Capsule Hotels, Book Fairs, and Festivals -- TOKYO EDITION

Deanna Stout
December 31, 2017

Tokyo, Japan -- the city of high technology and unique trends. But there's more to Tokyo than that. Let me show you what I mean.

 

Capsule hotels are cheap hotels with a large shared space and "capsules" just large enough for one person to sleep in. They average at $40 a night and often come with Japanese style shared bath.

 

After dropping our belongings off at the capsule hotel, my friend and I visited a book fair in Jinbocho, the neighborhood known for its antique bookstores.

A reflection of a man perusing through the shelves of books in an interesting window.

My friend Jill looking through the tall stacks -- she bought a couple books about cats :)

A lady with her hands full of books. Right after I shot this picture, she dropped her books!

 

We also visited Harajuku, but it wasn't as cool as it looked in the pictures I've seen on Instagram. A baby-pink Korean makeup store caught our eyes, though.

 

Tokyo Skytree on a rainy night. 

The view from the top of the Skytree. It's quite a sight -- apparently, going in the daytime is a completely different experience.

 

Ahh, the famous Shibuya Crossing. We crossed it a couple times from different starting points, but the most interesting was to be watching from the window of the Starbucks above it, seeing the pedestrians all start walking at once as soon as the crosswalk signals turn green.

 

Yakitori street, named after the dozens of yakitori (grilled chicken kabobs) vendors.

 

A small restaraunt near Yakitori street. the brown sphere hanging to the left of the doorway is an indication of a spot that makes sake.

 

After walking around a bit more, we stumbled upon a Tori-no-ichi festival, which brings people who wish to pray for abundant harvests or prosperous business in the upcoming year. These tents sell kumade, which are highly decorated bamboo rakes believed to “rake in good fortune” and bring happiness when displayed in their homes or businesses.

As with any festival in Japan, there were many food tents that gave us a combination of delicious aromas.

Many families wait in line for the priest to grant their children a blessing for "shichi-go-san," a ceremony for young girls and boys.

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Tokyo was not exactly what I thought it would be, as there was much more traditional character than I've seen displayed on the media. Regardless, it's a beautiful city and I have yet to explore even half of it! I'll make sure to plan out a full week's worth of exploring next time I go.

Deanna Stout

<p>Kamishibai is a Japanese style of storytelling that was popular in the first half of the 20th century. These narrators were street performers of a sort -- they read a variety of stories from a series of illustrated paper boards, entertaining the commonfolk before the emergence of television. I will blog about my experiences in Japan through a modernized version of kamishibai, telling my stories through a series of photographs and their corresponding narrations that will be similar to a novel.</p>

Destination:
Term:
2017 Fall
Home university:
Knox College
Hometown:
Saint Louis
Major:
International Studies
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