A Post-Earthquake Pilgrimage to Kiddy Land

It’s now been two weeks after the earthquake and while things are still dire, Tokyo has returned to a certain level of normalcy. So far, amidst the heartbreaking suffering in the tsunami’s aftermath, there have been food scares and now a water scare. I plan on writing about that in the next post, but for this one I want to take you along on an afternoon stroll through these pictures I took while taking my sister to Kiddy Land, a famous toy store in Harajuku.

My sister visited from the US just days after the earthquake, and was unfazed by the panic and hysteria in the global press. As an outsider, she didn’t notice anything unusual while she was here.

I dropped her off at the new international terminal at Haneda Airport earlier this week to see her off. As you can see from the picture below, it was operating with minimal lights to conserve energy. It was still bright enough though. And I might add, there were no hordes of evacuees trying to escape Tokyo.

haneda

The following pictures are from last Sunday.

On the way to the station there are long moving walkways, but these were turned off to save electricity.

travelator

Many shops along the way turned off their display case lights.

unlit shelves

I dropped in on a grocery store to see fully stocked shelves. The only empty spots were the eggs, milk and rice. As of yesterday, there were plenty of these, but no bottled water.

fruit and veggies

On the weekend after the earthquake this bakery was bare.

bakery

I felt the station was a bit quiet even for a Sunday afternoon.

ebisu station

And the train wasn’t packed. I took the train and subway yesterday, however, and they were back to sardine can levels.

yamanote line

Harajuku was busy as always.

omotesando

And Omotesando was full of people for as far as the eye could see. Literally.

omotesando

This cafe on Omotesando was full of hipsters and tourists well after lunchtime.

tokyo apartment cafe

Omotesando Hills always seems empty, but it’s just that the space is so big.  Inside the shops there were plenty of people.

omotesando hills

Apparently the market for chocolates hadn’t waned in the earthquake’s aftermath.

chocolate shop

And you can always put on a doily dress to cheer you up.

doily dress

Or pick out some festive underwear. They didn’t have my color.

rainbow of skivvies

We finally got to Cat Street where the temporary home of Kiddy Land is. I was disappointed to find that it had taken over the site of my favorite furniture store.

kiddy land

Inside, it was noisy, colorful, and full of teenagers and tourists. This is one of the staircases. When it was a furniture store, the walls were glass, lined with designer chairs.

kiddy land

Cat Street is a stylish pedestrian road that connects Harajuku to Shibuya. Here people enjoyed takoyaki, which are deep-fried breaded squid balls. It’s much better than that sounds.

takoyaki stand

Also, mannequins enjoyed Budweiser with each other while camping in the Tokyo wilderness.

happy campers

While others committed egregious crimes against fashion.

fashion crime

And finally, a timely reminder in these chaotic and uncertain times.

stay calm

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8 thoughts on “A Post-Earthquake Pilgrimage to Kiddy Land”

  1. Glad for the updates Wind. Nice to have some eyes on the ground.

    You know, your walkabout makes me think of home. I look around when I’m out and we’re supposed to be in a recession or something but I never see people slowing down. The credit cards are flying (and maybe that’s the whole problem) and you wouldn’t think that people have less money. Though gas and food are at record levels. So weird. This is all very weird.

    Keep safe.

    1. i hope one of the positive things that come out of this is that people become less materialistic and wasteful. we’ve already found that tokyo can conserve enough energy that we didn’t even need those five reactors.

  2. Thnx for this Wind!
    But what are you doing amongst the hipsters in Apartment cafe?
    Love the urban campers, a pity indeed about the furniture store, and I think I finally found my true religion.
    Big hug for you, T and Moka ; )

  3. I could not help but think about how wonderful it would be if ALL of us started dimming the lights and conserving energy. It doesn’t appear to have any negative consequences on Tokyo. Perhaps this could be a template for the entire world. Wishful thinking or are we onto something?

  4. ‘Keep calm and carry on’ is good advice wherever you may find yourself on the planet these days. We spend too much time worrying about our doily dresses and buying the right color of underwear instead of focusing on dimming the lights and asking one another if we’re all okay.

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