Saaya took me to a famous inexpensive store, and I bought two fabulous dresses! I tried to buy a vest but the biggest size they had was still for very skinny Japanese girls. :)
In Yoyogi Park, an extremely famous and beautiful area of Tokyo, there was a huge garage sale, perhaps the biggest one I've ever seen. It was crazy because my Japanese teacher told me that there were no garage sales in Japan. But she also told me there were no hugs in Japan. :) I looked up the "free markets" as they are called (which I think might be the Japanese way of saying "flea market", because things aren't quite free) and it said that there are approximately 800 shops in this location's garage sale. I bought a Japanese-style skirt and tube top for $1.50 each!! They are too cool. This is my kind of shopping. There was a shirt that said, "I <3 Vagina" and another that said, "STFU". I tried to explain the meaning to the mini-sale owners and they hid the shirts, haha. Most of the sellers were very young people, in their 20s or 30s. They promoted their wares but did not ever pressure me into buying anything like in America. I love Japanese manners!
Saaya's friend joined us for about an hour or so, and I felt so bad for him because he was wearing a suit and jacket in the incredible heat! I was wearing shorts and a sleeveless top, yet I was sweating and uncomfortable. But he ate delicious sushi with us and we went to a fun store called Hands. In this store, you could buy funny gifts, strange food (I'm looking at you, Steven), and other neat things. I had a great time looking at the stickers and their English translations. Here are a few.
Saaya's friend had to leave, so she and I walked to a gorgeous temple in Harajuku. It was surrounded by a beautiful, quiet forest that was delightfully cool compared to the outside heat. There were a lot of people speaking in English there. Saaya showed me how to wash my hands and mouth before entering the temple, and how to say a prayer.
People could buy a wooden panel and write their wishes/prayers to get them answered by the kami-sama. All of the prayers for a year are hung up and then later they are taken inside the temple. You can click on the picture to see the wishes up close. Some little kids wished for Legos and some adults wished for health, marriage, money, or other things. I enjoyed reading the Spanish ones and explaining their meanings to Saaya. It reminded me that I can understand a lot more Spanish than Japanese.
Saaya showed me a 100-en ($1) store in Harajuku, and I bought myself a pair of lovely chopsticks. :D
In Harajuku, Saaya and I bought their famous crepes! Mine had ice cream, strawberries, chocolate syrup, and whipped cream in it. Soooo good.
I feel like I walked 20 miles today, and in fact, it's probably that I did. My feet hurt so much even though I was wearing my comfy sneakers the whole time. I don't know how Saaya could do it in her fancy shoes.
I noticed on the trains that all Japanese women wear either fancy shoes with heels or very stylish sneakers. But I have examined the fancy shoe-people because they catch my eye and their feet do not look like happy feet. I saw a woman whose face looked like she was 25, in the prime of her life, but her feet looked like those of a 70-year-old, with varicose veins and very old-looking skin. She was wearing adorable shoes, but maybe they were wrecking her feet. Today I saw more women with huge blisters and calluses on their feet, and also really expensive-looking shoes. Maybe that's why my feet are generally blemish-free; I wear sneakers almost all the time.
I felt happy today that I could carry on basically a six-hour conversation with Saaya in Japanese. :) Although it's becoming much more difficult for me to remember specific Spanish or English words! Tonight I was explaining some difficult English word meanings to Namiko-san, and I spent a good five minutes of hard thinking trying to remember the English word "metaphor." I even know the word in Japanese for it! And it's a word I use on a regular basis in the US. Oh well. :)
Dinner tonight was very delicious. I love fish!!
Namiko-san bought me the most beautiful outfit from India today. I was so surprised!! I also didn't know that one could buy Indian clothing in Japan, but maybe you can buy anything here. :)