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Shibuya Shibuya

August 1, 2010

Yes. twice. Shibuya twice. We went there twice today, both times by bike.

The first time we went to pick up movie tickets for tonight. The first of each month is cheap day, 1000yen (about 10 bucks if you forget the rate is bad/good right now. it’s good for me. bad for Momo) and when that falls on a weekend, the theatres are mayhem. So despite the fact that it was muggy and gross out, and that Shibuya and all points in between here and there (Omotesando, Harajuku) are crazy with pedestrians on the weekend, Momo and I got on the bikes and headed out with a planned route to avoid as much of the crowd as possible.

We passed this on the way. There was no polite way to take a front picture, even though we were originally standing shoulder to shoulder at the cross walk. It’s a decent cos-play outfit. All white, from the tips of the shoes, to the hairs on the wig. Lovely white brolly too.

Although Momo said his five o’clock shadow was blue. Ah Shibuya, you do have moments in which you capture my heart.

Did you know that Tokyu Hands has bike parking? Me either! What a find. But kind of on the wrong side of the tracks for me. I would have to realistically push my bike through the crowded main intersections to get there and that’s no fun for me or the pedestrians. Still, useful for weekdays in the future.

We also stopped in at the Gap. Man, Gap Shibuya is SO much nicer than Gap Shinjuku (aka, did not reduce me to giant western body image devastation). You would think it would be the other way around based on the respective maturity levels of the areas, but Shibuya carries a rational variety of sizes. Shinjuku carries from 00 to 0. Occasionally a 1 or a 2. I still didn’t buy shorts, but I did get a few great tops. I generally try not to buy Western stuff when here, but sometimes, when the world doesn’t fit you, it’s nice to buy a pretty new shirt and not feel like a weird misfit giant.

Er, then I stopped at Uniqlo (cultural balance, see?) and wow, weekends at Uniqlo rock (Uniqlo has reduced prices on the weekend which go back up on Monday). I got a few cammies on sale for 500 yen each and a FABULOUS pair of bright neon pink biking shorts to wear under skirts. I was so happy. It’s too hot for leggings, but skirts and bikes really can use a mediator. I would never have thought hot pink, but at a whopping 190 yen (yeah, less than 2 bucks) they are my favourite new thing ever.

Return home by bike. Return body to acceptable temperature range through air-conditioned environment which induces global warming guilt. Eat dinner. Dance a bit of Wii.

Back on bikes, plus BT now, to go see “Inception.” It had all the keep-you-on-the-edge-of-your-seat of a 007 but a fair bit more confusing and nerve wracking. Still, not a bad flick. (this also broke my normal only-japanese-movies-in-japan rule. I have a spine of steel today huh?)

We parked this time at the Miyashita Park pay parking lot. I used to park here when it was free several years ago. I took exception at first to the loss of the free part. You know the big intersection everyone knows in Shibuya? With the Starbucks? The “Scramble” cross walk? It’s right near there, but dingier. It’s a city owned bike parking lot, and really, for what it cost (wait, what did it cost? BT paid…I should ask him) it’s worth it to have a place you won’t get towed, and that has a man in a uniform with flashing red led lights sewn into it walking around so no one steals anything. If it was just my bike, I might risk parking it at the side of the road for the duration of a movie, but not for borrowed bikes.

Look at all those bikes parked, yes far into the distance.

That’s the beaute in the back and the borrowed bikes (the bridgestone and the bianchi) in the front. All so happily stabled while we went to the film.

BT paying for our spots.

So you push your bike into a rack, and it clips down on your front wheel, locking it there until you pay. Off you go, and when you come back, you pay your toll, and roll your bike back out. I’d of course rather parking was free (and many of these lots are for the first 2 hours) but it’s still pretty well done.

Nothing is nicer though than a warm summer night, riding down Cat street, with no one about, and friends on bikes with you. Brilliant.

Bit hard to make out. That’s Momo and I in the backstreets of Shibuya. There was a virtual estate of blue tarpaulin shacks to the left of us. I can never bring myself to take pictures though, even of the most amazing “homes”. It feels wrong.

Oh, and some very sad news this weekend. We walked by Flaneur, my most favourite-est of cafes, and it has closed permanently. Then this afternoon we rode past my second favourite, Farmer’s Cafe, is ALSO GONE. That really, really sucks.

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