Mid-terms have been railing hard on Haru, so she didn’t get a chance to write much as of late. However, in the eye of the storm, she took some time to hang out with her good friend Kristina, also a previous host student who stayed with Haru’s host family last semester.
Together, they went to Shin-Okubo, also known as Korea Town here in the big city of Tokyo. There, they met up with Haru’s childhood friend, whom she hadn’t seen or heard from since elementary school!
Here’s the beautiful Kristina.
And here’s Justin, a pro at using chopsticks and speaking Japanese. Maybe I should get him to teach me? He’s been living here for a while now. It’s funny how both he and Haru met up again coincidentally through Kristina. A miracle-worker, that girl!
The three of them ate at a small Korean restaurant tucked away somewhere near the station.
Judging the expressions on their faces as they dug into their food, the food must have been pretty delicious. Personally, I’m no fan of hot, spicy food, but Haru and her friends were. Here are some pictures of their meal.
For those of you with weak insides like me, doesn’t this just make you feel like you’d get a stomach ulcer?
Haru also got herself a peach and 日本酒 cocktail. Feeling pretty grown up, I guess. She was just happy they didn’t card her. Back in the States, Haru got carded all the time, even though she’s almost twenty-two now. She’s so old, and yet last time she was babysitting on Halloween, a neighbor thought she was a middle school student and offered her candy. When asked for her age, the poor woman went all bug-eyed when Haru said she was a junior in college.
After their lunch, they went out to explore Shin-Okubo with Justin as their guide.
Perhaps the staple look around here though is the sheer amount of Korean band merchandise. They were everywhere! Here’s a photo of a music store on the second floor, with an entire staircase dedicated to Korean bands.
After the tour and wandering from bookstore to product store and back again, the three of them walked around Shinjuku briefly. Tokyo truly is a city of neon lights and sounds, but infinitely cleaner than Philly.
It was getting late, so it was time to part ways with Justin as he lives in Chiba prefecture, and the girls live in Yokohama over in Kanagawa prefecture. Before parting though, Justin and Haru goofed off like old times. Thanks to Kristina, a few jests were captured. It’s amazing how even in heels, Haru barely comes up to Justin’s chin. When they were both ten, Justin was the shorter one. I can’t imagine this, but Haru promised to show me her old photos when we return home to the US.
Before turning in for the night, Kristina and Haru dropped by Machida station, just four stops away from Haru’s home station. There, Kristina described Machida as somewhat of a college town where a lot of college kids gather, shop, and hang out. It’s a very lively part around here for young people.
Here, the two of them got their milk tea and tapioca drinks at Tapioca World. Bubble tea is pretty popular in Asia, and it’s been getting pretty big in the West too. If you’re in the Philly area, just drop by Chinatown or Upenn’s campus, and you’ll see bubble tea shops springing up around there.
By the time we reached Machida though, I was asleep inside Haru’s bag. Haru told me they went to a coffee shop to talk over some dessert.
While I didn’t get to hear what their conversation was like, I did hear a voice that I wasn’t really familiar with.
I’m still bummed that Haru hadn’t woken me up and let me try dessert. So whoever it was, better not have been eating my share!
Until the next post everyone,