Today we opted to go for a long walk that included checking out the shops connected to the subway in the base of our building. Two things grabbed me:
- A fish place with perfect looking oysters.
- A convenience store with an international beer selection that was mind blowing.
Our first destination was the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. Unfortunately it is closed on Mondays. It did look very serene from outside the fence. There was a noticeable cooling effect as we walked along its northern edge. We saw a thorough group of gardeners working on an area just outside the gates and it was inspiring to see them trim the foliage with rakes and small pruning shears.
On our journey to the Harajuku district we ventured into a pachinko parlour. While I only heard one car horn honk today. The din inside this place more than made up for it. Even though they provided an instruction book at the door in several languages, including English, we were pretty clueless as how to play. My Uncle Ed somehow acquired an old pachinko machine in the 1970's and he left it in Peace River for us to play. I enjoyed playing the simple version of the game. There was a lever and you shot small stainless steel balls up to the top of the game where they bounced down through a maze of brass pins. A ball falling into the right slot would reward you with more balls. Modern pachinko looks similar except you dial a knob to determine how forcefully to shoot the ball AND there's a big video slot machine overlay behind the game. I put my money into the machine and I had no clue how to get anything to happen. The attendant was patient and helpful. Eventually some balls fell down into a rack. I had no idea how to start the game. The attendant gently took my hand and helped me turn the dial like I was a small child. Balls started moving and lights started flashing so I was mildly entertained. Julia was playing beside me and ran out of balls in a few minutes. I managed to hit some kind of strange jackpot. Julia returned my tray of balls to the counter and eventually we got our money back plus some candy. Getting the cash required a trip across the street to a tuck shop.
The we headed towards the Harajuku district noted for extreme Japanese teen girl fashion trends.
Julie did not like the teen fashion of Takeshita Street one bit so we continued onwards into the grown up fashion area that had a pretty amazing roster of luxury item stores. We didn't go into very many but I was impressed with the unique architecture of each store.
We took a taxi back to our hotel and regrouped for our big night out at the New York Grill at the top of the Park Hyatt Hotel. I've you've seen the movie, Lost in Translation, you've seen this place. We had a window seat and a lovely meal.