Day 12

 Gadea’s day. We wake up once more at 9am. It is hot and will only get hotter. Gadea has chosen to go to Yoyogi park in Shibuya to look out for cosplay, have a go at the KitKat chocolaterie, pass by a Ghibli store. For food, she wishes for Ramen at lunch and take-out sushi for dinner. So off we go. First, we need to go exchange a coupon for our Japan Rail passes, and make some train reservations. The JR pass gives us “all you can ride” for 7 days, on the JR lines mostly. We go to the JR East boutique in Shinjuku, and make the exchange. This takes some time but at least, our future travel plans are getting set. 

Waiting for the Ramen

At 1pm we head to a Ramen place. It is a place where you order your items on a machine, pay, get coupons, next receive a sheet to fill with the options (harder or softer noodles, thicker or thinner broth, more or less spicy, …). In the place, we each have a booth facing a window with some blinds, but we are paired: Eyquem and Gadea on one side, Noe and Samuel on the other. The blinds go up, we give the coupons and the option sheet,  your egg arrives in the shell, and, after a while, the ramen arrives and the blinds go down. My neighbor on the other side is sleeping on the separator. He will later wake up, finish his drink, and leave. The ramen is simple but good. Once finished, we just get up and leave. 

Time to take the train to Yoyogi park. We get out at Harajuku station. In the plaza in front of the station, there is some kind of thing happening, but hard to know what it is. What we cannot find: the famous cosplayers…. oh, well. We go for a walk in the park. The rockers are dancing, or some of them, despite the heat. Clearly, the park is a fresher place to go (the real feel is 38C today once more) and there are many people in the grass all over. We look around for the cosplayer without luck. There is a food of the world street market, and a group of 3 young girls doing a playback concert. A politician making a campaign speech can also be found. But no concentration of cosplayers. 

Not quite Geneva

Playback concert

Next we walk towards Shibuya and the mall where KitKat ang Ghibli can be found. KitKat is very poplar in Japan, and they come in many flavors. Apparently all prefectures have their own flavor KitKat, and new flavors are churned out regularly. At the KitKat chocolaterie, you can also make your own KitKat bar (but you need to reserve in advance). They only offer mini bars. We each chose a bunch of flavors amongst the following: Yuzu, bitter chocolate, raspberry, strawberry, salted caramel, blackcurrant (they call it cassis), milk chocolate, passion fruit, ruby (new type of chocolate bean, as far as we could understand), white chocolate, macha. In the Shibuya gift shop that is next door, we could also by interesting KitKat flavors like wasabi and hojicha (roasted green tea), as well as alcoholized ones (rum, sake, whisky). We buy some KitKat, and these are put in mini ice bags with mini ice packs: clearly, people are ready for the heat! After a tour at the Ghibli store (a more adult shop with T-shirts, glasses, shirts, dresses…) we take a breather, and spot a craft beer place on the map. Let’s hope there is space this time! 

KitKat Chocolaterie

And there is. We discover a nice small joint called Tap&Crowler. We exchange some with the owner, get some pleasant beers. And we can take a photo of Gadea and her parents 16 years to the minute after her birth!


Gadea, 16 years old, 00 minutes, 00 seconds…or almost.

Finally, we make a stop at a sushi place to order sushi to go (with mini ice packs to keep fresh), and at a pastry shop for some dessert (in an ice bag, with mini ice packs), cross the famous Shibuya crossroads on a crowded day, and take the train back home, shower, and have birthday dinner. 

Birthday dinner



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