Here are some pictures from Shimokitazawa (where I bought the sweatshirt and shoes in the most recent blog entry). I spent a few hours just walking around and exploring the area. I really liked it. It feels laid back and has a lot of really interesting shops – especially second-hand stores.
Starbucks: ok, I feel the need to explain myself about this one, because (in seattle at least) I don’t particularly like Starbucks. Not that I have A LOT against it, I would just prefer to go to an independent shop or roaster – I think the coffee and the vibe are usually better at those places – and I LOVE going out for coffee in Seattle. But doing so is very different in Japan. Of course there are cool, off-beat looking cafes here and there, but in Japan, the language and mannerisms used with customers are extremely polite (now matter how cool the place looks), which to me gives the atmosphere a sort of sterile or cold feeling. Get what I’m saying? Starbucks (and Tully’s), however, aside from the language, recreate EXACTLY the atmosphere at a starbucks in Seattle (well, I guess, anywhere in the world – ah globalization there you are again!). So the place has become, rather unexpectedly, my cure for homesickness. It’s the only place I’ve been to in Japan (other than costco, I guess!) that really feels like America. haha. go figure. So I sat in there for a while and read a couple of short stories by Murakami. It was a bit lonely but maybe one of the best days I have had in Japan. : )