Day 14 of Japan: Tsukiji and Harajuku

Our second to last day in Japan was a lazy return to some of our favorite spots in Tokyo. Write-up is now complete!

With our two days left in Tokyo and having seen pretty much all we wanted to see, we decided we had to go to the Tsukiji fish market at least one more time. So, we got up early and caught the subway to the market — since it was about 8AM, we hit rush hour subway traffic, which is quite an amazing thing to see in itself. The first 8 pictures of today feature the rush-hour traffic, with the last picture showing Teisha captured. It’s quite the experience — not only are you shoved in far beyond “American” standards of capacity, having most of your body crammed up against a stranger, but the entire car is dead silent too. Nobody talks. Cell phone use on subways is prohibited — everybody text messages. When we whispered it felt like we were being too loud on this packed car. One of the most amazing sites we saw before was the exiting and merging of traffic from one of these packed subways — lots of people got off at one stop and walked up stairs to the exit, but as you walked up the space narrowed until you had to go single-file. Everyone merged beautifully, without a sound or a misplaced-step or any pushing or shoving — I feel like this couldn’t happen in the U.S.

The next 17 pictures are of the Tsukiji fish market. (We went here once before on day 4.) Andrew had the best ramen he’d ever had at a shop in the market (though no fish in his soup). Lots of imports from China, handicrafts and animals. Teisha enjoyed some unagi (eel) skewers, so fresh!

We then caught the subway to a popular shopping area we’d kind of failed to find before — Harajuku, which is near Yoyogi Park. The 12 pictures after the stained-glass window (an ad in the subway) are of this area. Teisha found a nice shirt top (that looks like a short dress really) in one of the shops. The streets were filled with high school-aged girls, and we felt a bit old and out of place. At one point when Andrew was alone for a few minutes while Teisha explored a shop, Andrew received many dirty looks from different girls! He was grateful to have Teisha return and save him. Side note: Poodles are probably the most popular dog we saw in Japan, either that or dachshunds.

The real reason we came to this shopping area was to find Kiddyland, a 7-some story high toy store. Apparently we’d done just about everything else that the Lonely Planet guide to Japan recommended for kids, so we figured we’d like this too! And we did. There were toys from electronic/science gadgets, Studio Ghibli anime movies, a whole floor devoted to Snoopy, and a whole floor devoted to anime-related stuff. The pictures start with the giant capybara stuffed animals (yes, those are capybaras — known as “kapibarasan”!) and end at Teisha holding a snail anatomy model. Teisha had to go back later and buy an animal cell model, full with removable organelles, which now lives on her desk in her lab.

After the shot of the “Condomania” store is one of the beginning of the main shopping street in Harajuku — we went back once more for a tasty crepe, and had to get this shot to capture the teen-packedness.

Since we were pretty close, we went over to Yoyogi park and people/dog-watched for a while. There were some guys really good with a basketball showing off, and a hip raver dancer came in with his boom box and tried to get some attention, but there just weren’t really many people there. Then it started to sprinkle and it really emptied out. As a side note, most benches (when they exist in Tokyo) have a middle bar to prevent (homeless) people from sleeping on them, though, as you can see in one picture, it’s not too much of a deterrent. On the way to the subway station, Teisha discovered another dog/cat store, where they were sold for no less than $2000 each…!

We took the subway back to Akihabara because… why not? We love Akihabara. Teisha found another claw machine arcade that had a game where you could win staghorn beetles — actual live ones! Unfortunately Andrew had to remind Teisha of Customs, and she didn’t try to win one.

For dinner, we headed to a big building that is several stories high and 90% restaurants in Akihabara. It was cute in that it had rows of manga on the walls (not that we could read any of it). It also had pictures of what must have been California beaches and they were playing out-of-date American rap music (quite the combo overall). Andrew again got a curry dish with a hamburger patty and Teisha had a shrimp pasta dish.

We wandered around Akihabara some more after dinner. Andrew had to take a picture of a closet of costumes that girls can try on and take pictures of themselves in. It’s very popular to have places where people just come in to have casual pictures of themselves taken… we don’t quite get it.

Lastly, Teisha bought a little plastic sushi toy — very realistic, right down to the detail on the fish and the sushi conveyor belt movement!


2 Responses to “Day 14 of Japan: Tsukiji and Harajuku”

Woah, I go away for a couple days and come back to a huge backlog of Japan pictures to go through. This is gonna be an unproductive day at work, I’ll tell you that right now…

Colin - June 2nd, 2009 at 7:05 am

[…] Day 14 of Japan: Tsukiji and Harajuku […]

Paradoxdruid’s Rants » Blog Archive » The Great Japan Honeymoon Summary Mega-Post - June 5th, 2009 at 10:37 pm

Leave a Response (or trackback on your own site)

You must be logged in to post a comment.


Welcome to Paradoxdruid's Rants... a community based webblog. Feel free to snag an account and post.

Contributors Login


My first first-author paper!

Just wanted to share that my first first-author paper is now online! In the journal Stem Cells and Development, here’s my paper on “Roles of Integrins in Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Growth on Matrigel and Vitronectin.”

The Future of Scientific Publishing

Just read a fascinating (if lengthy) essay on disruptive technology and the future of scientific publishing. Well worth the read!


Just wanted to share’s Visual Guide to Deflation, which is quite explanatory.

All Things Stem Cell

Hey all Paradoxdruid readers! I recently started up a blog on stem cells that I’d love you all to take a look at:

Barely Literate: The Fermata

I participated in another Barely literate book review podcast, this time on Nicholson Baker’s “The Fermata”. Give it a listen!

Time for Change

Obama has outlined a strategy for America, in great depth. Read all about!

Free Rice

Okay, I’ll admit that it’s entirely possible that I am the last person to learn about this website*, but it’s really addictive. 


Site best viewed in Mozilla Firefox. Site CSS template by Andrea Pitschmann. Banner photo by photocase.