The New Year had just begun, but my one-month trip to Tokyo, Japan was almost over. After checking out the bargain sales with my future mother-in-law, I had plans to hang out with my friend from university.
Earlier in December, I met up with my friends from university from when I studied abroad in Yamanashi Prefecture 山梨県. Most of my university friends now live in or around Tokyo, although a few of them came from a little farther away. I later spent time with my friend and her baby and now I was meeting up with another university friend who was coming into Tokyo from Yamanashi Prefecture just to hang out.
That morning, my fiance’s brother and his wife left, and so we greeted them in the morning as they went to the airport. They live in Hokkaido 北海道, the northernmost main island of Japan, and so it was faster to fly than to take the bullet train or shinkansen 新幹線. After seeing them off at his parent’s house, my fiance’s father dropped me off at the train station so I could go meet my friend.
We spent the day in Shibuya 渋谷, which is a great shopping destination. Shibuya was on my list of top Tokyo sightseeing spots, so I was excited to visit it before I left Japan. I spent a lot of time in Shibuya and Shinjuku when I was studying abroad and it’s a fun place to hang out.
We met at the statue of Hachiko ハチ公 at Shibuya Station 渋谷駅. Hachiko is a famous faithful dog who waited at the train station for his owner everyday until the owner’s death, and then continued to wait everyday until his own death. This statue commemorates his loyalty, and is a popular meeting place for friends or dates.
My friend, whose nickname is Natchan なっちゃん, like the orange beverage, had picked out a global-themed restaurant to eat at that her Yamanashi hometown friend had recommended. We had some awesome Thai food, because it was cold and Thai yellow curry is awesome on cold days. Then, it was time to go shopping! We hit up Shibuya 109 渋谷１０９ and Hikarie ヒカリエ which are the biggest department stores in the Shibuya area. They still had a few bargain sale items leftover so we got a few deals on accessories. I also bought some more omiyage お土産 for people at home, and some Hachiko accessories at the station.
We went to the TSUTAYA and up to the second-floor Starbucks dining area to try to observe the Shibuya Scramble 渋谷スクランブル, but the area was really crowded and there was nowhere to sit. The view was also not as good as I had anticipated, so we decided to try a different angle. We wandered around in the department stores until we found a bridge crossing between two buildings with a decent view.
We went to a shop called Pearl Lady, which I had found because I was desperate for boba tea (tapioca tea, bubble tea, etc.). I really like iced boba tea, but I got hot almond milk tea because it was so cold outside and we were walking around getting colder.
As night fell over Shibuya, we eventually headed back to the station. I was sad to say goodbye to Natchan, especially because I knew I would be going back to America in 5 days, but I was so happy that we got to spend the whole day hanging out and shopping.
I headed back to my fiance’s home station, and his father picked me up in the car since my fiance was still at work. I had dinner with his parents, and gave his mother a Hachiko-themed dog leash as an omiyage for her dogs. That night, since my fiance got home late, we had a serious talk about my fiance and our future, as well as his parents just getting to know me. It was far less terrifying than I had anticipated, especially since we had already had a month to get to know each other.
They are genuinely nice people, and they are concerned for their children’s happiness, but they are also very accepting of their children’s desires. I also think that they are more secure knowing that both their children will be happily married and they can enjoy being a couple again. In Japan, and in other countries as well, there is a thing called silver divorce, where people realize after the children have left the house that they have nothing in common. They may divorce, or, in a culture where divorce has traditionally been uncommon, they may just live in the same house but grow apart. I am glad to see that his parents are not growing apart, even though their sons have been out of the house for a few years.
My Japanese holiday was coming to an end, but I still had plans to travel and get the most out of my final days! Thank you for reading up to this point and stay tuned for the last few days…
Have you been to Shibuya? What is your favorite thing to do there? Do you like boba tea? Let me know in the comments!