My friend Y. discovered a really cool restaurant in Shibuya. It’s called “Sora no niwa” (here’s one review with a map) and is about 10 min walk from Shibuya station. It specialises in tofu, and thus is a paradise for vegetarians and vegans, or those who aren’t yet convinced that the seemingly tasteless Japanese invention can turn into a broad variety of unforgettably delicious miracles, or anyone. Tofu, made from soybeans, is really low in fat, so those with restricted diet would also rejoice at the possibility to fill their stomach without the feeling of guilt. We had some creatively made tofu snacks, tofu soup, tofu which gets cooked right on the table, tofu tempura, tofu with rice, tofu tiramisu and tofu cocktail… Tofu-avocado and tofu-cheese snacks were heavenly! Also, the atmosphere is really pleasant. Good choice in all aspects! Maybe a bit expensive though.
I’m really fortunate that a friend of my friend B. introduced us to K., who is an activist in feminism, homeless issues and anti-consumerism. She suggested that we go to see a vegan cafe near Koenji station (after exiting the station, turn left immediately and take the first street from the left. The bar which hosts the vegan cafe is on the right, there is a sign saying “vegi [something]”. B. has read that the area around Koenji is famous for rock and punk culture. It is home for many bars and interesting shops. We went into a music store, which is on the left of the street. The person managing the store (I’m not sure if he works alone or with others) speaks perfect English and has interesting stories to tell. He told us that he used to study visual arts, but was drawn into music afterwards. It’s difficult in Japan for young and unrecognised musicians – they have to pay JPY 50,000 to rent a studio for practice for a week, and pay similar amounts for each show. There are, however, more and more clubs and bars who would host visual artists and musicians for free or for a symbolic fee. Continue reading
Yesterday we had a chance to experience some outdoor life, because it was a sunny Sunday. We started our trip from Meiji shrine in Harajuku. The area surrounding the shrine had probably the highest concentration of foreigners that I’ve seen in Tokyo this time (I’ve in Japan before, in 2004). Many people, alone, in couples or with their children, went there to get some fresh air.
The further we go, the more interesting it gets. Akihabara offers a world with everything drawn by a skillful hand: sadomasochistic scenes, European counts and Japanese princes, Lolita exploitation, gay porn for women, and tons of ways of peeping into the secret office life. It’s all out there, just a few steps from the main street.
I ask my friend S. to take me to Akihabara, were I want to get a plug converter. People in the stores around are advertising their discounts aloud: I have no idea how it helps, because their voices disappear into the background noise created by the many advertisers. It’s difficult to notice anything amidst all possible kinds of noise – voices as well as visuals. Continue reading