Friday, November 2, 2007

Tokyo Drift - Episode 2

Day #3
23rd Nov 06

Early in the morning, we went down to have our Western breakfast (What? Western breakfast in Japan?). Our first stop for today will be the Imperial Palace, the residence of the Japan Imperial family. The palace has a nice park, with well trimmed trees and benches lining neatly along the pathway.

Japan had just celebrated the birth of a baby boy, Prince Hisahito, to the hierarchy. Ending the succession crisis in Japan. Otherwise, major laws need to be changed to allow a female to ascend the Imperial throne. Congrats! But then again, I thought it would be cool if a female heads the Chrysanthemum throne.

Back to the chilly morning. We walked across the streets just to take a peek at the exterior of the Imperial palace. The palace will only be opened to the public twice a year: 2nd of January and December 23rd (The Emperor’s birthday).

Nevertheless, we get to see the Meganebashi Bridge (Eyeglass Bridge). See below and a couple of guards guarding the palace’s entrance. That’s the furthest we could get to the Japanese Imperial family. I wonder if they are bored of life as they are always locked up in the palace ground and did not get a chance to go out and have fun in the beach or hang out with friends? Oh well, people have to give and take. I bet Pricess Sayako has found a new freedom after marrying a commoner. But too bad she lost her royal status. I’d rather choose the former as well if I were her.

Our next stop – Ginza

Ginza, derived its name from metal. Or more precisely, silver coin mint. This is the most famous shopping, dining and entertainment district. One square meter of land in the district's center is worth more than ten million yen (more than 100,000 US dollars), making it one of the most expensive real estate in Japan. If you walk along the street, you will see branded boutiques: Prada, Burberry, Cartier, Elle and electronic brands such as Apple and Sony.

Philip told us to look out for the Burberry (Blue label) – the more affordable version of Burberry range as it was made in Japan. He told us, a pair of sisters once bought a dozen Blue label bags and have them sold back in their country. Philip also told us to visit the 3-storey Hakuhinkan toy park. We were dropped off at Ginza for only a shameful 1 hour to spend. We scurried to the fanciful Hakuhinkan toy park. It’s every child’s dream to live in here. Boasting ranges of toys you can ever imagine. The 1st floor displays miscellaneous toys which mostly suits the older kids or adults young at heart. The 2nd floor contains stuffed toys and dolls which I presumed are made just for the little girls. We took the tiny lift up to the 3rd floor and no prizes to guess it right. This floor holds all the boy’s toys; automobiles, robots, video games. You name it and they have it.

Time is ticking. We hurried next door to Burberry. High class as the name, we ventured around the building. Admiring the classy design and holding our breath not to squirm at the price tags. We finally found the Burberry Blue label at the ground floor. I flipped over the price tag and was hey, they still cost a bomb. A small bag costs RM thousand. Let’s get outta here Su. Unfortunately, this is not the place for us yet! Ha! Ha!

Briefly after we walked out, a Japanese couple walked out of the Burberry store. The sales assistant held the door for them and bowed continuously (eyes looking on the ground) until the couple disappeared into another store. I was wondering, what’s up? Then I saw the lady holding a large Burberry bag. Hmm…rich people. I bet the Sales assistant must have received a big tip!
Still shocked by the price tags, we were a bit hesitant to step into the sophisticatedly decorated shops. As we walked on by, we bumped into another 2 girls from our tour holding shopping bags from UniQuo. I recalled earlier Phillip mentioned about this shop. Glancing at our watches, Su and I decided to make our final stop at UniQuo.

Unlike other shops, this one was crowded with people. When a shop is crowded with people, there is one thing for sure. Cheap sale!
However, there was no cheap sale around here. But the prices for items were really affordable. A quick conversion showed that the items here were priced similarly with the ones back at home. Su and I were pinching ourselves to have missed this shop earlier. We had just a couple of minutes to go. Then I saw a really cute, fluffy pink sweater. Affordably priced at 2,100 Yen, I could not bear to put it down. There is a huge array of jeans around but sad to say, we had to leave.

I quickly paid for my stuff. As time is running out, Su and I looked at each other.
“Are you ready?” Su asked.“OK!”

Off we ran like two crazy maniacs along the high-class street of Ginza. Shopping bags swung in every direction. Views of high-class people nonchalantly walking along the street swept past us. We couldn’t care less though. We were late and we would not even see them again. Further to this, we don’t have a big Malaysian flag sticking from our hands. So…it’s all right.

We thought we were late again as Philip was standing at the end of the street waiting. Thank God, our tour assistant has yet to show up. Taking advantage of the time, we hopped across the street to take a picture with the Toypark’s mascot. The green, cute and beaky thing. I could not make out what the creature is but it sure looks cute. After posing with the mascot, the tour assistant just showed up. Hehe…time to mock someone. Guess we were still not too happy with our first experience with her in the airport.

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