Friday, November 04, 2011

Tokyo, Day 4 – Imperial Palace and Shinjuku Shopping



Since we had been to Harajuku the day before, we had decided to visit the Imperial Palace and Gardens on this day. We woke up early, took a shower, dressed up, had breakfast in the restaurant downstairs and then went outside, to take our outfit shots! We took two pictures of each other every morning, to show our outfit (we had more of these ‘everytime’ pictures, like our tickets and drinks).

The Starclip
I wore my new Starclip that day!

Then we went to to Shinjuku Station, via the Marunouchi line to Tokyo Station.

Tickets to Tokyo Station
This time, we took the Tokyo Metro, instead of a JR line. I personally liked the JR tickets and trains better.

The Tokyo Metro is a typical subway: it rides underground. That’s why I liked the JR lines more: they ride above the ground, so you could see more of the city.

Awkward Face in the Subway
Yeah, I wasn’t taking this picture too seriously… XD

When we finally arrived at Tokyo Station, we were a bit confused. The station was under renovation, so everything looked white, sterile and mainly temporarily. Finding the exit we needed was quite hard, but after looking at a map for a while we managed to find the right way. We walked for a while and looked around us. There were high buildings around us everywhere and it was quite different from what we had seen before. We crossed a parking area with at least twenty taxis, waiting for passengers, and we managed to cross the street.

Pedestrians
‘For pedestrians’. Or at least, I think that’s what it said. There was a sign for bicycles next to it.

We kept on walking for a while (after looking at the map, there were no signs to be found). We walked past an avenue of grey buildings and green trees, until we saw something in the distance that looked old and… temple-ish. It turned out to be some kind off watchpost on a long bridge.

Watchpost
I was looking at the fish in the big pond.I believe it were black, and one orange, carps.

We kept on walking (there were signs now) and we ended up on a big crossing where it took a while before the traffic light turned green for us. Then we could finally cross the street, still looking around.

Nijubashi Bridge and Sakuradamon Gate
We had no idea what the things the sign mentioned were, but we were eager to find out!

We kept on walking and walking (we walked a lot, haha) and we suddenly found ourselves on a big square filled with pebbles. When I say big, I mean huge! I can’t really describe it and pictures don’t do it justice, I’m afraid. Just believe me: it was big! After following an asphalt road we ended up at Nijubashi Bridge.

The bridge
The bridge was an absolutely fabulous picture background! Unfortunetaly, this is the closest we could get to it.

The Imperial Palace grounds and certain gardens are rarely open to the public and we knew this, so it wasn’t really a surprise we weren’t allowed any further. Instead, we went to the left, to the Sakuradamon Gate.

The gate
The gate. And a tiny me, looking at a rock which had ‘Sakuradamon Gate’ carved into it.

Behind the gate was a little square with another gate, leading into a street with more buildings. We decided to go back to the Nijubashi bridge, when we were suddenly passed by a group of incredibly fast running men in sport outfits. Apparently this was a popular spot for runners, since we saw a lot of them and a sign in front of the big pebble square that said ‘No running from here’, with a picture of fast running figures.
By the way, did I mention the maps are really weird? We’ve looked at several maps at the Palace and Garden grounds and everytime they like… flipped it over! One map had north on the left, the other had north on the right. It was so hard to understand where you had to go sometimes!

Old vs. New
Although I’m not the kind of person that appreciates a lot of art (thank you, art classes), I loved the whole ‘old versus new’ you saw everywhere.

We went back to the Nijubashi bridge, but first we decided to take some jumping pictures!

Say jump!
Jumping on the pebble square!

Back at the bridge was a big group of people just taking a picture (sitting on benches, it looked so corny in a cute way), but we were too late for a picture. After that, they listened to a tour guide, which we did take a picture of. While they were listening, we took some more jumping pictures (I wonder if they thought I was crazy, haha). We left the bridge and went right this time, where we stumbled on a fence that was being guarded by severe looking Japanese.

No trespassing!
Hey, there are tourists in Tokyo after all!

