Temple Japan

Starstruck at Ebisu

Ever had one of those moments when you think, “Well geez, this sure ain’t Kansas anymore”?

I think the reality of where she actually is, finally hit Haru hard across the face – in a good way of course. She was just surprised really, but I had to remind her not to leave her jaw behind as she traipsed her way through the Ebisu Garden Place (恵比寿ガーデンプレイス) with her friend, Yuan.

Before I get to that, how about I tell you why we were in Ebisu in the first place. For those who don’t know where it is, it’s close to the middle of Shibuya and close to Roppongi as well. In other words, it’s a pretty famous place around here with museums, stores, restaurants, and gardens around.

In our case, there was a class field trip this past Saturday to the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography. It was a tiny place inside a huge building. But I think the archives were most impressive – behind the librarian’s desk was an automatic double door. And behind those doors, it looked like it would lead into the Matrix. I was almost expecting Neo or Agent Smith, to stride out of there with a rocket launcher in hand.

While we couldn’t take pictures inside, here are some photos of the enormous plaza leading to it. Everything was just so… grand.

But here’s the really fun part – watching Haru and Yuan go goo-goo-eyed as they struggled between melting and exploding at the same time. Here’s a photo taken from my point of view of what got them so excited. It just looked like a stick of rotten swiss cheese, with square holes instead of round ones.

It really didn’t seem like anything to me, other than another monument stuck in the middle of brick desert with random people trudging around. I made my exasperation quite clear, so Yuan decided to break the news to me about why Haru would stand comatose for one moment and then go into a photo-shooting frenzy the next.

“That’s where Tsukushi Makino and Tsukasa Domyouji met for their first date!” Yuan bubbled, as she jabbed her finger towards the stone monument, “That’s where Tsukasa waited hours and hours in the rain for Tsukushi to show up. It’s romantic, don’t you think?”

I guess, I can’t say what I think because I don’t know. I’m just a kid after all! And only after asking more questions, did I realize Yuan and Haru were talking about characters from a famous Japanese drama, and not about real people! But I couldn’t help but wonder why the girl character from Boys Over Flowers, or Hana Yori Dango (花より男子) would think to stand up the guy character in the first place. Didn’t she realize that standing up friends was a bad thing? Then again, I don’t know their whole story.

While Ebisu Garden Place may have been a famous set for a famous drama, luckily, we didn’t spend our entire time standing there, gawking. For instance, we met a sweet old lady walking her dog! He’s in his sixties in dog years, but in human years, he’s nine. Haru thought he had a dashing personality, and Yuan was more than happy to play with him and talk to his friendly owner!

Yuan got hungry so we followed her to Saint Germain Bakery for some tasty pastries. I tried talking Haru into getting something, but she was saving her stomach for dinner. Everything they were selling looked so yummy though!

After that, we went about touring the grounds. It was such a big area! People looked so tiny milling about.

And beyond it was the famous Taillevent-Robuchon restaurant, catering to gourmet food lovers and お金持ち, rich people, or at least anyone who can afford to eat there!

It wasn’t open when we were there, but we still went ahead and looked around. Here’s a photo of Yuan scoping the place out!

It was getting late, and the girls had to hurry back to Minato to meet up with their friends for a dinner Haru planned earlier in the week. But here are some twilit scenes at Ebisu Garden Place. It looks totally different than those earlier photos, huh? The place took on such a completely different feel when day descended into night, it was almost like magic was afoot there.

On the way back to Ebisu Station, we took the Sky Walk route. It was scenic as well as convenient, like most things here in Tokyo.

Not only was it a walkway that spanned several blocks, it was also somewhat of an underground mall – or rather, an “overground” mall.

Here are some photos of a flower shop Yuan and Haru passed.

It was stocked full of expensive, freshly cut flowers; an explosion of color and scents.

There was a very nostalgic air in there for Haru, as it reminded her of a local flower shop near her home back in the States. But this time, the knowledge of being in another country came with an intense feeling of severe homesickness.

On the way back to the Minato area, Yuan and Haru took the wrong train and ended up in Naka-Meguro, when they should have been going in the other direction. But the awesome thing about Tokyo’s transportation system is that it’s fast and intuitive so finding the way again wasn’t so hard.

Finding the way again… Wherever he is, I hope Komame’s finds his way back to me.

We’ll meet again, right?


1 comment

  1. To whom it may concern:

    Hi, I’m Amelia. I’m a writer for the Temple News, and I’m doing an article about the TU Japan program, trying to find out what students are doing now, and what it’s like in Japan since the disaster last year. If anyone currently abroad right now would be willing to answer some questions, I can email or call, by this Thursday, I would really appreciate it. My email is abrust@temple.edu. Please let me know at your earliest convenience. Thanks, and have a good day/night!

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