Day 3

Yesterday’s urban hike proved more painful than imagined. I’m concerned…these same feet have to still carry this aging body up Fuji-san. I switch to flip-flops, sincerely hoping blisters will heal. Of course, the café latte, cinnamon apple fritter and the strange pastry-wrapped hot dog, like an upscale corn dog, help to promote a general feeling of wellness.

I head to a station I’ve never been too, somewhere off Shinjuku, for lunch at a place of my friend’s choosing. Pasta, she says…it’s her favorite. It’s fine, and a healthy dose of oregano goes a long way. We finalize the plans for tomorrow’s beach outing, yet a New Thing to see while here.

The way back finds me wandering a huge underground passage, mysteriously desolate and sparsely populated. It’s unsettling…Tokyo’s teeming mass of people have to be somewhere, but apparently not here. I also find it uniquely ironic, in the way a dreary, abandoned elementary school room would be like.

Emerging from my subterranean lair, I find the masses that were missing earlier. Apparently TBS has some sort of festival/carnival/activity/outdoor event/ hit parade outside their building, where kids can enjoy fun things to do and parents can enjoy cold Asahi’s to drink. I don’t indulge, though the heat does beckon me to…

Time for the fancy streets of Omotesando to kick-start the night. No crowds – good. Trees predictably look fuller as compared to my spring visit last time.. Omotesando Hills, with it’s unique interior design, is still….uhhh…unique. I’m craving something new – inspiring. Continue walking and I decide to explore a couple of side streets. Lo and behold, a TGIF passes me by. While in itself nothing special, dusty memories clear up and I have a strong feeling…yup – we celebrated William’s 2nd birthday there! Wow – blast from the past. Another new thing – Kiddyland is being remodeled.  Guess gifts are going to have to come from somewhere different…

Ok now…how to get to Harajuku from here? I tug at some more dusty memories, from a couple years ago….go to Condomania, then hang right. Walk ‘til you hit Takeshita-dori, then left. Old dog still has it!

While it’s a nice walk, I still have the nagging feeling I’m checking off boxes on a list of places to visit. I’m exploring, but the results are not satisfactory. I don’t even feel like going into the DAISO store for a dime bag of dried fish.

Shibuya onward…wait for me, Hachiko….

Oh he’s waiting all right, along with 50 of his favorite cigarette smokers. I’m not phased by it – it’s just something a Californian doesn’t see. I circle around to try to get a shot…try…try…try…

The Crossing is less…lit – again another sign of the times. Shibuya 109 is not the icon I remember. Streets are expectedly crowded.  My mind races for possible angles and shots as the tripod slung over the shoulder bounces off people. I wander and find the largest traffic cones known to man. Returning to The Crossing, I capture some things, but now the funk is on.

This isn’t working.

It’s not happening.

I’m going to have to change some things.