kids or the “look at me I’m so weird” folk. It is the rockabilly older folk. Don’t get me wrong, I love it! It is just such a strange one. I wonder if they have normal jobs? Anyway, it was fun watching them bust some moves for a while.
Since I was on my way toward Shibuya, I decided to wander down there by foot. Conveniently some park food vendors were there, so with some Tokyo-style okonomyaki under my belt (different again… less cabbage, more egg) I legged it down. I sniffed out another record store (to the surprise of no one I am sure). Boy. Why can’t I buy LP’s like this back home? When I am filling some of my collection for 600 – 700 yen a pop (not even 10 bucks), I know I am in the right place. Maybe today didn’t turn out so bad after all.