Monday, January 25, 2010


Chiara purchases

  • Chiara - look at all that sparkly stuff !

Our hotel connected with the Mark City Department store, and was right next door to the Shibuya train station. Our first breakfast was at Starbucks in Mark City. As expected, not many people spoke English, but Alex had been learning Japanese for 5 years at school, and I had just done a self taught crash course, so we were able to communicate alright. As soon as you enter a store in Japan, the staff yell out "Irasshaimase !" which means "Welcome to our business" The staff are incredibly polite and respectful. They always bow when you pay and smile with "Arigato Gozaimas" We never once received poor service in a store or restaurant. Starbucks is the same world over, but I always love the little twist each country gives its store.

With cash in hand, we then hit the streets of Shibuya for some serious shopping. The weather was cold for a Queenslander, about 10 degrees tops, but all the stores were heated, so it was fine. We were lucky to have clear skies each day. Shibuya is famous for its fashion stores and of course, the Shibuya crossing or "scramble", which is more appropriate. Apparently, it is the busiest crossing in the world, and I would agree to that. When the traffic lights say "Walk", you just have to arrange to meet your walking partners on the other side, and just go with the flow of people.

I decided that it would be better for everyone's tempers if boys and girls split up, so the boys went off to look at the Adidas store where they found the shop attendant was from the suburb nextdoor to us on the Gold Coast ! Alex and I entered the famed fashion mecca that is, Shibuya 109. This is a tower of a department store selling all manner of fashion, shoe, accessories and generally anything girly. Don't bother shopping here if you have a body ravagged by the scars of motherhood, as nothing will fit you ! My slim daughter however, was in fashion heaven. It housed all the famous Japanese labels, such as: Liz Lisa, Tralala, Peach John. It is quite an experience to shop here. All the shop attendants look like models, and they stand on ladders with megaphones yelling out at you to come and buy from their store. The noise and blarring music is, well, loud ! The shops are all gorgeous to look at, and spare no expense with their shop displays. Another thing we immediately discovered, is that the Japanese love to elaborately wrap your purchases. Even if it is just a small trinket, it will be wrapped beautifully, and I'm sure sometimes the wrapping cost more than the actual product purchased. Alex bought some clothes and tights, and I bought some cute things from Plaza, a shop selling cosmetics and nick nacks. We also loved "Chiara" which sold all things of the bling variety; jewellery, rhinestone stickers and deco for phones etc.

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