I’m in Japan again, and it’s another short trip, where the total travel time isn’t much less than the time spent in the country. I neither slept much on the planes (Zürich-Bangkok-Tokyo) nor last night in the hotel, but I was surprisingly awake this morning when I got up for church. I went to Tokyo Union Church this time, instead of out to Chiba, because I hoped to meet Mindy and her fabulous engagement ring – I mean, her fabulous Ryotaro.
I got there with some time to spare, even though a film crew stopped pedestrian traffic for a while just in front of the toy store, where I encountered the Rubix 360°, which is like a cross between the Rubix cube and those annoying put-the-ball-in-the-hole coordination games. From the film crew I learned that (a) the crowded street scenes are shot with a telephoto lens, with the crowds removed where the actors are, and using the background crowds down the street for the crowd effect, and that (b) one need not be a good actor to make it on TV.
After church I stayed on for the young adults group, where I wasn’t the only newcomer. I don’t know how I would have dealt with a newcomers group for a small group study – I found it somewhat awkward to answer personal questions in front of total strangers – but it seemed to work alright for most participants. At least one person wasn’t a Christian, which surprised me a little. Maybe Asians are more likely to actively explore another faith than Westerners.
I went shopping afterwards. Harajuku was crowded, and a store opening with the attendant lines at the entrance didn’t help. Although my Harajuku source was out of black toe socks, the girl there pointed me to their Ikebukuro branch, which I found without too much difficulty. They had the right socks, and that’s where the galactic references begin. I suppose it’s appropriate that in the Sunshine city complex I came across the band ChoShinSung (Supernova) greeting fans, and snuck in a photo before some frantic guy came to tell me it wasn’t allowed.
From there I went across the street to a supermarket to purchase a number of Japanese food items. I’d been asked to buy green tea, which brought me to the second floor, where to my surprise I found a couple cans of Ginga Kogen beer, which translates into Milky Way Plateau beer. It’s the only Japanese wheat beer I can think of and probably my favorite Japanese beer. I support good quality, so I bought a few. (I drink responsibly, so I don’t expect to see stars…)
In closing, a few pictures of Tokyo, and one from the Munich airport from my last Asian trip.
Here’s hoping the pilot isn’t what the plane ID says.
I thought the ad was clever – and subtly frightening.
Note how the rules (where they make quantifiable sense) are contravened by the mannequin’s garb.
Standing in line to shop for clothes.
Harajuku cracks down on crime – and smorking.
The girl in red got in line about five times, to the amusement of the bystanders.
Oh, look, another person who must have stood in line today.
I don’t know of many other places with as clear a view of the Tokyo tower. I can also see a part of the Rainbow Bridge (not on the picture).