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Monday, August 1, 2011


well, we were awakened this morning by our first earthquake! it was a 6.4, and up by the fukushima area, so it wobbled tokyo (it didn't feel like a 6.4 to us since we're 114 miles away). but it was shaking enough to wake us up, and afterwards the building swayed a smidge (as it should. all the buildings here are built to sway because of the earthquakes, so that's normal). it was weird to feel though! we hopped on twitter because all the people i follow in japan immidately were posting things like, "that was a long i'm awake" and, "4am and big shake here" and a reporter living in japan wrote, "millions awakened by big shaking in tokyo". after it woke us up, i told erik, "i bet that was just like a 3 or a 4" so i was surprised it was a 6.4. again, it was NOT in tokyo, we just felt the effects from it, but i still thought it would feel like the effects from a 3 or a 4. i guess i was wrong!

anyway, we got up, had our coffee, some breakfast, and tried these kitkats :)

in japan, they switch out the flavors of kitkats all the time! they don't only have milk chocolate like we do in the states, they have all sorts of cool flavors. this style of marketing always gets customers back in the doors to keep buying the new flavors because they want to see what they're like! also, "kitkat" is very similar to the phrase “kitto katsu” in japanese, which is a common sentiment of good luck. the phrase literally means “you shall surely win!”. because of this, kitkats have become a small good luck charm given out to students taking school entrance exams. the interesting flavors right now in the convenience stores are "strawberry hazelnut" and "cookies and cream", both extremely delicious!

one of the things we wanted to do today was to visit the meiji jingu garden and shrine. here is the entrance:

i absolutely love this place. it's so gorgeous and calming. and right now you can hear the cicadas since it's summer! we really enjoy walking through here. 

one of the exits to it has this parking lot, and i like how the trees were popping out of the concrete haha :)

during our walk in the garden, i found this beetle! isn't he GORGEOUS?! his metallic shell makes him almost look robotic, and my camera doesn't even fully capture it's beauty. i've never seen a bug so colorful! he was stuck on his back, and trying desperately to flip himself over, so i snapped a few shots, and erik grabbed a twig for him to hold onto so he could flip himself over.

still so pretty from this angle too! when we got back to the hotel room later on, we googled him, and found out he is a "Tamamushi" which is in the large family of jewel beetles. 

we walked around some more, and of course went to go see the meiji jingu shrine inside the garden :)

we didn't catch a wedding actually happening this time, but we DID see them taking photos afterwards which was still nice to see!

i absolutely love this tree!!! i remembered it from last time. 

prayer tags

back into the garden to keep walking through, here are some sake barrels! 

when you exit the meiji jingu garen (or, enter it from the other side), you are in harajuku! i love the harajuku train station (on the left). it's so cute!!!

very interesting shirts hahaha...

and an awesome hat >_<

of course you have to walk through takeshita street! 

there is a giant daiso (dollar store) there too!

billions of things inside, but i really liked these bath salts

 back outside onto takeshita street...


so many different outfits

and of course crepes! these ones had a slice of PIE in them!!!

we didn't get one yet, but we for sure will (note: not one with a slice of pie in the center hahaha...a regular one)! they taste SO GOOD.

adorable store with outfits for your animals!!!

fake food in restaurant windows (very popular in japan) to display what they have. looks SO real!


so pretty. i know i've said it a dozen times in the past, but i really do love how green tokyo is for being a huge city with so many alleyways/streets. 

um....what is going on here?!

there were only a few girls we saw who were in costume! and they just were walking by, so i couldn't get the chance to capture them! bummed! and the kids who dress up weren't on the harajuku bridge today either (we even went specifically on a sunday because that is supposed to be when they come out!), but i read a little while ago that this tradition might be fading in harajuku. some people still dress up and walk around, but posing on the bridge seems to be less popular now. 

we continued our walk to shibuya to just explore a bit. but we were thirsty, so we popped into a convenience store and got some mitsuya cider because my friend sara told me about it and how much she loved it (and misses it!). it's really good!!! nice and refreshing. i cannot pinpoint the flavor of it, but it tastes and smells like something i had before. something when i was a kid i think? because when i smelled it and drank it, i thought of my childhood hahaha...but i can't think of where i've had a similar flavor to it before! anyway, it's GOOD!

continuing our walk into shibuya...


this guy was AWESOME. i cannot read his "hat" besides the part where it says 日本 (japan), but he was great. and yes, those are actual goldfish hanging on him!

he posed so i could see his back too. the starbucks employees look concerned hahaha ;)

pretty decorations

and of course...arcades! everywhere!

then we went into this really cool store! but we didnt know it was going to be as cool as it was when we walked in! it's called "the loft" and it's probably a chain, but it had multiple floors of amazingness. 

