From fashion to fandom

Every time it is the same. I sit here late on the final night gazing out of the window at the neon cacophony that is Shinjuku, listening to the last of the trains passing through, sad, not wanting to leave. It is long after midnight, but still there is life on the streets, less now, but still there.

I am not alone in looking out the window. I showed Alex the view of the trains this morning. Tonight, when we returned, he refused to go to bed, just wanted to stand by the window watching the trains run past, singing “woo-woo,” his sound for trains.

When we return home I will have to setup more of the model railway layout for him. We found a couple of model railway hobby shops in Akihabara, the suburb of Tokyo renowned for electronics and comic related goods. The station was well setup for western visitors, an information booth with maps and a helpful, English speaking, staff member on hand to direct visitors to specific shops.

All along the main street stood young girls dressed up as manga versions of themselves, directing locals to manga cafes, video shows and, presumably, related manga paraphernalia shops. None was advertising Tam Tam, up along Chuo-ku, or the other hobby shop on the other side of the street, closer to Akihabara station.

I didn’t buy much. After disassembling the larger layout when we moved house I’m not sure what I need. And they didn’t have models of our latest rail exploits.

Earlier in the day we caught the Yamanote line to Shibuya, a lively youth fashion area. It is also home to Loft, the department store of things. All sorts of things. Travel things. Furniture things. Bathroom things. Kitchen things. Many other things.

We ate an “Italian” lunch of pasta and doria (rice with sauce), Alex enjoying the vegetables and cheesy sauces. The menu divided the pastas into tomato, garlic oil, cream and soy based sauces. 

From Shibuya we continued on the Yamanote line to Akihabara, then took the Chuo line back to Shinjuku. This is a pretty ride alongside a river/canal, alongside which are facilities for boating and even, I think, fishing.

Dinner was okonomiyaki, Osakan cuisine where a pancake of cabbage, egg and meat is cooked on a big pan and covered with Japanese mayonnaise and barbecue sauces. Alex loved this as well.

More shop browsing around Shinjuku station, before a return to the hotel and the struggle to get Alex to bed. We will suffer for this trip, despite saying at the outset that we would stick to his routine.

B was initially against a return to Japan, but now she says that we must return to Tokyo again at the next opportunity. There is so much left to do in Japan.

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