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.
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.
Many shops along the way turned off their display case lights.
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.
On the weekend after the earthquake this bakery was bare.
I felt the station was a bit quiet even for a Sunday afternoon.
And the train wasn’t packed. I took the train and subway yesterday, however, and they were back to sardine can levels.
Harajuku was busy as always.
And Omotesando was full of people for as far as the eye could see. Literally.
This cafe on Omotesando was full of hipsters and tourists well after lunchtime.
Omotesando Hills always seems empty, but it’s just that the space is so big. Inside the shops there were plenty of people.
Apparently the market for chocolates hadn’t waned in the earthquake’s aftermath.
And you can always put on a doily dress to cheer you up.
Or pick out some festive underwear. They didn’t have my color.
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.
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.
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.
Also, mannequins enjoyed Budweiser with each other while camping in the Tokyo wilderness.
While others committed egregious crimes against fashion.
And finally, a timely reminder in these chaotic and uncertain times.