Shibuya Travel Blog

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delicious japanese breakfast @ granbell hotel, shibuya

1.45pm: so i just arrived last night. still a little confused as to why i came back here. not because of any other reason than not understanding my intense attraction and fascination with this place. i REALLY love it here... but im just not sure exactly why! apart from studying the language and culture throughout school and uni i have no official ties to japan and yet something draws me here... perhaps just pure curiousity for the seemingly backward, or maybe it's something else. a giesha in a past life? haha ok maybe not. i guess that's what im here to find out.

let me start by saying that although this is my second trip to japan i am still very much a bewildered gaijin blinded by the neons like a new-born bambi, shaky, and caught in the headlights.

kazu san, approached me with some pretty impressive self-taught english and offered to show me around until he went to work..
im still afraid to make a bad faux pas. im torn between wanting to be seen and wanting to go un-noticed. it's a very odd feeling. because im still unsure how foreigners are perceived here.

well today began with a hearty japanese breakfast and an exciting stroll around shibuya exploring the streets and alleyways. A friendly fellow in a skull-print yukata (who strangley enough im pretty sure approached me last visit one year ago! i didnt tell him) was kind enough to show me around a little until he had to go to work. as i continued my exploration solo, i was feeling happy and enjoying myself... then.....uh-oh. there's that faux pas i was worried about.  a fruit shop owner yelled at me because i picked up an apple (with intention to buy it) but apparently he was closed...OOPS!  i didnt realise and he got SO MAD. then i felt really guilty like i'd committed a major crime...i couldnt believe i'd made him so angry. anyone would think i'd just sat on his new-born the way he jumped up and down. i think maybe he doesn't like foreigners.... but because most people here are so lovely and friendly and go out of their way to help you out (a station worker WALKED me to my hotel last night because i asked him for directions.....HOW KIND IS THAT!) i won't let angry fruitshop man break my stride.... although im going to admit that i was a sook about this incident and went straight back to my hotel like a naughty child hiding in the closet, busted with my mits in the cookie jar... (and closet is an appropriate comparison for my quaint little room by the way - don't get me wrong though i mean it affectionately... i don't need much space and the room has everything i need)... it's 'COSY' in real-estate speak.

so what did i learn from the angry fruit shop man? haha.... well...the majority of people i meet here are friendly, curious, a little timid or all of the above in some crazy eclectic mix of emotions. but ive come to believe that there are a VERY MINOR few (usually older generation) who really don't like foreigners.....and therefore................will yell at you.  Perhaps it's the western influence seeping over their country's traditions that they despise.. or perhaps this man in particular just really didnt like my hat (shit i wasn't wearing a hat...) yes, there are unfortunately, a few GAIJIN-HATERS. (i mean there is no country in the world that has a perfect record on acceptance of forgeign visitors so im by no means 'japan bashing!' on this topic..believe me!..) it's just today i think i encountered it for the first time.  i'll admit im not used to predujice based on race. and although im a firm believer in multiculturalism and always been friendly to tourists myself, this has helped me better understand how some foreign visitors must feel in my own home country. perhaps angry fruit shop man would have spat angry expletives just as bitterly and red-faced at a japanese person? i'll never know..... either way. 1 out of a 100 aint bad. for every angry fruitshop owner there are a hundred happy, excited, friendly, curious and kind japanese people just waiting to go out of their way to make you feel welcome. so i'll dust myself off, get back on the horse and venture out again. heck i might even eventually buy an apple.

time for lunch. stay tuned kids.

5.29pm: i just went back to that fruit shop (now open) and bought that damn apple ha ha. it was part of the healing process LOL.... i politely went up to the man that yelled at me and sweetly asked in japanese if it was 'ok to buy the apple now?' he smiled and told me yes..... all is well in the world.....

bohemiaworld says:
ha ha how funny !! its these situations that make our travels interesting.
ive always been facinated with Japan Im not sure why either and like you i have no ties to the place but it just seems so magical and completly different from England and the western culture. i think thats the atraction - the unknown, as scary as it is, can be quite appealing ..... im looking forward to discovering japan
thankyou for sharing !!
Posted on: Aug 21, 2011
l_mcgab says:
Interesting! Somehow Japan is just that interesting that it keeps pulling one back. I've got a friend who keeps going there for her vacation.
Posted on: Feb 17, 2011
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kazu san, approached me with some …
kazu san, approached me with some…
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