YKRF Forum [Day 3] in TOKYO

Monday, 30 January 2017

Mornings are the same as the ones in Day 2, where there's breakfast, taking the train to Keio University for seminar, and then heading on to the next activity for the day. On this day, we had a seminar by Yoko Harada, an independent researcher on Australian Studies. The lecture was about the situation in Australia and how it can be something that Korea, Japan and China might achieve in the next 40 years. Anyway, we were to head off to do some Field Work after the seminar and after lunch. For our group, we were heading to Japan's "Korea Town", where people go to buy K-pop merchandise, have Korean food and just spend a little time in little Korea.

The place had more of a Japanese feel rather than the Korean feel I get, at least in Seoul. We were supposed to come up with certain observations that we have made, our feelings with regards to the foreigners who were living here in Japan and what we could learn from this. It was already late so we headed to the next area for the day: Harajuku!!

Harajuku is probably the Myeongdong or the Hongdae (maybe more of the Hongdae) of Japan/Tokyo since it's a place known to be a youth area. However, the one significant difference I would say Harajuku has from Hongdae would be the dressing style of the youths here. It's a thing for people to have extremely flamboyant hairstyles and outfits here and it's something like a norm whereas foreigners would be snapping photos of them. The entire place was packed and we had to walk through the entire street to reach our restaurant where we were to have Okonomiyaki (and we could cook it ourselves!)

It was a cosy little okonomiyaki restaurant and we had the entire place to ourselves. It was entirely free flow and we could just order whatever we wanted. It was really cute, everything came together in a cup and all we had to do was to pour on the fryer where we just cook it, shape it and flip it. It was extremely fun and we made so much noise. 

Since we were already in Harajuku, a group of us decided to head to a karaoke nearby but it ended up being too expensive since it's a popular area.. and thereafter we decided to go see something a little more prominent: The Shibuya Crossing. This crossing is in the middle of a 4-way street where at every interval, the traffic stops and allows people to cross through the entire area. Which makes Shibuya Crossing one of the busiest crossings in Tokyo, therefore making it famous. 

Another thing that's famous at Shibuya station is the statue of Hachiko. Hachiko is the dog that was extremely loyal to his owner and therefore became a symbol for the Japanese. You can read more about the dog and the importance here.

Took a walk through Shibuya, and then went all the way to the point where we were just pooped from all the walking. I wasn't too sure where we were going but we had some Japanese students with us so all we did was just follow. Definitely feels great to be following people in a foreign country without worrying whether we were going in the right direction. I really wanted to take a picture of a couple in a Yukata (summer kimono, or a type of clothing that Japanese wear in different seasons; see photo above). Managed to get a photo :D

Called it a night after heading to the store that really almost has EVERYTHING: Donkihote. Technically, this place is like a megamall that sells every single thing that you can ever imagine. From virtual reality goggles to sex toys to clothing and even snacks. They're spread around Tokyo and you should be able to find at least a Donkihote in every major area in Tokyo. Bought our share of items, headed back to the hotel since we were all tired and would have another exhausting day since we were to head for a one-day trip. Stay tuned for Day 4!!

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