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Ahh Yokohama!

Yesterday, I took a short trip to Yokohama and had a look around. I’d been to Yokohama before, but I wanted to approach this experience from a different perspective. It turned out something like this:

(The following was written yesterday, basically from the time I got on the JR Shonan-Shinjuku line to the time I started heading home, covering a time frame of approximately 7 hours. I have supplemented of the original verbiage to “fill in” the time.)

The theme music for today’s ride to Yokohama is “Love’s Theme”. Good old, Barry (RIP). The ride to Yokohama is a quiet, uneventful one, with a lot of suburb Tokyo sights to view out the windows…

I made it to Yokohama Station and I’m walking around, something I hadn’t ever done before! The last time I was in Yokohama, I went with Herman to Sakuragicho and walked around the bay, stopped at the amusement park. Definitely, this was different though. A couple of random things: There’s a shop in Yokohama Station called 3 Coins. Everything costs 315 tax in, which is such an arbitrary number. The again, everything $9.99 doesn’t make much sense either.

 

Thankfully I made sure to eat something before running out today. But by the time I got there, it was basically lunchtime. I decided on a BLT sandwich and ice coffee for 500 at Cafe Dor. Seriously, you can’t get a deal like that in NY. An observation: the Japanese eat an inordinate amount of bread, which is entirely surprising. You carb fearers, take heed. They don’t chunk up for the most part because the bread is fresh, not preservative laden AND they walk an incredible amount. They basically walk off any potential weight gain, or at least that’s my rationale. How bizarre, they’re playing the Gummibear song as background music as I eat. Omg. Also, while Tokyo has mostly nipped the cigarette smoking in restaurants with a few exceptions, it appears that Yokohama has not followed suit quite yet.. as 3 people smoke right next to me. *_* Like RIGHT NEXT TO ME… *side eye*

I’ve been checking out the J-style here and I’m thoroughly impressed. I’ve seen a lot of styles I like and feel would work for me personally. I didn’t think I would like it this much though. It varies so widely! Check out this outfit: isn’t it cool?

I’m walking through the Yokohama Sky building, a really nice spot for shopping and having a look at the styles. I was curious about the bras here, as they’re super cute. Here the deal: I’m a 38D in US standard sizes. According to this converter, I am a 85F (that number just bugs me out). They do carry my size (!), but the options are of course limited and the prices are crazy. The one I saw was 8500. I’m sure it can be found for cheaper elsewhere, but likely, not by much. The clothes sizing looks like this: SSS, SS, S, M, L, LL. Guess what I am? LOL. Listen, it can’t be helped. I’m tall, got big feet and big “other” stuff. What can ya do… Surprisingly, they actually have a large size store for shoes and clothes. Shoes in this same store are 25cm (L), 25.5cm (LL) and 26cm (XL). Jeans go up to size 40.

 

According to the lady there tho, most of these sizes are imported, but as the population expands due to the changes in diet, I can see that changing dramatically. Truth be told, it is really surprising to me to see larger Japanese. The influence of Western companies is changing the waistlines of a society that never had that problem. It’s THESE places that are contributing to this pervasive obesity problem! Granted, the sizes are smaller… but having girls dressed in kimonos eating KFC chicken? Selling Quarter Pounders for 200? C’mon.

The area beyond the West Exit (Nishi-guchi go-bangai) reminds me very much of Shinjuku Station, that is until you cross the bridge. Then it transforms into this whole other area I have yet to define. By the way, I just saw someone playing DDR X2. *_*

Frankly, I’m amazed by the sheer number of shops in one train station. Granted, it’s a big train station, but do you really need 5 department stores? You literally have to walk through the little boutique shops to get to your train. This has to be the most brilliant marketing strategy ever. The danger, of course, is oversaturation and desensitized potential customers. But, that’s inside the station. Understandably, the traffic will dictate the prices. Take five steps away from the station and the prices drop; there are sales everywhere. I went into this store and all these designer things were dirty cheap. Some were knockoffs, but they were amazing looking knockoffs! Seriously, cute shoes for 1000? If they had my size, I’d be all up on it. Bags for 1500? Son! You know how *I* feel about bags. And the accessories… don’t even get me started. I have to retrain myself because I have another 4 days to go and I’m really going to have to conserve.

After walking around, now I understand why Japanese eat out so much. I just walked through the Cial food court, with workers calling out for your attention for super cheap food. Croquetes for 50 yen, fresh whole fish for 400 yen, full bento meals for 600 yen, sushi sets for two for 800 yen… It’s insane. Why cook at home when you can get food cheaper outside? I just enjoy the act of cooking, but I can see the convenience of buying outside, especially when normal supermarket foods prices are actually more expensive.

I just walked through the Yokohama Bay Sheraton hotel. Nice place, if not pricey. They have a Viking (buffet) special for Hokkaido food (crab, crab and more crab) for 6300. I love me some kani but I’m not spending that kind of cash. The restaurant on the 28th floor has a view of the bay, but you need to be dressed up to get in. :(

I’m gonna be meeting Mr. LocoInYokohama for dinner! I just had to meet this guy. His blog is off the CHAIN. As I wait thought, it’s the height of rush hour and of course, a dude with an iPad is standing right next to me. I just had to say that. (attention whoring) I get the feeling that Cial is like Hachiko at Shibuya. It seems like everyone is meeting here.

Oh my God. I just saw two black women together chillin! What?! And I gave them the smile and nod, and they returned the favor. Oh snap. That brings the count this trip to 4. I’m shocked. Um, is there where the black folks live or something? I’m seeing more of them as they leave the station.

YAY! Loco’s here! I started following him on Twitter not that long ago, but he’s a fellow Brooklynite so I felt thoroughly compelled to meet him. We hit it off pretty well and made our way to an izakaya, but totally forgot that tomorrow is a national holiday (Shuubun no Hi – the official start to the Fall season) so everyone was out getting lushed up. We ended up at a SUPER cheap spot where everything was 260 yen. Seriously. Beer, food… everything! We ate and drank for a while, and the end bill was just under 4000 yen. A STEAL by any standard! All that aside, it was good conversation, talking about the old hood in Brooklyn, family, writing (he’s a great writer), the Japan experience and so on. He’s a very interesting individual, one I would definitely love to keep in touch with going forward. Look, “The Twitter” is always on baby! You can follow him too – @locohama.

So we parted ways just after 10pm and of course, the night isn’t quite done yet. I saw an etiquette thing that I WISH people did in the US. Look at this picture below, at the guy on the right. He’s on the cell phone, but is covering his mouth so his voice can’t be heard by the other customers:

How considerate is that!! The trains here are so quiet in comparison to NY that I find it easy to relax; there’s no tension at all! Thank God there’s no phone service on the NYC subways. Can you imagine…? *swoon*

So, there was my Yokohama day! Very tiring, but lots of fun and I got a lot of ideas, both from a fashion perspective and from a writing one courtesy of my friend Loco. That’s it for now! Besitos..

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