From The Straits Times    |

Day 3

 

I hope by now you’re not sick of hearing me ramble on about how much fun I’m having in Tokyo! I promise, today’s pretty fun too – I got to explore Tokyo with Gloria, my faithful companion on the trip.

830am: Have my favourite French toast with maple syrup breakfast again.

9am: Interview with Mr Yuichi Akagi, Kao’s Brand Manager for Premium Haircare-Global Beauty Care Business. (Read my article to find out more about the interview!)

930am: Yes! Tokyo, here I come!

Tameike-sanno Tokyo Metro Station 

Posing in front of the nearest train station to our hotel – Tameike-sanno.

 

Inside the very quiet train carriage – passengers are advised not to speak on their mobile phones.

Ramen shop at the train station 

The famous Hachiko landmark at Shibuya Hachiko landmark in Shibuya, TokyoThis is the famous Hachiko landmark at Shibuya and on the right is Hachiko immortalised as a statue. Yes, the combination of my loud scarf with purple leopard ‘preens’, along with the printed dress and bag did earn me curious stares – note to self, please pack more stylish clothes when going overseas.

Smap in a Softbank ad Do you recognise them?

The famous cross-junction at Shibuya, Tokyo I cannot believe I’m in Shibuya.

Mos Burger Tokyo JapanA meal at Mos Burger in Tokyo No trip to Japan is complete without eating at Mos Burger – this is after all, its birthplace. They even serve authentic hot and cold green tea here! For a person that collects various Mos Burger paraphernalia, this is like fine cuisine.

 Beautiful tree-lined streets in Tokyo. Now, if we could only figure where we are exactly.

1pm: By now, Gloria and I have abandoned our plans of going systematically around Tokyo – we’re lost and just following our instincts, really. Oh wait, is that a large H&M logo peeking out from behind some buildings? Okay, now we know where to head to. Lead us to where you are, H&M!

H&M Harajuku TokyoH&M Harajuku Tokyo 

2pm: We finally locate H&M, and find ourselves in Harajuku! As you can see from the bags in our hands, we made a few stops along the way – I spent 10,000 yen in a drugstore (new-fangled Japanese skincare and makeup stuff can really make you part with your money). Oh, did I mention that there are 4 levels in this H&M? Unfortunately, I only bought hair accessories, but Gloria parted with 10,000 yen on clothes – lucky girl!

Forever 21 Harajuku JapanRight next to H&M is a huge Forever 21 store – I bought a jacket and a dress. Yes, we have a store in Singapore too – but telling people you bought something from Japan? Priceless.

 We end up at one of the famous shopping streets in Harajuku – somewhat comparable to Singapore’s Bugis Village but with much more interesting characters and funky clothes!

  

I just had to take pictures of these two Japanese girls, and they were sporting enough to agree.

Yoshinoya in Japan 

6pm: I haven’t had this much exercise before since I became a writer – walking up the steep slopes of Tokyo is giving my legs a  total workout – but we can’t stop on our quest to see as much of Tokyo as we can. For some reason, I also have an urge to visit the Kinokuniya here, but we can’t find it no matter who we asked – whether it was the cashier at a FamilyMart or this really cute guy we stopped on the street:

 

In the end, we gave up and popped into the huge Uniqlo store along the way.

Uniqlo in Tokyo JapanUniqlo in Tokyo, Japan 

Left: The store here sells all the UTs designed by various designers. Right: We couldn’t resist the bright, shiny LED lights at the storefront.

7pm: By this time, all the walking has made us hungry again. So Gloria and I make a deal to stop in the next restaurant we see. We chance upon this little hole-in-the-wall shop selling Japanese food and make our way in.

 

Eating Japanese food all my life obviously hadn’t taught me how to eat soba noodles the right way, as I had no idea how to combine that with the bowl of soup that came along with it. And by a weird twist of fate, as we asked our server in very cautious English to teach us how to eat the noodles – she answers us in Mandarin! Turns out the young girl waiting on our table is actually Chinese. And the verdict from this not very credible food critic – 5 stars! 

8pm: I desperately want a haircut, and where else to get one but in Tokyo right? I had declined Akira-san’s kind invitation for one (a girl needs to explore the city) and now walking past these brightly-lit salons are tempting me even further. So I worked up the courage and knocked on the door of a salon with a pretty pink exterior and the very handsome hairstylist opens it.

"Haircut?’ I say, hoping that he at least understands this.

He looks at me, wide-eyed and rather confused, not knowing what to say.

Then I look around the place and realise…they only style long hair.

"Too short?" I gesture towards my crop of hair.

He nods his head and I try to make as dignified an exit as I possibly could. Second note to self: Grow your hair long again.

Shibuya at night

9 pm: After the experience at the hair salon, we thought it best not to risk it anymore. So we head back to the Shibuya train station, after stopping by a beauty emporium where they sell pretty much every makeup brand in Japan. (I’m sorry I don’t have pictures for you, there was no way I could have even turned on my camera with the wall-to-wall makeup products in front of me.)

10pm: Arrive back at the hotel. Only had strength to lift the remote to turn on the TV, then fell fast asleep.

You’ve gone this far, why not read the last part of my Tokyo Blog?