|Catching up on earthquake news|
Our trip to Japan was certainly one to remember. In between feeling like we were starring in our own quest-related video game, and trying to recall any advice we had been given about what to do in the event of an earthquake (none) we had a very cool Far East Adventure. The first district we stayed in was Shibuya, the heart of youth culture in Tokyo, and home to the biggest set of zebra crossings in the world. The polite and organised folk of Tokyo were able to cross multiple crossings with hundreds of people all at once and then stop on a sixpence as the traffic resumes.
|Shibuya crowded crossing|
I can only imagine the carnage if this had been tried in London. It is also the only time I have ever been approached by a complete stranger for a friendly chat while in the middle of a zebra crossing. An old Japanese man wanted to ask where we were from and how we were enjoying our visit.
|Pachinko – here come the balls!|
The towering neon electronic billboards take you back to the opening scenes of Bladerunner. In fact, Ridley Scott, the Director of the film apparently said the opening shots of the movie were Teesside steelworks crossed with downtown Tokyo. The multi storey shop 109 is home to the global heart of Wild Teen Fashion. Floor after floor of gorgeous outfits draw you in and the sales girls apparently are the prettiest youngsters who come in from the surrounding towns and villages to make it big in Japan. They are all so petite and doll like.. I loved all the crazy clothes, shoes and accessories, but while I may have the heart of a wild teen Fashionista, alas I do not have the figure of one.
|Wild Teen fashion|
The shops are full of cool funky things and because the exchange rate is favourable to the pound at the moment, nothing seemed that expensive.
|Got Pandas in my heels tonight|
In fact, I would say Tokyo is a lot cheaper than London – in particular transport, food and even accommodation. You could get a small fresh omelette and some iced tea for less than a fiver down a small side street, just a stone’s throw from buzzing Shibuya. Things get even madder in these parts after dark.
|Wild teen tunes|
The Saturday night after the earthquake we ventured out and were cast into the middle of a wild teen weekend. A vibrant band with a pink haired guitarist impressed me with their joie de vivre, and a little later on some crazy Japanese cartoon motorbikes came roaring through town with their vivid customised colourful chassis.
|Manga boy means business|
We visited the anime/ Manga café in Akihabara and pounded the pavement in Electric City which is a buzzing Mecca for the electronic geeks among us. We zipped across to the rather mad Harajuku street, home of Gwen Stephani’s Harajuku girls and came across a stunning field of Iris in the nearby park. A huge display of wine and straw barrelled sake made for a different art installation nearby.
|Iris eyes are smiling|
We played it safe with the food because I had already disabled myself by overindulging on wine in the Crazy Force café on one particular night, and didn’t want to fall foul of some strange gizzards or raw things and add insult to injury. We ate a lot of noodles, rice and an awful lot of egg sandwiches.
|Keep your face cosy|
Japan is pretty much another planet. The measured manners and ethnically homogeneous culture of the people are such a contrast to the genetic diversity and general chaotic rudeness which characterises Britain today.