In case I didn’t mention it yet: during our trip we didn’t seen much Western people. Maybe it wasn’t the right time of year? Or people are still scared to come to Japan? We seriously mentioned it to each other if we saw a Western person! XD
We kept on following the road and canal, looking to the left and seeing old buildings and walls and to the right, seeing new buildings and cars. It was really like… a line between old and new. It was so wonderful!
We arrived at a gate, leading to the Imperial East Gardens, which were open!

Cheese before entering the gardens
In front of the gate to the East Gardens. This really has become one of my favourite pictures of our whole trip!

The entrance to the gardens was free (yay!) and we walked right in to find our first (and only) cherry blossom tree!

Sakura!
Find sakura. Achieved!

We walked past centuries old buildings with descriptions of what they once were, like samurai watchposts. The road went uphill and was quite steep, but the walk was very rewarding. We arrived on another enormous square, but this time it was a combination of grass, paths and trees. It was beautiful! We walked to a small building on the right, with a pond and fountain next to it.

Every rock rocks on its own
My dad has this thing with rocks and stones. He just really likes them. ^^

The building turned out to be a small souvenirshop, but on the outside there was a drinks vending machine! We chose something that looked like green tea, but to be honest: I thought it was horrible. It tasted like fluid sushi (after that, I called it sushi water) and although I like sushi, I didn’t like this at all.
I bought a can of chocolate milk (mainly because it had a name from my country on it, how awesome is that?) and it turned out to be hot! They actually have hot and cold drinks in vending machines!

Chocolate!
Me and the can of awesomeness!

We finished our drink and took some pictures on the grass, including one of a group of Japanese eating lunch on plaids (they looked so funny, all eating together in silence)! There was also a rock in the middle of the field and of course I wanted a picture of my dad with it!

The Thinker
Very loosely based on a famous sculpture. Can you guess which one? ^^

On the picture you can see a stone building in the distance. We walked up to it and climbed the steep road, thinking we would have a great view of the environment. But unfortunetaly, there wasn’t much environment to see through the trees! XD

East Gardens
But we did have a nice view of the park!

My dad offered to take a picture of an old Australian man and his two grandchildren (we also had a lovely talk with them) and we walked down again, passing a music hall and a gate and then following a broad path (where we saw a huge spider, eek!). We didn’t really know if we should leave or not, until we suddenly saw a sign that said something about a special garden, so we decided to follow that path.

The tiny stream
I love pictures like this.

On a small hill, I dug out a stone my dad liked, as a small souvenir from this day. Then we arrived in a beautiful, open garden with a large pond and small bridges!
I walked up to one of them (after trying to save a tiny crab) and we took some pictures.

The Carp Pond
Such a beautiful place…

After that, my dad walked up to me and we looked at the carps in the pond. They had the most beautiful colours of orange and white! Then we walked up to the waterfall, which seemed to make everything perfect: the green trees, the stones, the pond, the sound of falling water… We took the stairs and then stood on a small hill above the waterfall. The view was so great!

Little Tough Girl
This is my ‘Look at me being tough, standing on this edge’-look.

Then I quickly went to the foot of the waterfall again, to take some pictures of my dad who was still up there.

Waterfall
Don’t you just love the scenery?

After taking tons of pictures we finally left the park and the gardens too. On the way to the gardens we had seen a small park with big fountains, so on the way back we stopped there.

The Three Fountains
We had to wait a while before these three fountains were working at the same time. There were more fountains and they were working in different patterns.

We stayed there for quite a while and then took the same way back to the station. On our way, we met a friendly couple from either Taiwan or Thailand (can’t remember which one, sorry). The man spoke better English than most Japanese! XD
This was the only time we made a mistake at a subwaystation. We bought tickets and walked through the gates, but it turned out we had taken the wrong entrance with the wrong lines! After explaining to a staffmember (who spoke perfect English! I was so impressed), he gave us our money back and explained where we had to go.
In the metro, a friendly looking woman sat down across from me and pulled a sketchbook out of her bag. I swear I’m not paranoid, but I just knew she was drawing me! She was constantly looking at me and then scribbling in her notebook. When we arrived at Shinjuku Station and got out, she smiled at me and quickly showed me the drawing. It was very simple, but oh so cute! I quickly snapped a picture of her.
We got out in a different part of Shinjuku Station (I swear, that station is way too big. Everytime we got there we saw new things) and we crossed some small foodshops, including a macaron shop with multicoloured macarons. We decided to buy bagels!

