Day 16: Shinjuku encore

I went to Shinjuku again .My host mum and dad accompanied me, who are experts on Shinjuku. It is said that one can be considered a local of Tokyo once they know Shinjuku station in and out. Shinjuku has two parts-the business and office area (called nishi-shunjuku) in the west and the entertainment area (called kabukicho) in the east. I learnt that Shinjuku comprises the largest entertainment area in Asia.

This time, it wasn’t raining, and I took lots of pictures.

Cold soba noodles for lunch. Soba noodles are made using buckwheat. They are dipped in soy sauce and eaten (surprisingly, pouring the soy sauce over the soba isn’t the way its done. you always dip). Toppings like sesame and spring onions can be added. After finishing the noodles, you pour warm water in the sauce and drink it. 
Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building

An aerial view of Tokyo from the Tokyo Metropolitan Govt Building: The tall tower in the distance is Tokyo Tower. 

Another aerial view

We take a break from walking and stop for drinks in this open area with coffee shops

A curved building-if you leaned against the walls, it felt as if the building was falling on you

Cocoon Tower-the iconic symbol of Shinjuku
A cute sign by a crossing in Shinjuku

I noticed some homeless people on the street in nishi-shinjuku. Masaki-san told me that the Shinjuku streets would be filled with homeless people when he was a child. I was surprised to see homeless people in such an upscale area. Kaori-san mentioned that Japanese people don’t like to acknowledge the existence of homeless people.

Kabukich-the entertainment area of Shinjuku-and the largest entertainment area in the world

Omoide Yokocho-a small lane in Shinjuku comprising of Izakayas-it was built post-war in the 1940s and was one of the first things to come up in Shinjuku. Efforts are made to preserve it. There is much anger with respect to Korean and Chinese immigrants beginning to work in these izakayas. 

Posters of cafes where men entertain women

Golden Gai-an area known for its nightlife. It comprises of 6 narrow alleys of izakayas, restaurants and clubs. 

Hanazono Jinja Shrine

Miso Spaghetti with duck at one of the favorite izakayas of my host family. It was AMAZING. Another interesting item on the menu that night was umeshu (in the background), an alcoholic drink of Japanese picked plum. The izakaya was so popular that we went at 5 pm. before it started to get crowded. 

I was surprised to learn that Shinjuku is an area not just for the rich. It has some very affordable places and people in their 20s from all types of economic classes go there. We ended our day at Shinjuku by going into a department store. Department stores at Shinjuku are typically very expensive. We ended up going to the basement floor which comprised of the restaurants and food shops (known as depachika in Japanese), and sampling food that we had no intentions of buying.