It is day 2 and a Sunday. We originally planned on starting the day early in the morning by going to the famous fish market. Our chef son told us not to miss it; however, it is closed on Sunday so we had to make other plans. We realized that the Takashimaya Dept. store was located in the Shinjuku district. Deb has visited the one in NYC and we knew this one also included a DIY section. It turned out to be a nine story feast for the eyes and stomach. It was time for lunch.
One entire floor of the main department store is devoted to restaurants of all kinds. We opted for tempura and quickly realized we were at a disadvantage as much of the menu was in Japanese and as the courses were served (prawns, fish, sea water eels and accompanying side dishes), we were at a loss as to what to do with many of the dishes. A very nice young lady sitting next to us was very helpful in explaining what the dishes were and what to pair with each. No silverware was provided so we decided it was a good time to embrace the local customs and start eating with chopsticks. By the end of the trip we were were quite comfortable with them and able to eat just about anything. Everything was delicious and we enjoyed watching the cooks prepare all the dishes. We were very fortunate to have been seated at the counter.
Debbie quickly noticed the Shibori stitched and dyed coaster at the counter. We looked around the department store rather briefly and then headed to the diy section. Debbie located the floor with the plexiglass cut outs not available at home that she wanted for the Shibori dyeing. After loading up with what we thought should fit in our luggage it was off to see what else we could discover. Another note about the Japanese concept of service: every department in the store had at least two clerks, so that no customer ever had to look for or wait for someone to help them. We noticed this same level of service at the Lumine Department store we visited later that day (this may be the case because the stores were upscale, but it was still nice to observe). Debbie's pre-trip research showed that the National Gardens are in the Shinjuku district and that the cherry blossoms were in bloom so we headed out for what we thought would be a short walk to the gardens.
On our rather long walk to find the entrance to the gardens we noticed how clean this large city (13.5 million people) and Debbie saw this artistic manhole cover. Later we realized this was standard for all districts in Japan. Art is indeed wherever you look for it.
So are certain businesses. You can't escape them.
As we were nearing what turned out to be the backside of the park, we noticed the collection of brooms and dustpans hung on the fence so that locals could keep their sidewalks cleaned off. We were impressed with how clean the city is.
In the middle of this large city we finally located one of the entrances to the park and we entered another world.
We took too many pictures to post here but the next blog posting will include a few more, including some of the Shinto temple.
Until next time, or dewa, mata ne Debbie and David