Today’s “OMG Why Is She Still Blogging About a Vacation That Ended Over a Month Ago??” recap is going to be about our harried gotta-see-it-all Friday spent in Harajuku (and, later, Shibuya again). I’m sure there are Japanphiles all over the place shaking their heads and saying we did this whole thing wrong but hello, we had like, one day (barely) to be see the sights so fuck off, Fodor’s.
Luckily, Harajuku is within walking distance of Meiji Shrine so we didn’t need to do much other than pray that Henry was looking at his stupid phone map properly.
I had to take a picture of this pedestrian bridge because I was recently complaining to Glenn at work before we left for our trip about how I think pedestrian bridges should be prevalent around downtown Pittsburgh because drivers could give a shit about cross walks (and really, pedestrians could give a shit about cross walks too – Pittsburgh is pretty much the National Capital of Jaywalking). I can’t tell you how many times I have nearly gotten creamed while crossing the street within the lines of a crosswalk WHILE HAVING THE RIGHT OF WAY.
Look how pleasant this area is! Not at all like the super crowded, bustling chaotic image that I think is typically culled when one thinks of Tokyo. I liked it here.
Our first order or business was to find a cafe, but every freaking street we went down was still sleeping, I swear. At 10am! It’s like this in some areas of Seoul too – shit opens so late, even a lot of the cafes, which blows my mind because in my mind: cafes —> coffee —> morning.
But then we found a place called Flipper’s, which makes those fluffy souffle-style pancake ubiquitous in Japan. They were due to open at 11 and it was already 10:45ish at this point because yes we wandered around that long, so we figured we’d just get in line too and have an early lunch while it was right in front of our faces because I can’t tell you how many times we pass something up because it’s “too early for dinner” or “let’s see if we can find a better one” or some other dumb reason and then it’s 3 hours passed our feeding time and we’re about to go full-fledged Donner Party on each other.
The two main catalysts for all vacation verbal abuse: DIRECTION DYSLEXIA and IRREGULAR FEEDINGS.
While we were in line, one of the Flipper’s girls came out and passed around menus, which was super helpful because I like to be prepared. I learned this from my years as a Girls Scout. J/K all I learned from being a Girl Scout was some dumb dance to NKOTB’s “Have a Funky Funky Xmas” and that if your grandfather is a business owner, you can sell more cookies than anyone else in your troop and then all you get is some hardback coffee table book about the National Parks.
Anyway, there were just two groups in front of us in line, but the hostess was super serious about making us wait at the top of the steps while she wandered off to find the proper spot for a family of dumb Americans. When she came back to fetch us, I was confused because literally that whole side of the small restaurant was empty but I appreciated her dedication to her job.
Thank god the service in this place was so friendly (honestly – every person we encountered in Japan was so happy!) because apparently fluffy pancakes TAKE FOREVER TO MAKE. It took us an hour to get ours, I’m not even exaggerating, and we were one of the first people to arrive. It was really excruciating because I could see into the kitchen and every time I thought for sure it was ours, IT NEVER WAS. Chooch and Henry got their pancakes before I did and for some reason, the next melon one that came out of the kitchen went to someone who got there after us! I was D-Y-I-N-G.
But, I’m not going to lie – these motherfuckers were worth the wait. Just maybe something to consider if you’re pressed for time, lol.
My extra melon was even pre-cut for me!
Oh my god, these pancakes were fantastic and so filling.
This is how happy Chooch was:
Actually, it was probably just because he was fucking in love with his new Bambi shirt from DisneySea. (Fine, that shirt actually is pretty cool I guess ugh.)
I was super-excited to take this picture of Henry having to squeeze past these young girls on the way out, hahaha. #HenrytheAmericanCreep
Getting out the sunbrella.
Some cafe was having an Apeach (a/k/a Peachy Boi if you’re Chooch) promotion and Chooch’s shoe made a loud braking screech as he changed directions to burst through the door.
We wouldn’t buy him anything, hahaha.
All of the streets we wandered along were sparsely populated, but then we came upon the famous Takeshita Street, the place that’s quintessential Harajuku in people’s minds, and we were suddenly swept upstream with about 500 other people.
This was definitely my favorite part! It was exciting to see all the crazy street wear shops, like this one…
…Chooch said it wasn’t really his style. :(
Henry wanted to go to Burlesque but was too afraid to say so, so he just waited and went in his dreams.
