Saturday, July 25, 2015

Japan 2015 Day 17: Shopping

Woke up to another hot, hazy day in Shinjuku. Today is our second-to-last full day in Japan, & since we had traveled to Kyoto earlier int he trip, we didn't do much shopping before. It didn't make sense to haul it all to Kyoto & back. Tomorrow we get to see Momo, Hiroko, & the kids again, so today was shopping day.

After a yummy breakfast of baked goods, Charlie & I headed across the train tracks to Takashimaya Times Square.

We'd decided to do some gift shopping, for friends at home, together, buy some lunch, & then he'd head back while I continued shopping. The building in the photo, known as Takashimaya Times Square, is made up of the Takashimaya department store on the left, Tokyu Hands, which is different from the department store in that it has a whole floor of stationary goods, a floor of games & novelties, a floor of do-it-yourself supplies, and so on. On the 11th floor of Takashimaya is Yuzawaya, which I've described before to be kind of like JoAnn Fabrics, only on steroids. Then the top 2 levels are restaurants & the 2 basement levels are food.

Charlie & I did our collective shopping, & then I spent about an hour & a half more looking for prezzies & stocking up on stationary supplies, like the mechanical pencils that Brendan loves & the stickers & post-it note pads that you can only find in Japan. So cute!!! And then I hit Yuzawaya- usually I find really good crochet books & ignore the yarn, much of which is similar to what I can find in the US. This time it was the reverse. I've been having trouble finding good self-striping sock wool & Yuzawaya had loads. As for books, not so much- but that's okay. Wool is lighter & squishable, so better for hauling home. Here's the morning haul (no spoilers :)

I headed home & was very ready for lunch when I got there. I had found a really lovely bento for lunch when we shopped this morning, & I wish I'd taken a photo but I was so hungry I forgot!

I did take a photo of the omamori & straps I've collected on the trip. Omamori are some of my favourite things to find in Japan. They are beautiful good luck charms that you can buy at shrines & temples, & they work by either deflecting bad luck, or attracting a particular kind of luck to you. They are gorgeous, varied, & usually have small bells on them that make a beautiful chiming sound. They are my favouite souvenirs :)

From left-right: A tiny scented bag with 2 rabbits from the Chion-in temple in Kyoto, a brocade omamori from the Todai-ji in Nara, Minnie & Mickey Mouse wearing yukata from Disneyland, a metal omamori showing painted detailing from the Byoudou-in temple in Uji, the Buddha's feet from the Mimuroto-ji in Uji, and a sheaf of rice made from beautiful cords from Fushimi Inari Taisha in Kyoto.

After lunch Charlie, Brendan, & I went out to get our train tickets for the Narita express train, back to Narita airport on Monday. Afterward, we found the Muji store located in the Lumine 2 department store next to Shinjuku station. Muji is a concept store that we really like. They carry things that are simple, with minimal packaging, often made from recycled materials. They have a line of foods that include simple-to-make puddings, which we really like. I want a Muji store in the US!! MOMA in NYC carries Muji goods in the catalogue, but not the food items :(

They only had mango puddings, so we got a few, then we found some interesting curry mixes that I can make with Quorn tenders & such, so we got some to try. On the way home we picked up some more mango sodas from the nearby specialty shop that sells them, & I hit Starbucks for a soy matcha frappuchino- yum! When we got back to our room they were cleaning, so we sat in the lobby & the guys played cards.

This is the view from the window behind Charlie & Brendan. You can see the train tracks between our hotel & Takashimaya Times Square. 
We had brought some dvd's to watch during down time, so we watched the Incredibles & I knitted on on a mystery adventure knit project from Ravelry. Charlie & I went back to our soba place across the way, in Takashimaya, because I wanted to have the mochi nabe with soba noodles again. Brendan stayed home & had sushi, because he wanted to work on a D&D encounter for Charlie & I to play this evening. We did a bit more gift shopping on the way back to the hotel. I got a picture of the sun as it was setting.

We played D&D for a couple hours, practising with our new characters. Brendan had DM'ed an intergenerational D&D group from the time he was in middle-school until this past year using 4.0 rules. He discovered 5.0 at college this past semester & decided to create a whole new game for our group. So he's spent the summer world-building & doing character creation with everyone who wants to continue in the group, about 5 or 6 of us. He's been doing small encounters with Charlie & me to help us get used to our characters' abilities. We were a bit distracted by 2 different sets of fireworks that we could see from our 24th floor window- beautiful!

Tomorrow we get to see the kids again! A great way to spend our last day in Japan!

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