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I did a ton of stuff this weekend, so I’m splitting it into two entries. I was going to go to the Maebashi Matsuri Friday night, but it turns out it was actually Saturday night, so I didn’t end up going. Instead, on Saturday I went to Tokyo!

It was the first time for me to ride the train all the way there, so I had to get help from the station master to figure out my ticket and which trains to take. He was SUPER nice and found me a few maps of Tokyo and the trains, and managed to explain how my cool discount ticket worked, so I was really grateful for his help not only in getting to Tokyo, but also to getting around once I got there!

The train takes around 2 hours… 15 minutes from Fujioka to Takasaki, then about 1 1/2 from Takasaki to Ueno station in Tokyo. Unfortunately, overall with waiting for the train and catching the right ones, it takes around 3. Long time to sit and wait, so I brought a book to study while I waited. Got to Ueno station, then changed trains for the Yamanote line that circles Tokyo to get to Harajuku, where I was meeting Rachel. Unfortunately, her phone wasn’t working since she was leaving soon, so I kept calling and calling and never reaching anyone. Luckily, we found each other since Harajuku’s station is small… the two gaijin girls glancing at their phones every few seconds XD; It worked out.

We grabbed a bite to eat in Harajuku, then went around to explore a bit. Unfortunately, Harajuku on the weekends is crowded, so I got tired of it quickly and didn’t bother to do much shopping.

Harajuku’s famous street!

From there, we went to the other side of the station to check out the Meiji Jungu Shrine, which is in a pretty park that almost blots out the sounds of the city.

Washing our hands before entering

The grounds themselves

A wedding being held at the shrine

Thousands of messages in many different languages

One last shot of the interior

I was a little leery of taking pics of the wedding procession, since it seemed a bit rude… not that that stopped anyone else around there. Then Rachel pointed out, “well, they knew what they were getting into having their wedding at Tokyo’s most famous shrine…” “True,” I said, and snapped a few pictures. After heading to the gift shop (I got a few good luck charms XD;), we headed out to the station and rode to Shibuya.

Shibuya is home to the famous “Scramble Crossing” with 5 intersections and tons of pedestrians which makes its way into any Western movie about Tokyo, ever. It isn’t quite as impressive in person… we stopped by the HMV and looked at all the cool but really super expensive clothes. Maybe if I save up for a few years I can afford an outfit…

The scramble crossing

After that, it was off to Akihabara, the electronics section, for Rachel to stop by the Apple store. I didn’t much like Akihabara… it is mostly for those needing tech gadgets, which I didn’t, and for those otaku who love anime and manga, which I don’t… at least, not to that extent. Still, it was nice to know where an apple store is and get a feel for the station.


Lastly, we headed to Ueno station, since that is where the both of us would leave from, and checked out the park and lake in the area. We also attempted to get to Asakusa, but since neither of us was sure where it was, we guessed and didn’t ever make it. Next time!

Outside of Ueno station

The giant lake of… plants. There is water under there somewhere, I think XD;

I called it a night after that and didn’t bother to go to the Maebashi festival. I learned quite a few things from this trip… how to navigate the trains of Tokyo, that Asakusabashi =/= Asakusa, and to never wear flip-flops or open toed shoes to Tokyo again. Valuable life lessons, those.