There were some jpop shops there too but they had kpop posters outside as well so we went in to try and find Taemin stuff since he is popular in Japan but we couldn’t find anything. :( Of course now that I’m not there, some of the YouTubers I follow who live in Tokyo have been posting pictures of random Taemin posters and advertisements that they’ve spotted so that’s REAL COOL GUYS.
Chooch was lured off the main street by the promise of claw machines, and good thing because we wound up finding some cool shit in this alley-like area.
(No, we didn’t get any PornHub shirts.)
But this is where Chooch got his shiba inu shirt and we found Blake some cool One Punch Man shit.
Vending machine action. You will never go thirsty in Japan or Korea, friends.
We went to this one clothing store here and one of the salesgirls was wearing a Steelers shirt, lol. Even though I hate the Steelers, I still got excited because WE ARE FROM PITTSBURGH so that was pretty cool for us to see someone in Japan wearing that shirt and language barrier be damned, I felt compelled (not by the power of Christ though) to tell this girl that WE ARE FROM PITTSBURGH which is not normally something I would brag about or even display any modicum of excitement over.
Anyway, she definitely didn’t know what I was trying to say to her and Chooch tried to shame me over this and I finally screamed, “I DID NOT EMBARRASS MYSELF, OK!!!!” I always forget that my son IS SO PERFECT.
OMG is this what it feels like to be Henry!?
I hate how grown up he looks here but at least it matches his GROWN UP SNARK.
After this, we took the subway to Shibuya….
…and went to this big store called Loft which had an SMTOWN POP-UP on the 6th floor! Henry mumbled, “Did you know about this?” and I fucking swear to god I did not!
I resisted the urge to buy everything, don’t worry. Sigh.
SM was doing a big concert in Tokyo the next night and I definitely had some major internal battles with myself over not planning our Japan mini-trip to include this.
But to be honest, I was really getting homesick…for KOREA. How weird is that? I guess my heart really is in Hanguk.
Ugh, then we had to let Chooch waste more of his college fund.
I excitedly told him that one of the machines had Bambi stuff and he got so HOPEFUL and then saw it was Chip and Dale, lololol. He HATES Chip and Dale so much because from afar, they resemble Bambi so gets his hopes up.
“IT’S ALWAYS CHIP AND DALE!” he’ll cry. “WHY ARE THEY MORE POPULAR THAN BAMBI?”
I mean, Chip and Dale are pretty fucking cool though.
Then we had to get some bubble tea, bitches. I love how popular this black sugar caramel flavor is in Asia right now. It’s so fucking wonderful.
Anyway, by this point, it was time to get that train thing back to the airport. We got convenience store snacks and made fun of Henry because he dropped something as soon as he sat down in his seat and whatever it was rolled away and someone almost tripped and we were like GREAT JOB, YA BIG STOOP.
Calbee was the best Japanese snack I had, I think. I immediately wished I had bought 99 more bags ugh.
You guys, I was sad to leave Japan and hope to go back one day soon so I can REALLY EXPERIENCE IT. But for now, on this trip, I was ready to go back to Korea. I cannot explain how addicted I am to Korea, but I will say that just standing in line to check in at Jeju Air, I felt SO COMFORTABLE and relieved because we were finally surrounded once again by people speaking Korean and how insane is that considering that I barely even have a toddler’s grasp on the language, but hearing it just embraced me in a cloud of familiarity.
I was trying to explain this to Henry the other day by comparing it to me being at a country music festival for an entire day, and then going to Warped Tour the next day. He still didn’t get it.
It’s a language thing, I guess. Hearing Korean does something to my brain, it massages the part that is stressed out and depressed and makes it feel like it’s at a spa.
We barely made it on the last AREX of the night, that’s how stupidly long it took us to get through security at Incheon for some dumb reason and it was really strange being there while it was so quiet and empty! Luckily we didn’t have baggage to claim, though.
It was nearly midnight by the time we got back to Hongdae and we crashed so hard! We had to get up early the next morning because it was our DMZ TOUR DAY!! I can’t wait to start recapping that, it was in my Top Three best days of the whole trip. I’ve been home for over a month now and I still feel like I’m on Cloud Nine every time I think about this trip. It was that good. Even with the Oh Honestly Arguing, lol.