Rest of the weekend: Sunday

Monday was a public holiday here, which was lucky as it meant I had a full weekend despite moving house. This was particularly good as I’ve only got a few weekends left before my round-Japan trip commences, and I already have plans for most of them so need to make sure I squeeze in all the stuff I want to do (without skipping class and missing out on the all-important 90% attendance level).

On Sunday I started off by heading over to Harajuku for an antiques market by on of the shrines. Although there wasn’t as much cool stuff as I had hoped for (in very many ways this is a Good Thing), I still found a cool birthday present for my sister and had a nice ol’ wander around.

From there I walked down the Omotesando Dori, which is probably the poshest street in Tokyo, and as well as Ginza houses all the designer clothes stores. I found some really cool gifts in the Oriental Bazaar, as well as a couple of copies of Metropolis, the only free English language publication in Tokyo. I also went into another branch of SouSou (see this post) but didn’t have enough cash on me to buy so instead just decided what I will buy. Until next time, my precious freaky shoes…

My guide book, printed in 2007, had recommended the Nezu Institute of Fine Arts, both for its contents and its garden. However it turns out that it has been shut since 2006 for extensive renovations. Thanks, Fodor’s.

Instead I went to explore Aoyama Cemetry. That might sound a bit weird; to come to a foreign country only to spend an afternoon wandering around a field of dead bodies, but a friend at college said the ones here were cool and also I do kind of like cemeteries, especially when you can find weird or interesting headstones. There were areas devoted to entire families, some looking distinctly unkempt but others covered in fresh flowers, and loads of trees and plants. Sadly I missed the section devoted to gaijin, which apparently has graves going back to the 1800’s.

There were loads of obnoxious Americans in the antiques market, asking non-questions in some kind of non-Japanese they’d mistakenly hacked together (e.g. “kore desu ka?”). I couldn’t figure out what they’d crawled out from underneath, why there were so many, and why they were buying furniture, at least until I saw this sign on the way from the cemetery to Roppongi:

There are loads of American Army bases here, the largest of which being in Okinawa, which they’ve had since bombing the pants out of two of the countries largest cities back during WW2. Needless to say it’s a source of great resentment for the locals, and quite frankly I don’t blame them. Time to go home!

Since it was close and I had my walking shoes on (metaphorically – I’ve barely worn my real ones) I strode onwards to Roppongi and the famous Roppongi Hills. Although big and fairly upmarket, there wasn’t a great deal going on apart from a cinema, gallery and a few shops. It is, however, the place to see and be seen of an evening and according to Oliver, a friend who’s been here 8 years, the place expats go to meet expats (and locals who want to meet expats) IYKWIM…

After that it was back to Tsukishima for the suki yaki dinner I blogged in my last post, followed by the much-needed sento.

The restaurant was in the Carretta Tower (although not at the top) that I had previously visited after going to the Hama Rikyu Gardens with some college friends. I managed to snap a couple of night shots, although they didn’t come out nearly as well as the sunset ones, a few of which are below. Check out the whole set.

* Edited to add photos on 6/11/08 at 9pm

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