It’s day 3 in Tokyo and we’re ready to do some serious… Shopping! There’s no better place to do this than trendy Shibuya. Besides shopping malls and department stores, the walkways and alleys here are packed with numerous fashion shops. You can practically shop ’til you drop (in the 40 degree Japan summer heat)!

Shibuya 109

Shibuya is an area where there is a high concentration of good looking people. You know how when you walk down Orchard Road, or wherever the trendiest part of your city is, maybe just 1 out of 10 people you see is hawt? Over here, the ratio is the direct opposite! Other than manufacturing cute and pretty things, the Japanese really know how to make themselves look cute and pretty too!

Home-made tiramisu

First things first, a little sugar to send us along our way. We found a neat little café tucked into the basement of a building in Shibuya and had ourselves some cake!

Home-made tiramisu

This tiramisu was made from scratch at the café and tasted divine!

Okay, now it’s time to hit the stores! Shibuya 109 (pictured above) is a landmark building. It spans several levels, each one of them packed with ladies’ fashion stores selling hip and trendy clothing. It is much like our far East plaza, only cooler and with many more stores.

Mannequins in store window

90 percent of the shoppers here are young Japanese ladies. Most of them are hawt! Guys would totally go gaga over them!

Oh by the way, you can totally get away with wearing anything you like in Tokyo, regardless of how outlandish it may be. People here dress really loudly and they look good!

Tower Records at Shibuya, Tokyo

Tower records store. That bright yellow and red signboard is hard to miss!

Funky bus spotted along Shibuya, Tokyo

Just along the road outside tower records, we spotted a brightly-coloured, funky-looking bus. It had no windows and was simply a mobile advertisement for mihimaru gt’s new album. (mihimaru gt is a j-pop duo.) it looked so cheery, many people stopped to snap pictures on their mobile phones!

During this 11-day trip, I had seen several unusual-looking buildings. They don’t look ugly or weird, but they do have some very interesting and unique shapes such as this black building below.

Unique-looking building at Shibuya, Tokyo

Doesn’t it resemble a giant robot or machine? In fact, it reminds me very much of a black version of r2d2 from star wars!

Building with a nice reflection on its glass at Shibuya, Tokyo

A very shiny building.

Satanic graffiti spotted along Shibuya, Tokyo

Some satanic graffiti on a wall. Graffiti are a common sight throughout Tokyo.

Slot, an arcade probably?

I think this is an arcade. There were arcades everywhere we went. Most of the time, there would be some guy standing outside, handing out leaflets and asking people to get in.

Cute car

Cute car! Very cute car! I want one!

Haagen-Dazs building at Shibuya, Tokyo

A large haagen-dazs café.

McDonald's and phone booths at Shibuya, Tokyo

On the left is a McDonald’s outlet. The big-ass French fries totally caught my attention from afar! A McDonald’s staff, who’s an Indian, was holding a large sign and trying to get us in. Currently, they have a new burger in town – mcpork!

Low-calorie food – Fish

We opted for something healthier instead at a Japanese restaurant. Only after we saw the menu did we realise the place specialised in low-calorie food! Ugh! It would all taste bland and yucky! I had half the mind to run out of the place right there and then.

Low-calorie food – Chicken

But luckily both the fish and the chicken tasted great!


After lunch, we were continuing our way when we noticed some press people and others with huge cameras and equipment standing around a traffic crossing. Then, we heard loud music and sounds of people cheering. That’s when we realised a parade was heading our way!

Gay parade, truck with purple balloons

And not just any parade…

Gay parade with rainbow-coloured gay pride flag

A GAY parade! That rainbow-coloured gay pride flag is unmistakable and instantly recognisable!

Gay parade with gays dressed up like women

Gahhh!

Gay parade, dude dressed as a bride

Boy, I had never seen gay events like this before. It was a full-fledged procession involving hundreds of people! The traffic warden had to be there to direct the flow of the traffic because the parade was a really lengthy one that had to be broken at frequent intervals.

Traffic warden

There were even a couple of girls (I think) who flashed their boobs at the crowd. Too bad I didn’t manage to get a picture! Damn!

Gay parade, dude in a bubble

I don’t quite get the bubble thingy. Was that meant to resemble a giant condom or what?

Here are some videos of the gay parade! Check them out!

Look out for the guy in the bikini!

