Ohhhhh, I’m so sad to be reaching the end of my honeymoon recaps! You just don’t knowww!
Our last full day in Japan was totally packed full of fun stuff. Trying to see two major cities in 12 days was a massive undertaking and we decided to go out with a bang! (And by bang I mean absolutely no sleep.)
So let’s get started!
Napkin and I woke up super early to make it to the breakfast buffet at our hotel one last time. We enjoyed our now beloved luke warm eggs and curry rice in, like, ten minutes before BOOKING it to the train station and Mitaka. Why Mitaka again, you ask? Because we went to the Ghibli Museum TWICE!
Anyway, you know now that I am a huge Studio Ghibli fan and wanted to make sure I saw everything the Ghibli museum had to offer. So, of course, I needed to go twice. I will go ahead and tell you that if you are reading this blog for info on the Ghibli museum you don’t really need to see it twice. Just give yourself a lot of time and explore. If you are insane (like me) go twice. You can experience everything again and be especially embarrassed when the staff recognizes you. #shame.jpg.
This time we decided to take the Studio Ghibli bus because I just didn’t think I could handle the walk again (it’s not far…it was just a really emotional time for me, haha.) And I’m so glad we did because look at this thing!
Away we go! Our second time at Ghibli was mostly spent in the Straw Hat cafe– because the line was incredibly long the first time and we didn’t get to see anything! …well. The line is just always incredibly long. But look!
After spending time at the cafe we made our way indoors.
(Do you spot the robot?)
So listen. I know. I KNOW. You’re not supposed to take pictures inside the museum. But I took this because I’m hoping that maybe one day I can have one of my very own?
We waited to see the feature film in the theatre again (it was definitely worth seeing Mr. Dough and the Egg Princess a second time.)
Then, we wandered around the gift shop for a few minutes before we realized that we were almost thirty minutes late to meet my friend in Mitaka, Asayo. I had apparently timed everything perfectly minus the film in the Ghibli theatre so we were half an hour later than we were supposed to be. With limited means of communication– we had totally left her hanging. I kept my phone off for the most part in Japan, with the exception of the occasional Starbucks wi-fi spot and so when I turned my phone on– three calls and texts from her blasted through from AN HOUR EARLIER. I was mortified. She and I had been internet pals for six months and she had been so helpful with getting us settled in Japan and I had left her hanging!
I grabbed Napkin by the Ghibli Gift Shop bag and we high tailed it away from the museum and back towards the train station in Mitaka. There was a Tully’s coffee house there and Asayo was waiting. She was the sweetest ever (and so pretty!) and totally forgave us for making her wait so long but it really made our meeting a quick one. (I’m sorry, Asayo!) We had lattes and talked about our new families (she was recently married as well) and then we said very, very quick goodbyes. : (
Napkin and I had all sorts of plans but realized that we were losing light and there was one place I really, REALLY wanted to see: Yoyogi Park.
Mitaka and Harajuku are a pretty short train ride from one another so we decided that this would be our last day light stop in Japan. And it ended up being straight magical. You can actually get to Yoyogi by either getting off the train in Shibuya or Harajuku– but Harajuku was the closer stop for us so we chose that one. And thank goodness we did because we got to see ALL THE THINGS.
In a very Stupid American moment, I just imagined Yoyogi Park to be a big plot of flat land where people would cosplay. I was totally wrong because this is Japan and things are just beautiful there. After wandering for a short time, we found this:
Which lead itself to this:
The Meiji Shrine. I’m not sure what was happening there… but I took a few pictures. Those of you who are more Japan educated than myself– can you help?
It looked like a wedding– the children were in traditional clothing and so so so cute. Everyone was cooing over them. We followed a pretty clear path away from the shrine and towards some sort of music…
(Why do these photos have Boku effect? I don’t know.)
We found this drum circle and were like, “Ah! That must be it!” But we were wrong. So very wrong.
There they were. Just like the internet told me they would be. I’m not sure how long the Yoyogi Park Rockabilly Dancers have been around– but I remember seeing a poorly made documentary in high school about Japanese culture (you can imagine that I was on the edge of my seat the entire time) and these guys were mentioned. They are in Harajuku almost every week– and they just dance.
