Sunday, November 25, 2007

Done With Tokyo

I'm a bit sad that I have to leave Tokyo after only a few nights, but I'm done.

For now.

Roppongi left a bad taste in my mouth, and I spent this morning in Harajuku feeling wholly underwhelmed.

All trip I'd been looking forward to the Harajuku cosplay freakshow, waiting to see people dressed up as gothic lolitas, anime characters, members of their favorite bands - whatever. Instead I saw a handful of kids in barely creative outfits. The few who were dressed to the nines were hiding away from photos because they weren't looking "pretty enough" yet. Maybe I'd come too early. Or perhaps since it's a holiday weekend, most of these so-called rebellious teens were off at Tokyo Disney with their suburban families.

Or maybe it's the fact that I'm just numbed to it all. After all, nobody outfreaks San Francisco. The city is a pride parade, Halloween, and a Grateful Dead parking lot rolled into one - and that's on regular days. It's gonna be hard to shock me, whatever you're wearing. (Maybe a white hood and a burning cross will get me, though...)

On the other hand, Harajuku's a cool little part of Tokyo, overall. Along with adjoining Omote-sando, it's a vibrant little fashion district, with Harajuku's tiny little alleys home to all sorts of cheap streetwear geared toward the youth, and Aoyama's Parisian-styled avenues home to high-end designers who split their time between Tokyo and Paris. Yohji Yamamoto. Hanae Mori. Issey Miyake. All those folks whose clothes I can't afford, which is just as well because they don't fit me. But it makes for nice window shopping, with very little crowd surfing necessary.

Getting out of Tokyo is less than ideal right now, too. Again, with the holiday weekend, all was madness at the Tokyo station, and our normally smooth, comfortable Shinkansen is now packed to the hilt with people, and I get an occasional elbow to the head or bag smacking me in the arm whenever I attempt to sleep. It's like being on a commuter train, only traveling about 400 miles on it.

Luckily, my mom and I lined up early and we were able to snag decent seats, as well as some snacks.

Yes! Booze, cheese, and Mt. Fuji! That makes for a great day after all. Until you get to this stretch:

Depressing, isn't it?

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