Tokyo, Day 2
There is so much to love about Tokyo. I love how it is a vertical city and many of the stores and restaurants are on the upper floors of buildings. How there are neighborhoods within neighborhoods. I particularly love the sense of style here. People take their looks seriously. There are a few places where I would just be happy pulling up a chair and watching the people walk by. They are in need of people watching cafes like Paris.
The first stop on day 2 is the Meiji Shrine. Set in a part of Yoyogi Park where if you didn’t know you were in the city, you would think you were in a forest. When you enter this area there is a wall of sake barrels that are offered every year to show respect to the souls of the Emperors and in turn, they will continue to pray for the prosperous sake industry.
The shrine just got a serious renovation to the point that it looks brand new inside. Getting ready for the Olympics. What is really beautiful is the gorgeous tree that sits outside the shrine. This time there is plenty of information in English. I have confirmed that English is becoming part of the school system so plenty has changed since we were here 6 years ago when almost nobody spoke English.
Next stop Mori Art Museum located on the 53rd floor of the Roppongi Hills Mall. The current exhibit is the influence of art around catastrophe. Really well curated. This piece, The Star Shines in the City, by George Rousse is about cleaning up a cafe in the aftermath of destruction.
This is Yoko Ono’s Add Color Piece which first appeared in 1961 inviting visitors to participate by writing and coloring a white canvas with the idea that every moment changing in our lives is beautiful.
On the 52nd floor, there are incredible views of the city. Gives you an idea of how dense Tokyo is.
We went to a small building with a bunch of design shops. The Japanese ceramics even for home use are so beautiful. This was at Axis Gallery Symposia.
IMA Concept Store is upstairs from this. This store represents many photographers that sell their pieces under $50 with the concept that art is for everyone.
Tokyo Station has some of the best places to eat. Rokusnisha always has a line and the ramen is worth waiting for. Rich, flavorful, intense and excellent noodles. I could only eat about half of this.
Harajuku is teenage central. Lots of pop culture. We first stopped in for coffee at Deus Ex Machina before hitting the streets. They take their coffee very seriously here.
Purikura is a store with lots of photo booths where the pics are manipulated and you can add emojis. I can only imagine what a blast it would be bringing a group of 12-year-olds there and letting them go wild.
Everything is in Japanese so we really did not take advantage of all the things you could do with your photo. Super crazy spot.
We hit up a few men’s concept shops such as Studious Mens Jinnan before stopping at Tokyo Hands. Tokyo Hands is a one-stop shop with tons of products very unique to Japan. The pen situation here is crazy.
Did a bit of rest and relaxation before dinner at Sushi Miyazono. A small spot with seats for 8. Insanely expensive and not as good as I would have loved. LA and NYC have their share of divine sushi so my expectations are super high here. This baked crab with miso was one of the best things we had.
The tuna was quite good too but many of the starters that were not sushi but tiny tastes of different fishes just weren’t that interesting.
We walked almost halfway back to the hotel before grabbing a cab and calling it a night.
Curious if the idea of art at consumer prices caught on there as culturally it has always struggled here I. Great online and storefront concepts never really exploded.I always wanted it to work as I believe deeply in the importance of images to defining and freeing ourselves.Keep sharing the trip.You had me at the reference to Paris and just sitting and watching people.
The store are packed here which is not what is happening back home. Quite a different culture. There is a part of me that is sorry they are learning English
The globalization of culture through the spread of English is an interesting topic.Can take either side.Enjoy!
We were curious about our art from catastrophe comment — and would the Banksy self-destructing piece fit that motif?
Banksy would not be a fit. This was more about the art that came out of 9/11, earthquakes and major catastrophes
Wow. Keep it coming 😉
I’ve read that interest in learning English in Japan has slumped in the last 5 years.I’m thinking that as web tech and AI ramps up the need and desire to learn other languages will diminish. That will help to protect diversity. The death of a language is the death of a culture.Globalisation could end up being the unrecognised slow risk black swan event that threatens the future of our species.
Purikura is a store with lots of photo booths where the pics are manipulated and you can add emojis. I can only imagine what a blast it would be bringing a group of 12-year-olds there and letting them go wild.12 year old? For sure but actually the picture that you posted of you and Fred proves the point that there is a market for this way beyond 12 year olds. At first glance I just thought ‘hmm good looking people who are they?’ (really I did). Then I forked did a search on photo booth pricing and found that there is a ‘photo booth expo’ dedicated to this entire business in the US  Then I returned and took another look at the picture and saw it was the both of you. This is a decent enough idea for a pop up store and/or permanent in a college town or setting. Maybe pair it with a yogurt or ice cream store next door. I’d be surprised if it wasn’t being done already in the US. Watch the video here if interested: https://photoboothexpo.com/
“I particularly love the sense of style here. People take their looks seriously.” Would love some visuals!! Pretty please???
I travel quite a bit, and the women of Tokyo are the most stylish I have seen anywhere. We stayed at The Tokyo Station Hotel (elegance in the midst of the wonderful chaos of the Tokyo Station). Agreed, would have been happy to have an outdoor cafe to watch the fashion show on the streets. Would love to get a Japanese stylist in NYC!