The atmosphere was really cheery and lively! Everyone was psyched and gay!

Lesbians! They were right at the end of the parade and were a sweet relief after the long procession of gays.

Pink billboard at Shibuya, Tokyo

Here’s a pink billboard at Shibuya!

Traffic crossing at Shibuya, Tokyo

Traffic crossings like these are the norm in Tokyo. There are diagonal crossings so that people can cross in all eight directions.

Traffic crossing at Shibuya, Tokyo

In Singapore, we have just one such diagonal crossing if I’m not wrong.


In the evening, I met up with my friend Beni who’s always country-hopping due to work assignments. For the past 8 months, he’s been living it up in Tokyo! Dude loves it there.

Bar counter at Gonpachi

He brought me to this neat Japanese restaurant called “gonpachi” for dinner.

Yakitori and tempura at Gonpachi

We had yakitori (grilled chicken skewers) and tempura with sake and shochu! I never fancied the taste of sake and found myself liking shochu better. (this is a prelude to our drinking session which would commence later that night.)

Throughout the entire meal, our waiter was extremely polite and helpful, much like everyone else at the restaurants I’ve visited in Tokyo. I wonder how they maintain such high service standards. The best part is that we don’t incur any service charge or taxes at restaurants; the amount we pay is the exact amount that’s printed on the menu.

Ginza at night

This is Ginza at night, an expensive district that’s the equivalent of fifth avenue in New York city. Various designer brand houses can be found here.

Chanel building at Ginza, Tokyo

The chanel building had an eye-catching black and white animation on the front of its building. It’s really nice.

Pucci and Gucci buildings at Ginza, Tokyo

Gucci? Pucci?

Louis Vuitton building at Ginza, Tokyo

There’s Louis Vuitton, of course.

Christian Dior building at Ginza, Tokyo

And the ultra beautiful christian dior building, complete with a star on top! It looked gorgeous!

Matsuya Ginza

Apple building at Ginza, Tokyo

There’s the apple building. The lit apple logo juxtaposed against the silver building surface reminds me of the macbook pro laptop computer. Why don’t we have any apple building in Singapore? I’ve already seen at least two of it in Tokyo.

Ginza 4-chome Intersection

The Ginza 4-chome intersection. This distinctive building with a clock perched at its tallest point is a landmark in Ginza.

After dinner, we proceeded to the nearby Marunouchi area for drinks.

Pub Cardinal Marunouchi in Tokyo

P.c.m. Is a pub located right beside the Tokyo international forum, a building that hosts exhibitions, concerts and such. Kinda like our very own Esplanade theatre.

Wine bottles encased in glass

The design of the pub was pretty chic. But they had just one kind of beer that was contained in plain green bottles; it wasn’t good. So we hopped over to the Belgian beer café at the basement for some real beer!

Belgian beer with Belgian chocolate

Ahhh! Good ol’ Belgian beer! Belgian chocolate goes great with Belgian beer! It’s my first time having chocolate with beer!

Belgian beer with Belgian chocolate

They had all kinds of Belgian beer in addition to the more familiar Hoegaarden and Stella Artois. Leffe, westmalle, chimay, etc. I had never seen any of these before! Does anyone know of any place in Singapore where we can have these?

Every beer that we ordered came with its own corresponding coaster! We greedily asked the staff for a full set!

Belgian beer coasters

Ta-da! More souvenirs from Japan!

As though we hadn’t already taken enough freebies, when we left the pub, the staff handed us some complimentary Japanese snacks too. Wow!

Japanese snacks given by the friendly staff at Pub Cardinal Marunouchi

The pink and green ones were like kueh (asian cakes and pastries) and had some sort of fruit at the core. They were yummy!

Oh yeah, I puked some later that night after downing a tequila shot with all that beer. I forgot the important lesson I learned before – never drink different kinds of alcoholic stuff one after another (beer with wine, wine with tequila, tequila with champagne…). And never drink on an empty stomach!

The streets of Tokyo are just as safe as Singapore’s, if not safer. Even in the wee hours of the morning, we could walk the streets feeling secure. There weren’t any sleazy or shady characters lingering about. Instead, we spotted sparse groups of people sitting around, just chatting. And homeless people too.

For some reason, having seen Tokyo at both its busiest and quietest made me feel right at home.