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29 July 2008 @ 03:20 pm
"I can't get the blood out!"  
Okay, not exactly. I got most of it out.

I figured that if 90% of Japanese women under 30 can walk around Tokyo all day in 3 inch+ heels, then I can do it in sandals, right? Well, I can, but not very well--my pants are currently drying after I washed the bloodstains out. :-p

I walked from the hotel, past Shinjuku Station and down into Shinjuku Sanchōme before getting lost for a while. I could see Shinjuku Gyoen, but I couldn't find a way in. I eventually had to turn around and take several other streets before I found the main gate. It was a neat park--not amazing, but pretty. It used to be a private park for the Imperial Family, but after World War II it was opened up to everyone. There were a couple teahouses (closed, sadly) a Japanese garden, and English documentation was available from staffers who weren't actually there. There was an Engrishy wildlife guide which I grabbed, but I didn't see a single animal while I was there.

After leaving through the south gate and following the train tracks, I found the more interesting place of my visit--Meiji Jingu, the shrine to honor the spirits of Emperor Meiji and Empress Shōken. I stood and watched people pray for a bit (and saw some shrine maidens, dressed in red and white with ribbons in their hair), took some pictures of the shring and tried to get into the Iris Garden except there's a 500円 fee to get in and I was too cheap to pay. :-p I now know the proper procedure for visiting a Shinto shrine, though. After wandering around the grounds I took the south exit and was relieved to see that Harajuku train station was right there.

While buying some peach nectar from a vending machine, I heard some people speaking English behind me and turned a bit to listen (you don't realize how much you miss it until 99% of the people around you are speaking a language you can't understand and most of them can't understand you either). They asked me if I spoke English, which I did, and we chatted a bit. They were both from California on vacation. We didn't talk long, though, because I was really tired, my feet were sore and I was right next to the train station. I wanted to wander around Harajuku a bit more, but...ah well. Maybe next time.

I'd like to live in Tokyo, I think--or at least a city with a mass transit system that's as good.
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