Bagels, no Beans
I love bagels~!

I chose a small case with a white and a chocolate bagel, both with cream cheese and my dad choose two bagels with (probably) some kind of meat on them. We walked to our hotel, bought some coke on the way and had lunch in our room. Then we rested for a while.
In the evening we decided to go on a small shopping tour in Shinjuku and eat something. From our hotel we walked to Marui One, which wasn’t very far. It took us a little while to find the store though, since we saw multiple Maruis, but not One. Finally, I saw a sign a little away from us and we went inside!

Marui One
Shinjuku’s Marui One! I was so excited, since this is like Lolita heaven!

The first shop we bumped into was MILK. I especially loved their heart bags, so cute! Then we took the escalator up and we looked on each floor (they weren’t big, so that didn’t take long). We crossed La Pafait, Emily Temple Cute, Jesus Diamante, Alice and the Pirates, Putumayo and many other amazing shops! I saw so many cute shoes, socks, accessories and people! I swear, it was like heaven~! *dreamy music*
Then, we finally arrived at the seventh floor and I immediately saw Baby, the Stars Shine Bright and I took a quick look (it was a beautiful store, really). Then, I walked into another wonderful piece of Lolita heaven: Angelic Pretty Shinjuku!

Angelic Pretty Shinjuku
This store was even more beautiful and bigger than the one in Harajuku!

I looked around for a bit and saw two rings I wanted: the chocolate-like ‘A’ and ‘P’ in blue. I asked if they happened to have it in pink too, with my tiny knowledge of Japanese, but the answer was no. It didn’t matter, I loved the blue ones too, since they don’t differ much from the pink ones. ^^
I walked and looked around some more, while my dad sat down on a bench (finally, a shop with a bench). I asked the person that spoke some English if they had any bigger blouses. I expected ‘no’, but suddenly a small shopgirl pulled out a lovely white, longsleeved blouse with pink bows on the collar from under the table and showed me the ‘L’ inside! I was so surprised that I asked if I could try it on. They said yes and they showed me the dressing room. I had to take off my shoes, but I did have to keep on my t-shirt, since the shopgirl didn’t close the curtains but helped me put on the blouse. And it fit! Like a freaking glove! I looked at myself and I loved it so much! I kept on turning in front of the mirror and I felt so happy! You can guess what I did after that. ^^
They packed the blouse really nicely and put the two rings in a tiny cute pink wrapper. After the two shopgirls finished, they put my purchases and some papers in a pink Angelic Pretty bag and led me outside of the store, where they thanked me for my purchase, bowed and handed me the bag. In my small knowledge of Japanese, I squeeled: ‘Arigatou gozaimasu! Ureshii desu!’ (‘Thank you so much! I’m so happy!’) and they smiled. ^^ (For the record: be sure to only pay when you’re really done. Going back into the store after they thank you is just… awkward. XD).

Happy Halloween Angelic Pretty!
Happy Halloween, Angelic Pretty!

We left Marui One (I had forgotten about the socks I had wanted to buy) and we followed the people to the big square we had seen the day before, with big tvscreens and a sign that said ‘Studio Alta’. I have no idea what it is, but I’ve seen it on pictures before. ^^
We walked underneath a railroad and crossed another big square, from where I could see the ‘Closet Child’ sign high on a building.

Closet Child, 5th Floor.
Closet Child, 5th floor!

