Growing up in Sydney, I've never really experienced a 'city' area that felt like it could never grow old. Six years of teenagerdom spent exploring the nooks and crannies of the key areas of the CBD, traipsing up and down the George St spine and meandering into ribs and vertebrae streets extending from there.
It's a city that promises a healthy variety of attractions but one that you could see yourself working patiently towards the end of - and perhaps we've already began to plateau, if the conversations of 'What do you want to do in the city?' and 'I dunno' are anything to go by.
In other words, it is not a city of fast-paced change, at least to a teenager, and very much nothing near the speed of Asia. Shibuya, Harajuku and Omotesando are your 'never sleeping cities', covered in a layer of sparkling billboards and filled with the constantly shifting energy that can only come from being in and amongst a sea of people.
We returned to Shibuya and Harajuku at least three times during our trip - it was the closest 'main' area in Tokyo to where we were living. On one visit, due to a delayed friend, I ended up spending a good two hours waiting at the Shibuya crossing, armed with my camera and people watching.
*I was in a public space when taking these photographs and do not intend to publish these for commercial use. If you have a problem with any of these photographs, please let me know and I will take them down within reason
Harajuku and Omotesando is a slightly leafier Shibuya. The tradition for us was to start down Takeshita-dori and the four-storey Daiso standing near its entrance, then work our way down to Meiji-jingumae road and go down towards Omotesando.
I particularly recommend Harajuku/Cat street, but perhaps for those with a slightly higher budget or looking to invest in brand names like Nadia. Omotesando was beautiful (and expensive looking) - all tree-lined walkways and luxury stores with glittering glass-fronted display windows. Pretty much out of our price range but a lovely place to walk.
Go down the street next to Kiddyland, lined with trees and you're eventually reach a secondhand store opposite the DKNY with a huge glass front.
It's a great place if you have the budget to splurge on secondhand Commes des Garçons, Kenzo or Ann Demeulemeester and a huge range of Japanese brands. Some looked like a great steal and I would have loved to explore it more thoroughly but we didn't have a lot of time to linger in that area ):
I decided to brave the ridiculous line at ASOKO (with V patiently waiting with me) and waited more than an hour to get inside so please indulge me in somewhat excessive vitriol.
I was very disappointed by ASOKO. There are a few innovative products like their all-purpose Stanley knives, foldable bicycles, foldable laundry basket and a few cute stationery pieces (highlights in the shape of needles) but the main reason why all the things are so cheap is that many things looked like dollar-store imports. All 'Made in China', not even packaged to disguise the fact that they're flimsy and not very high quality (which is not to say that China is incapable of producing good quality goods - but these were of the dollar store standard, complete with badly designed product packaging).
Hugely disappointing and honestly not worth the wait for the few small things you may find in there.What ASOKO is, however, is an absolutely ingenious marketing juggernaut to be able to garner so much customer attention, despite how bad their goods are. The presentation of the store is gorgeous. The products are not.
But, for now, there are a great number of other, good quality stores to offset the occasional bad experience in this shopper central
(☞ﾟ∀ﾟ)☞ JAPAN 2013 MASTERPOST