day 5 – temple university, shibuya, and lalaport pt. 2

We finally slept in, though going to bed at nearly 1am meant that did less.  But definitely the most rested I’ve felt the whole trip so far.  We didn’t leave for the station until after 10 and made our usual stop at Oven Fresh Kitchen before heading out.  We were headed to my former school, Temple University.

The subway station wasn’t far and as we traveled, I started to recognize landmarks.  Once we reached the school, I decided we should try and find the cafeteria, where I spent a lot of my time.  It wasn’t listed on the floor guide, so we just went up the elevator and got off.  We happened to go to the right floor and I saw the computer lab, where I also spent a lot of time as an art major.  The floor map did have the cafeteria listed and we made our way down the hall.  I didn’t want to take any pictures since there were quite a few people enjoying a break.  We went out to the balcony smoking area, and I couldn’t believe I was back.

i remember standing at this station a lot

We didn’t linger long, as there isn’t a lot to see besides the classrooms.  Once outside we decided to head to Shibuya, which was just a few stops away.  Shibuya crossing is famous for being very crowded.  At specific times, they stop all cars from crossing and people come from all directions, weaving here and there to reach their destination.  It’s quite crazy.  Before going through the crossing, we visited the famous Hachiko statue.

Nick and his best friend Hachiko

Nick wanted to go to Tokyu Hands, self described as a “one stop shop.”  I had been to Tokyu Hands stores before, but I think the Shibuya location is the largest one.  This one takes a little getting used to.  There are three sections per floor, but each floor isn’t level with each other, it was more like a spiral, that you could either travel up or down to see each section.  Each of the 7 floors had three distinct sections.  We eventually ended up at the cafe on the 7th floor.  Tokyu Hands was the only thing we visited in Shibuya, but I was okay with that as it was another rainy day.  Also, it’s like a mall unto itself, so it didn’t feel like a limited experience.

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Here are the items I got at Tokyu Hands:

paper hedgehog and cat, and coin purse

Walking quickly to the station to escape the rain, we headed to another Lalaport, this time to the one our host had told us about at Tachikawa Tachihi.  This one was smaller, but no less impressive.  Nick commented on how open the storefronts were and I again noticed how they really gave you a sense of what was inside without having to enter.  We wondered if they were so open because there isn’t a fear of theft.

we think they were going for “Mystery Woman”

We had dinner at a traditional but modern Japanese restaurant.  I got the curry soba, which came with a bib because of the high possibility of splashing from the slurping.  In Japan, it is polite and expected that you will slurp your noodles.  It shows how much you’re enjoying your meal.  I appreciate this as trying to not slurp can be a challenge.  We also got a wonderful dessert:


In the hour we had left after dinner, we managed to explore the whole mall, which I was personally impressed by.  We even found a Studio Ghibli store.  We didn’t purchase anything, but enjoyed the many adorable memorabilia from the movies.

Studio Ghibli store

Calcifer from Howl’s Moving Castle

We headed back home, but not before stopping at Seiyu to get a few supplies.  Jason had started coming down with something and wanted some hot tea for his throat.  He decided he probably wouldn’t be coming out with us the next day as he wanted to rest for our two days with my host family.

We made it back after 11 and then stayed up for a little longer before going to bed.

nature is the best physician