Steven Gradidge. Hi :)

The Japanese Stereotype Comes Alive

Posted on: March 19, 2012

It’s been a fun filled couples of days. Suggestive advances in Akihabara, beautiful garden scenes in Shinjuku, happy Japanese hippies in Harajuku and rush hour madness in Shibuya. It is quite safe to say that Japan is failing to disappoint thus far.

Akihabara was interesting. Dazzling lights and lots of noise would describe it best. A hunting ground for the manga/bleach enthusiast (which I’m most certainly not and find it impossible to buy into), the area is filled with shops flogging magazines, playing cards and other such memorabilia relating to the cartoon phenomenon. Akihabara is no one trick pony though, no. Other neighbourhood delights include karaoke bars, slot machine centres (pichanto) and hand jobs. Yes you heard me right, hand jobs. None of which I have decided to take up quite yet, if at all. Anyways…

Shinjuku is very similar to Akihabara, just a little less prostitution and a far stronger emphasis on retail which is nice. Lots of lights, lots of shops, lots of noise and lots of fun.

The Christopher Columbus in me helped me find something that had escaped my pre-trip radar; Shinjuku Gyoen – “Mother and Child’s Forest”. Very beautiful. Cherry blossom too *thumbs up*

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Shinjuku station is huge. With 5 lines running through it and you can easily have a fifteen minute walk from one line to the other if you are unfortunate enough (and a wally like me and takes the wrong turn).

Shibuya is a bit of everything. I made sure I was in prime position to witness the marvel that is Shibuya crossing. It’s a pretty site seeing so many people in one place cross such a large junction in such perfect harmony.

The gem of the lot has to be Harajuku though. Sandwiched between Shinjuku and Shibuya along the Yamanote Line, Harajuku is where the Japanese stereotype not only comes to life, but squeals too. Long socks, pig tails, school girl outfits and dodgy make-up means only one thing and that is a honey-pot of squeeling, screeching and ‘tehehe-ing’ Japanese youth… It was a yellow fevered pervert’s wet dream. I should add that the long socks, pig tails et. al were not exclusive to those bearing female genetalia. All very disturbing…

Ironically though in spite of Harajuku offering me the most predisposed image of Japan, it was always the place to offer me a comforting dose of familiarity. Along Takeshita Street there were dozens of black guys working out of shops selling hip-hop clothing and accessories with the backdrop of NWA, Jay Z, G-Unit and the like. All was fine until they spoke Japanese and I can assure you a black guy speaking Japanese is a shock to the system. Not an ‘innit’ in him I thought ;-)

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One more day in Tokyo and then I will be heading South-West for Yokohama.

P.S. My urine smells like pear tea, which is probably the result of me having a pear tea earlier. It smells exactly the same out as it did going in. With this in mind, I intend on implementing an experiment whereby I will be having a different flavour of tea a day and discovering if this is the case for all tea flavour variants. Dou itashimashite!

P.P.S. This is a bottle of sweat I picked up at a 7-11 store. It tasted just as it sounds. Like sweat.

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2 Responses to "The Japanese Stereotype Comes Alive"

Yes, Harajuku is my fave part of Tokyo…has a bit of everything..old & new…businessmen & lolita girls…pricey & cheap stuff…quiet & noisy.

Indeed it does Frances. Going over there again for a visit :) thanks for commenting…

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