Art(h) In Movement: Tokyo (part II)
Hello again and welcome back for the second instalment of my adventures in Tokyo. As I welcome you, I couldn’t help but start by mentioning how welcoming the Japanese people are. I mean, I’d already heard their reputation for being polite and helpful, but I was completely astonished to see the extent to which this kindness goes. If you ask around for information, they will try and help you with whatever English (or miming) skills they have. And if you don’t seem to get it, they will try and repeat until they make sure you understood every bit of the way.
In the shops and restaurants they are so sweet and show such a joy to serve that it made me feel awkward sometimes – like I was taking advantage of them somehow. Even if you bump into someone on the streets, they always take their time to stop, look at you and say they are sorry for running into you, even if it was actually you who walked into them! I know we should never generalise, but I can say for sure I haven’t had a bad experience or crossed an impolite person. This all makes you feel so welcome.
In Japan even the toilets welcome you whenever you come in:
Ah… And don’t get me started talking about Japanese toilets. They are so smart and modern. Why don’t we have these in Europe? You get in, it opens the lid, the seat heats up in a matter of seconds and if you wish, the massage mode will make the seat vibrate (you can pick the intensity!). If you are not feeling so well, no reason to be ashamed, a button called “Privacy Mode” makes the toilet play some music loud enough to stifle any other noise in the room (but low enough so as not to bother you). Once you’re finished, the bidet comes to clean you up followed by the drier. The toilets are a full experience by themselves. Did I mention they have an auto cleaning mode? Ok, enough about toiles, except to tell you of my intense fear the first time I needed to figure out which button to push.
“GOD, WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN NEXT?!”
Anyway! After a full hour of toilet discoveries we headed to Harajuku. This is one of the trendy areas of Tokyo. Nice shops, big brands, beautiful buildings and restaurants. Everyone is dressed to impress. The place is very busy, especially on Sundays, and made it a difficult task to find a place to brunch, but we figured it out.
Bellies full, we continued exploring the neighborhood and noticed that almost everyone had a lamp bulb filled with some colorful liquid in their hands. Intrigued, I had to ask what it was about. A very sweet girl told me that this was a popular drink in Tokyo and escorted me to a shop where I could order one (with or without alcohol). Honestly, it tasted awful, but I like the whole lamp bulb thing.
I could keep listing all the extravagant things I saw this afternoon, but it would take YOU a whole afternoon to learn about it all (and everything could be obsolete anyway – Things here happen fast).
After we left Harajuku, we toured through Shibuya and Yoyogi park. The park holds the Meiji Jungu Shrine and sanctuary. In the park, they also have a full display of Sake barrels that look beautiful in contrast with the lush green background of the park.
As the night fell, we booked our table to the Robot Restaurant (also known as Robot Cabaret).
It’s a very futuristic (kind of tacky) building, all in metallic colours and a whole lot of neon. After having dinner, we were invited to the basement of the restaurant where a whole performance with giant robots happened. That’s how my evening ended and how I will finish this article. I hope I could give you guys a taste of my second day in Tokyo. Below some pictures of the Robot Restaurant. See you soon!