Senior Project - Beyond Pacific
Day 10 in Tokyo
We spent our last day in Japan touring around modern commercial districts in Tokyo. We arrived at our first stop in the popular shopping district of Shibuya around late morning. Unlike Ginza, Shibuya is more focused at targeting young people, so the streets were lined with more affordable fashion stores, food shops, and cafés. We particularly visited a cat café, Mocha. A cat café is exactly what it sounds like: a themed café with cats that visitors can play with. While cat cafés are now more common in places, they are especially popular in Japan, because many residents live in small apartments that do not make room for pets. Instead, they often come to cat cafés to experience some furry companions.
(Cat Cafe in Shibuya)
We took a subway ride to Harajuku, another popular shopping district that are regarded as the center of youth fashion and culture in Japan. As the weather was hot outside, we spent more time inside a large department store than out visiting the small boutiques Harajuku is known for. For lunch, we grabbed some delicious pancakes. Yes, Japanese pancakes are different from the ones in America. Japanese-style pancakes are fluffier in texture and has a stronger egg taste.
(Tokyu Plaza in Harajuku District)
(Japanese-style fluffy pancakes)
(Kiddy Land's Rilakkuma Store in Harajuku)
Next, we visited the Shinjuku district, an administrative center as well as a commercial hub. In my limited experience, I felt it was quite similar to Harajuku and Shibuya. However, in Shinjuku, we decided to try one of our boldest ideas on the list yet: maid café.
(Maidreamin, a Maid Cafe in Shinjuku)
Maid café is another type of themed eatery: it is a type of cosplay restaurant where waitresses (no waiters) dress up as maids and serve the visitors as they were masters or mistresses. The waitresses were overenthusiastic, embodying the very definition of the Japanese “kawaii” or cuteness. At first, I felt quite uncomfortable in the presence of such intense in-character performance and exuberant environment, but I slowly eased in. I even grooved a bit to the upbeat music they played over the speakers. At the end of the day, it was all about the hospitality.
(We were not allowed to take pictures of the maids or the cafe, so I took a picture of my meal instead)
(Shinjuku at night)
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