Monday, March 29, 2010

Architecture near Shibuya and Convenience

I enjoyed the architecture that we saw while walking around the area surrounding Shibuya station the first morning after our arrival, March 4th. I like the combination of glass, metal, and concrete

And many of the buildings have a very narrow width since space is truly at a premium in Tokyo.

This was my favorite building of the group- I didn't end up visiting this Disney store in the bottom right corner but I later went to the largest one in Japan when we went to Tokyo Disneyland.

One of the first things I noticed about Tokyo is that they love their convenience stores. We would pass 3 on a block and the nice thing about these places is that they are open 24 hours. And I was able to pick up what I wanted, hand it to the cashier, and leave without having to do much talking (a huge plus since I didn't speak the language). They had 7-11's (but with no Slurpees) where I would buy my Coke Zeros and Pepsi Nex's. Japan is the first country that I have been to where they did not have Diet Coke. I am a huge carbonated diet soda fan so I was a little panicky when I first got there but they fortunately have Coke Zero which isn't my favorite but was an acceptable substitute for the trip. I LOVED these convenience stores and would have breakfast from them nearly every morning of a chocolate chip sweet roll or their "melon bread" (pictured below). I don't know how to describe it- it doesn't really taste like melon but just a sweet bread (maybe the name comes from how it looks).

In addition to convenience stores, they have beverage vending machines all throughout major cities, towns, and suburbs. We would be walking down a random street off the beaten tourist path in some residential area and we would see several vending machines. William loved to get his Calpis (literally pronounced "cow piss") which is a drink that fortunately tastes better than the English name would imply :-)

And, I now know what "sweat" tastes like. Yes, this drink is called "Pocari Sweat." Supposedly it is the Japanese equivalent to Gatorade but I have never really been a big Gatorade fan but it was ok to at least drink some of it. And it sounds kind of cool that I have drunken sweat :-)

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