Being with friends

What a busy weekend we had!  It all started from Friday night, when I met with Siri (who is visiting from London) and we went to have a Japanese lesson with Kayo.  I thought that it would be a good idea as it could help Siri with her further travels in Japan… and also since Siri will be pursuing a Masters in Linguistics, I assumed that she would be interested in learning some basics about the Japanese language.

Anyway, we had a fun lesson, then we headed out to have dinner at an Okonomiyaki and Monja restaurant in Azabujuban.  Siri made a cultural faux pas which I am sure I will never let her forget, but I shan’t mention it here.  ;P  After dinner, Ken and I decided that Siri needed to experience a night at Smash Hits, our favourite karaoke bar, which she has seen tons of photos of, so we headed to Hiroo.

When we got there, there was a big group of women there, who turned out to be all Australians and New Zealanders.  They told us that they were out on one of their once a month get-togethers.  Some from the group left early, and some stayed on, but we powered through.  We were there until two in the morning, right when a couple came in.  It was a little funny as we recognised the couple from the last time we were at Smash Hits.  It was a fab night!  :-)

Saturday started early-ish (considering we had a late night on Friday!) as we planned to go to Kamakura.  Gary (Ken’s colleague) had just arrived the night before and decided to join us on this day-trip.  We headed to Shinagawa to catch the train to Kamakura.  Thanks to my friend Darcy’s great instructions, it turned out to be a pretty well-planned trip.

At Kamakura station, we dropped by the Tourist Information Centre and got a map, then plotted our route, which was as follows:

Walking through Komachi-dori, we went to Tsurugaoka hachimangu.

Then, we went back to the station via Wakamiya-oji street, stopping for a spot of lunch.

We took the bus to Daibutsu-mae and visited Kotokuin.

Then we visited Hasedera.

Then, the fun began as we decided to follow the hiking trail, starting from Daibutsu.

The first bit of the trail seemed pretty treacherous, but thank goodness it got easier (sort of).  We hiked for about an hour and a half, and ended around Genjiyama Park, where we jumped into a taxi, just as the rain was starting.

Absolutely knackered, we got to Kamakura station and took the next train to Tokyo, heading straight to Shibuya for dinner.

We showed Gary and Siri the infamous Hachiko crossing by night, but as it was raining quite heavily, the view was slightly different, with loads of umbrellas moving around.  We then went and had a Nabe dinner.  Siri and I went home after dinner, but Ken and Gary went for darts, then clubbing after.

Sunday started in Shinagawa, first with a Dean & Deluca breakfast, then to the flea market at Shinagawa Intercity.  The flea market runs every Sunday and is pretty amazing as you can get Yukatas and Kimonos from ¥500.  There are loads of other second hand stuff that you can get there too, so definitely worth a visit!  Eimilly and Yuki joined us for a bit at the market, after which we headed to Yoyogi/Harajuku.

We were really lucky at Meiji-Jingu as there were three weddings when we were there!  So Siri got to see traditional Japanese wedding dresses and get some photos too.  Kayo came to join us and we headed off to Yoyogi Park and saw the various cos-play people, people practicing singing, dancing, acting, etc.  Then we hung-out at the “dog-run” area for a bit, watching dogs sniff each other’s butts.  We were all hungry after that, so we went to Takeshi Street for some lunch… and the rest had crepes after!

As if we didn’t walk enough, we then walked from Harajuku to Omotesando to Shibuya!  It was great to hang-out with everyone and enjoy the busy streets of Tokyo!  :-)

Anyway, we said goodbye to Eimilly, Yuki and Kayo, then went to Tokyu Food Show to get some dinner, then we grabbed the bus home.  All knackered now, we have just eaten and are getting ready to wash up, then go to bed.

A great weekend, all in all.  Lovely times, with friends. xx

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