We climbed the smallest stairs ever and walked through a door, arriving in quite a big shop (if you compare it to the small stairs, it certainly was). I must say that this Closet Child had a great atmosphere! There was some kind of Disney music playing and the walls were filled with racks with dresses! I was very surprised and happy to see what Angelic Pretty dresses they had! Fruit Parlor, Sheep Garden, Miracle Candy, Dreamy Dollhouse, Milky-chan the Fawn… I would have loved to buy them all! Unfortunately, the day before had taught me that even partially shirred dresses are a tiny bit out of my league. I tried on the blue Miarcle Candy, but no. God, I feel embarrassed… Let’s just say: I have new and strong motivation for my diet!
Then suddenly, I saw a purple Candy Treat jumperskirt hanging. I always thought the print was cute and I had put it on my wishlist, but it has never been a Dream Dress of mine. I noticed that the back was fully shirred and my dad encouraged me to try it on. My heart raced while I pulled the dress over my head (and my so not-suiting lavender t-shirt). It fit! And it felt wonderful! I stepped out of the dressing room and looked at the mirror, not completely ready for the result. But I was positively surprised! I loved the dress and better: I loved it on me! I twirled around, not believing a dress like this looked good, beautiful, wow on me! I looked at my dad and he said I looked really good, which made it official: I wanted this dress! Maybe buying the lavender Candy Treat barret bow the day before was fate? ^^
I took the dress off again and also chose some accessories: a necklace with a lavender and pink candy attached to it (to match my awesome, amazing, wonderful new dress), an Angelic Pretty lollipop necklace and a Melty Chocolate ring. I left the shop with such a happy feeling! I had bought a dress! Such a wonderful, lovely dress! With every step I loved my dress more and more (I just had to look at it again while writing this, I really love my dress so much)!
We went to MyLord again to go eat something and we went to an egg restaurant my dad wanted to visit. Or at least, that’s what we thought it was. The fake plates of food in the shop window reminded us of egg.
At our table we looked at the menu and quickly found the food we liked most in the shop window.

Dinner
My plate. I swear, this was so delicious!

I took a plate with the big yellow egg thing, something tomato sauce-ish, salad and two fried thingies (wonderful way of describing). My dad ordered a plate with a yellow egg-thing too, salad and a brown sauce with meat. It turned out that the yellow stuff was indeed egg, but it was filled with delicious rice! My fried thingies were probably shrimp and crab. I can still remember the taste of it. So yummy!
After finishing dinner, I took pictures of our food in the shop window, when suddenly the waitress offered to take a pictures of us in front of the restaurant.

Say Eggs!
It was my dad’s idea to go to this restaurant. I’m glad he suggested it!

Then we left MyLord and went back to our hotelroom, where we Skyped, read our books and then went to sleep.

Shopping Bags!
Shopping bags!

Maybe you think that I made an impulse purchase with the blouse, even after being warned, since it was quite expensive (or maybe you don’t, which is good ^^). Well, the blouse was just so beautiful and it made me so happy, I don’t regret it at all!
Oh and you know what? The moment I looked in the mirror at Closet Child, I discovered that one thing about me is perfect for Lolita: my height! The Candy Treat Chest Ribbon jumperskirt reached exactly to my knees! Finally something that is perfect for Lolita about me. ^^

6 comments:

  1. oh wow! the gardens are so beautiful!

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  2. Haha I love that you unexpectedly fell in love with your dress :) I can't wait to see a picture of you wearing it!

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  3. Looks like you had a good time! I seriously want to visit that lolita store. I don't wear loltia, but I do enjoy the style quite a bit! ^^

    I feel like I've been to that palace before, but I can't seem to remember. .__.

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  4. >The station was under renovation, so everything looked white, sterile and mainly temporarily.

    I think it's been that way for about three years now!

    >‘For pedestrians’. Or at least, I think that’s what it said.

    Ahahaha~ ... It actually says STOP.

    >By the way, did I mention the maps are really weird? We’ve looked at several maps at the Palace and Garden grounds and everytime they like… flipped it over!

    The maps are usually oriented in the direction you are facing. It can be pretty confusing though.

    Looks like you had a nice time and saw some cute things!

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  5. @ HeidiFlowers: I was so surprised! They were so gorgeous! ^^

    @ Spiffykidd: haha, me too! ;)

    @ Audrey: It was really wonderful! ^^ I'm glad you like the fashion!
    And you do? O_O Wow, that's so strange and cool!

    @ Ojousama: > Oh my God, really? Then they're really slow! XD
    > Then I bet it means stop for pedestrians! XD
    > It took us several minutes to find out where we had to go!
    <3

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  6. About the blouse- Never feel you have to apologize for treating yourself to the few perfect things that make you happy. I'm so glad you found things you love!

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