Travel Notes: Last Few Tokyo Days

(Apparently we didn’t post our last posting!)
During our last few days in Tokyo, we went to Tokyo Tower and walked through a nice park on the way back to the subway train. There were about a thousand people lined up just to go on the elevators to the observation deck, so we just enjoyed the view of the tower from the ground since it was so cloudy & overcast anyway… probably not a whole lot to see from up there today! We then took 2 subway trains to Ikebukuro, to Sunshine City (a really big mall) because we were looking for Ice Cream City, which we heard has some unique flavors… such as Octopus, Squid, and Shark. Unfortunately, the mall proved too big for us, and we just wandered down the busy street as some rain began, & stopped at another Hello Kitty store instead! We then took 2 more trains to Shimotakizawa, a college-like neighborhood with some cute shops. One mini-mall we stopped in had about 10 tiny shops crammed in it, looking like a flea market, all with used clothes that looked like something we would go to Unique Thrift Store for… but they were pricing these t-shirts at about 5600 Yen (about $69 USD!!!)… Can you believe it!!! I guess Tokyo really is one of the most expensive cities!

Yesterday we went to Akihabara, Tower Records, and a bookstore (yes, people still go to Record stores AND bookstores here! A lot!)
Akihabara is also called Electric Town due to all the electronic stores and arcade game centers. One of the buildings has 7 floors of everything you could imagine, from household applicances (like the toilets with heated seats & bidets), to home workout equipment (like the bull-riding mechanism), to cell phones, computers of all sizes, mini-computers, lighting fixtures, and video games. The arcades are so popular here and there is usually an entire floor dedicated to the ladies – with digital photo booths that you can add all kinds of crazy special effects, then print them out on tiny stickers and trade them with friends!
Tower Records is alive and well in Japan – and it’s a shame that CD-shops seem to be practically obsolete in the States. There were so many employees, and it seemed like we’d gone back in time about 10-15 years.