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Girl went to Ginza!

November 19, 2009

Us lucky Keio-ers are now experiencing Mita-sai, a campus holidayslashfestival, which breaks up the term quite nicely if I say so m’self. Out of an array of activities on my to-do list, one was to visit the intimidating neighbourhood of Ginza. Famed for famous labels and its streets flooded with fashionistas, my more alternative Harajuku sense of personal style was somewhat at odds with every other nihonjin. But the beauty of being firstly amongst a group of friends, and secondly gaijin no matter which way you look about it, that desperate need to not stick out is futile, and is wonderfully freeing once you let go.

We left just as the sun was setting; and it does that pretty early on here. Even before the start of winter (and my god it’s gotten miserable – one news report said something like it was the coldest November day in 17 years…). I kinda like it though. Tht night owl in me, y’see. There’s something more magic about nighttime. Especially in Ginza where the roads stretching wide are lined with trees all a-glitter, and the street signs lined with fairy lights, and the behemoth designer buildings look like giant, bizarre snow globes – all glass and changing colours. Louis Vuitton was some kind of trippy, monogrammed rainbow; looking over at Chanel a super-sized Lily Allen peeps back over shades. On a side note, not liking the new Chanel ads at all. That said, freaking loved the RTW Spring 2010 show.

I dragged them all to this Okinawan food store/touristy place/general purveyor of crazy yet overpriced items, that I have fallen in love with. The ground floor (see that, Japan? Ground floor. Because it’s a floor at ground level!) is stocked with foods, some of which I imagine do not in fact originate from islands lying south of honshu

You know you want to buy it. I mean, it’s crazy tasty and everything!

They eat some wierd things in Okinawa…

Speaking of, the basement level of the store provides for the alcoholics and music addicts alike: to the right there is a small aisle bursting with brightly coloured bottles of this-and-that, hidden under the stairs you can preview Okinawa-related albums via old style HMV-esque headphones + cd players. One is shaped like a pineapple. This clearly enchances the listening experience, biensur. Beside the music are, inevitabley, the books. Guides and so on. In the far left corner one can purchase a variety of tourist-y items including shisa (Okinawan lions that come in pairs at the entrance of temples, kind of like guardians), musical instruments, shirts…you get the picture.

Now, at first everything is normal. I’m listening to Ska meets Okinawa cover of J-pop songs (yeah) from a giant pineapple. Then I wander over to see what the guys are so infatuated about over by the booze…

"Habu" eh? Now what could that possibly be?

Well.

It was a dead snake.

A dead, super poisonous snake. In the booze.

WHAT.

I mean, when did somebody come up with the idea “oh let’s go put a whole dead snake in some alcohol” and who told them it sounded good? Oh it was so gross, though! I’m gonna have nightmares for weeks! Its eyes were totally white, and was coiled up with its mouth open in a slightly pissed (no pun intended) manner I imagine most snakes would be when they are about to be pickled in sake or somesuch. Mmm-mmm-mmm…

Moving (swiftly) on, the rest of Ginza was sparkly and gorgeous, although my camera died on our tour around, hence lake of photo love. I did manage to get some shots of the entrance to Ginza’s own Tokyu Hands (another huuuuge Japanese department/chain store. Sells a whole variety of things. Really.) called “Ginza Hands”. Of course, being Ginza, there was none of the bizzare/perchance “crass” items sold in Shibuya or Shinjuku’s Tokyu Hands. Oh nonono. And everything was mysteriously a tad more pricey too, funny that.

Anyway I managed to get my hands on this gorgeous wee camera: the instax mini 7S. It’s somewhat polaroid-y: photos emerge from the top of it right after you take a shot. So looking foward to using it!! Also purchased a smaller toy camera, which I actually had back home but is infinately cheaper to buy here (as is the film). There was other stuff to – I could not resist at the Okinawan place, so I will update in a bit properly on my purchases…

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