Take a look:
I was fascinated. I found myself staring at them wondering, “Do these guys work normal jobs? Do they kiss their wives goodbye and say, ‘see you after the dance off!’ or something?” There are just so many questions. But there they were. Being hair-sprayed and pointy-booted. We passed a few other, younger dance crews after that… doing funny routines (or break-dancing incredibly well) and we decided that, with the failing light, it was time to leave. We were almost totally out of Yoyogi Park when all of a sudden:
They were the only group left– and all of them were taking selfies (which was especially adorable) and so I snuck a picture and then did this on the inside:
So we were going to head back to Shinjuku after this and start thinking about dinner (I had suggested a return visit to Isetan) and so it was especially awesome when we stumbled into what looked like the remnants of a street festival basically across the street from where we were. Whatever was being celebrated had already closed down shop– but the food vendors were still open! Wahoo!
I had my first Okonomiyaki!
This might not look amazing but it tastes that way, I promise. Depending on where you are in Japan this is made all sorts of different ways (normally it looks a little more like a pizza; flat and round) but it’s basically a savory pancake full of STUFF THAT IS GOOD. Half way through this (and also half way through a Sapporo tall boy) I looked at my new husband and said, “New husband? It’s our last night in Japan. Let’s get nuts.” So instead of going home, we decided to crawl the streets until we HAD to take a train home. So we left the festival and promptly ran into this little beautiful kiosk:
It was a Takoyaki stand! And they were selling the sweet kind!
The Takoyaki was super fresh and warm but I just felt like something was missing. Napkin and I made our way back towards Takeshita street in Harajuku and it hit me. I knew what we were missing.
I mean, I said “let’s go nuts,” right? By “nuts” I meant “we are going to eat ourselves into a coma.”
This crepe stand was maybe a ten minute walk from where we were and super brightly lit and welcoming. We were like moths to a flame.
The menu was crazy! There were all sorts of combinations. Even…like…not sweet ones?
We stuck to the sweet ones. There’s a very unflattering photo of me eating a crepe that Napkin took– so I’ll just put this one here instead.
We did a little more walking around after this but our blood sugar was through the roof and the trains were getting fewer and fewer so we decided to part ways with Harajuku one last time.
We took the train back to Shinjuku– but instead of getting off near our hotel, we decided to get off at Shinjuku station so that we could walk around Isetan Department Store one last time. (I really wanted to bring some macarons home.) By the time we actually found Isetan (the station was confusing with all that sugar flooding my brain, I guess) it was too late so we decided to start walking home.
The easiest way to get home was through Kabukicho, which is notorious for nastiness and debauchery which, to me, screams, “FUN!”
I had tried to convince Napkin to go see this weird looking show with girls on mecha-robot-tank things that wheeled around the club winking at you and giving you expensive drinks but he wouldn’t go for it. We were laughing about it all when we totally stumbled into DON QUIJOTE.
There’s a level where there are cute things.
There’s a level where there are…uhhhh…
And the funniest thing about all of this stuff is that they are all next to each other! Do you need shampoo? And lube? And crackers? And a vibrator? And a personal fan? Great! Because you’ll find them all (as well as luxury brand luggage and jewelry) at Don Quijote. It’s crazy!
And it was open super late so we spent a lot of time looking/laughing at everything.
We got a few trinkets (try and guess which ones) and started making our way home– as it was after midnight and we still needed to pack.
But then the bright lights of a fabulous arcade sucked us in. #shame2.jpg
Napkin spent basically his life savings on a game that gave you a ton of candy every time you played (we were going “nuts!” remember?!) and I found this thing:
…which was basically the best thing I’ve ever played. It was SO EXPENSIVE (7.00 US dollars) But you sat in this pod, connected with other players (I think?) and fought other mechas. IT WAS AWESOME.
(Don’t I like super cool?)
When we realized that we had spent basically all of our yen in the last twelve four hours we said, “You know? We went nuts. I’m proud of us.”
With that, we finally made it back to our hotel. It was hard– Napkin decided at the last minute that maybe he DID want to see the robot girls (figures) — but by that time it was too late. We got back– looked at our total mess of a room and decided that we had made the right choice.
PS: It was four am.
Next post! Saying goodbye. : …(
See you soon!
***Thanks Charmaine for the edit!