Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Japan Part 2 - the coffee dilemma

Photo booth craziness!
Takeshita Street

Sunday dawned a little drizzly, but nothing comes between me and coffee! I headed down the street, and passed a bar which had some very happy people spilling out if it at 7am! I didn't do too badly with the coffee order, although I learned that you must nominate hot coffee, as they are big on iced coffee here. The group met and walked down to Bunka, where we were to meet the Japanese students who would be taking us out - Brodie and I ended up in a group with Brooke and Lydia, with Ami and Kim as our guides. We caught the train to Harajuku, and stepped out right onto Takeshita Street, which was super busy! There is a live video feed of visitors displayed beneath the sign, so everyone is playing with that!
The first stop was a bizarre photo booth place, which was just too much for me, so I made my apologies and went to sit outside to happily watch the passing parade. Poor Ami was worried I was not having fun, but I was more than happy to observe the street!
Ami in the shoe shop Out of the World!
Harajuku boots!


Stuffed cat at the restaurant
The wall outside the restaurant
 It was very busy, and it took us a while to make our way through, and having failed at a few shoe shops, I was ecstatic to find these boots! Mine! I grinned and giggled all the way to the next stop - okonimiyaki at a restaurant hidden behind a groovy scaffolding frontage. Ooishi! This was in the back streets, which were much quieter and picturesque, and we visited a more traditional shop which had kimonos and kanzashi - the beautiful traditional hair decorations.
After a stroll through the more luxurious district of Omotesando, and finding a street market of second hand clothes, we re-grouped, and some stayed in Harajuku, some went on, and some of us
went home for a break! After a shower, a beer from the vending machine and a laundry visit, we felt revived enough to accept Brooke and Jess's invitation to join them on a rooftop bar for dinner and drinks. Sadly, our phone map led us severely off course, and we were 45 minutes late for our 2 hour all you can eat and drink session!! Once there we had an enjoyable night, and caught the free shuttle bus back to New City Hotel and giggled our way to sleep!
We enjoyed a wee sleep in on Monday morning, and I ventured out for coffee for the two of us - despite improving on yesterday's communication efforts, this time I nearly ended up with 4 coffees! We headed to Bunka for what turned out to be quite a formal-looking welcome ceremony, although
New boots debut!

Display of student work - love the bag!
The view from Bunka
The whole garment knitting machine
Mannequins for sale in the campus shop
there was much laughter on both sides! Then it was time for a tour of the campus, which knocked our socks off! They have some really technical lab spaces for testing materials interacting with humans in different environments, whole knitting machines, where an entire seamless garment come out, an amazing textile resource, where you look up a particular fabric, and the room of files around you contracts and spits out the very sample, and a wonderful library. Then there is the amazing resource of past collections presented at Bunka, a fabric shop, a general shop, and a pop up shop.
Lunchtime, and we used our lunch tickets to either choose a hot meal or a pre-boxed one. Students then rinse the dishes before putting them in the 'moat' of dishwater for the staff to take care off, whilst other refuse is sorted into categories.
Our afternoon lecture from Professor Uchida was a general introduction to Japan, although I was slightly distracted by my legs not quite fitting under the table - the proportions here are just that little bit out! Next was a lecture from Professor Yanagido on Japanese business manners, which was very helpful and fun! After class Brodie and I headed into Shinjuku in search of cat sushi and other interesting things, although we returned home early with real sushi and interesting things! We visited the food hall in the department store, and were amazed to see boxes of live prawns, octopus tentacles and all kinds of seafood and shellfish.

Fake goatee, anyone?
What's all that about? Perhaps we should leave....
After our room picnic, I realised that I still had the wrong adaptor, and decided that I could not live without the computer another night, so we caught the bus back in to get one. I was so pleased to be stopped by a lovely Japanese lady on the way down the station stairs who told me my shoes were cute and my hair was beautiful! An hour later we were back home, to talk to both our Matts', and catch up on things. Now it is Tuesday morning, and although I practised and practised what to say, today I ended up with two coffees - one a horrible filter coffee one, and one the latte I had asked for - SO disappointed!! I enjoyed a walk through the park, did some exercises and stretches - no room in our room - , watched a large exercise group, and watched an old man running backwards for a while. This morning we have a basic Japanese lesson, where I hope to perfect my coffee request, then a visit to a knitting factory.

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