summer yukata (which is sort of like a kimono, but WAY less bulky and WAY less material, etc., but you still get that pretty "look" of a kimono in summer, while staying cooler). they are commonly worn at matsuri firework festivals.

pretty fancy fans to go with your yukata (more expensive than those typical cheepie ones you see...i saw some that were like $30-$40, and i'm sure there were even fancier ones for more money too!)

on a different floor, there was kitchen stuff, and these pretty interesting trash cans hahaha...

chair socks!

this little guy holds down your instant ramen lid afer you put the water in it :) he changes color too!

adorable mini-grills!

ice cube molds!!! the dinosaur fossil one, and the "gin and TITONIC" ones were especially awesome.

most genius thing ever.

i gotta say, i agree!!! hahaha

haha! cute!

these clocks were pretty great too. the "clock" is only the center part. the outside stuff are decals that you place on your wall! 

oh, of course. "smorkin' labbit". and it's apparently 10". whatever that means!

pringles in japan are sort of like kitkats. they constantly switch up the flavors to be different. here is a really good example hahaha...

love these! wish we could take them home! little shrimps in there.

this sort of freaked me out! i turned around and there was this thing! the kids were flipping out over it, but i thought it was creepy 

after a ton of walking around, we walked back to the hotel to eat lunch and relax a bit. picked up these great bentos (lunch boxes) at "family mart" which is like a 7-11 :D they were amazing! and so cheap. 

after lunch we made the mistake of taking an "hour nap" which turned into a 4 HOUR NAP. whoopsies. still trying to get on a normal, non jet-lagged, sleep cycle. it's 12:55am right now, so we're hoping to go to bed soon and maybe take another 5-6 hour "nap" and maybe that will get us on track. 


  1. So glad you only barely felt the earthquake!! XOXO

  2. Loft is a chain. There was one above the train station when I lived in Kokubunji, about twenty minutes west of Shinjuku on the Chuo line. Green tea flavoured kitkats were my favourite. I didn't find them in many stores, but one of my friends in the US let me try them when she ordered them from Japan. If you find any, you should try them. I'm glad you went to Meiji Jingu. It's one of my favourite places in Tokyo. My first time there, I got to see a wedding, too. It was lovely.
    Glad the earthquake was small, too. Summer seems to be the big time for them, as that's when most of the earthquakes I felt were.
    Good luck getting back on track with the sleeping. It's tough.

  3. The second to last thing looks like a sing-a-majig. We have one. They all make different sounds. Glad the earthquake was small. Pictures look amazing, looks like an amazing experience.

  4. I'm so glad you're sharing all the photos! It's fun seeing the places you've been visiting. :) It looks like you guys are having a great time so far!

    Pretty beetle! The Pringles flavors are hilarious. And there was a really pretty yukata in that shop!

    Good luck getting on a good sleep schedule!

  5. Jacqui your blog is so lovely! Sorry I didn't comment sooner! I am full of major envy and homesickness for Japan now. Please buy lots of wondrous souvenirs!! I bet your bags will be full or i'd offer to send you money if you brought me back some things. Hehe, too fun!

  6. PS I love that tree, too! And Loft! And everything else in this post except Family Mart bentos. ;D

  7. You got Cookies & Cream and Strawberry Hazelnut Kit Kats- that is so awesome. On our last week there, I was on a mission to find flavored kitkats. The “good luck” concept behind the Kit Kats is so neat- never knew this.

    Loved the Meiji Jingu Shrine- It was one of our favorite shrines that we visited. I noticed the balloon artwork to the opening of Takeshita street in Harajuku was different- I guess they must change it up pretty consistently. I love the colors artwork. Hmmm, or maybe we came in a different entrance than you? Not sure… Did you try one of the crepes? We wanted too, but we were so full from lunch (? Not sure, we were always eating…)

    I am glad you got to try Mitsuya cider! I am longing for one…

    BTW- What an awesome Disney store entrance! Love all the fun home accessories at the Loft! Oh, and that red “rabbit” looking thing with the open blue mouths- those characters are called “Sing-a-ma-jogs”. Every time you press its tummy, it sings a note…. So if you keep pressing it, it sings a song. They are actually really funny- our friend’s 2yo daughter got one, and I think Darin plays with it more than she does.

    I hope your sleeping patterns get back to JST

  8. yeah i think they change that balloon artwork often, but i don't know how often. i noticed that too though (how it was different than yours)

    we haven't gotten a crepe yet, but everytime we see them i WANT one so bad! it's just that we usually just ate some other food or something so i'm not very hungry for them when we pass them yet haha...might have to make just a special crepe trip out there ;D