after checking out for a second time, we decided to spend our last free four fours in tokyo exploring other nearby parts of the city - and in the sun for the first time during our trip. we walked though shibuya to yoyogi park, which is much like central park - except you don't really see the city skyline anywhere in the distance. central park always gives you the idea that you're in a park surrounded by a large city. yoyogi was just a large, beautiful, immersive park in a large, beautiful, immersive city. it felt different, although the two parks are very similar.
we left there and visited harajuku, which is the fashion capital district of tokyo. the main road, takeshita street, was lined with teenaged kids making any sort of fashion statement or fitting into some sort of weird subculture, walking past endless clothing stores, from t-shirts to kicks to lingerie. and the t-shirts were hilarious, with strange translations of english sentences, stuff like "i will dream the dream of worlds", whatever that means. of course, nothing fit a godzilla like myself.
we ate some mcdonalds, just because it was there and it felt like something we had to do. i had a double big mac, which is two big macs on top of each other. it was actually quite good. the meat tasted fresher (probably due to japan's higher food standards), though the fries were nowhere near as good (and honestly, who beats mcdonald's fries). however, they had no orange drink. for that, i say "damn you to hell, mcdonald's harajuku!"
from there, we went back to yoyogi park to visit meiji shrine, which was spiritual even for a apathetic like myself. the custom is for people to wash their hands in cold water from a bamboo fountain, then walk in to pray silently and clap their hands once in unison. i didn't feel right to do that, so i just stood back and watched. there were also a bunch of japanese wedding ceremonies being performed in the shrine's outdoor square. simply put, it was just a very serene place to be on a gorgeous day.
also, it was at the shrine, which was full of tourists, where i saw the silliest t-shirt in japan. it said, "i believe in stanford football!" how silly! nobody believes in stanford football.
and with that, we returned to the hotel, and i boarded a shuttle to narita airport and left tokyo behind me.
writers love symmetry, especially when the opening and ending mirror each other exactly. that's why i really didn't get so mad when my trip ended exactly the way it began: with my bag ripping as soon as i walked into the airport. except this time, i bought some sake (the same i drank at shabu shabu) and got some new bags to replace the old ones. fate is my bitch. put that on a t-shirt, tokyo.
i'll have my photos up on the site, once i get the software loaded in.
until then, sayonara.