Throwback Thursday – The shopping mecca of Ginza, plus a bit of Shinjuku

Yesterday was the day we decided to head to Ginza. We caught the Asakusa Subway to the Higashi-Ginza stop. After popping out, we then walked in the exact opposite direction to where we wanted to go. An easy mistake, though pretty common for me and Kathryn. After stopping by a 7-11 to gain our bearings, we then walked back the opposite way and stopped by a Starbucks. Turns out Kathryn was sick of the Cafe Lattes from Cafe Doutor ( ドトールコーヒー ). She wanted something resembling back home. Ingredients here in Japan always taste a little different – butter is sweeter which is weird. Things that should be savoury taste sweet, and vice versa. Milk tastes like UHT treated milk, rather than plain milk we get back home. Either way, 500 yen later, Kathryn was drinking her grande-latte.

Right next to Starbucks was Matsuya. This was a massive women’s shopping mall (again). Think Farmers, but like 100 times the size, and you’d have the picture. The basement floor is where food is, and there is so much food around, all flavours that you could ever imagine. We swung by the gift food store, to see six apples for sale for $75. These apples are gift apples, and you give them to someone as a token of appreciation. Think of these as the finest apples that money could buy. They were perfect and round and blemish free. The grapes, the pears, even the wrapped melon were all exactly the same, with prices on the high side of $50. It doesn’t matter how nice Pak’n’Save would present their produce in New Zealand. People would not be buying Apples for $50.

The top floor of Matsuya is where the bargains of the department store world are. We only saw baby and children’s clothing, but at cheap prices (1000 yen, compared to say 10,000 yen). This explains why there were swarms of people on this floor like ants. There were also gift boxes here that you could give as gifts to people as well. Little boxes containing six cans of beer, or juice, or oil were all selling, for around $50 plus. Having said that, that must be small change compared to what some of the jackets were selling for. A Burberry shiny puffer jacket was selling for about 80,000 yen, or about $1200. I mean I like shiny puffer jackets as much as the next guy, but not that much.

After exiting Matsuya, we were on the main street of Ginza. This was the high market fashion experience of the world. Think Newmarket but 100 times more impressive. Fancy brand name stores like Cartier and Jimmy Choo were everywhere. The whole place had a feel of opulence. All the well dressed people were around us. Clothes costing thousands of dollars. Kathryn and I are wearing jandals. A word of advice from Kathryn – don’t wear jandals pretty much to Japan. It seems to be a little frowned upon. Not like people will say anything, you’ll get crazy stares.

We headed into Mishimoto Pearls. We were out of our league here, shorts and jandals never beats thousands of dollar pearls. It was awkward for everyone that we were in that store. We left. We felt good, and the store people felt good.

We saw the Apple store. It was full of Apple gear, and for that hip extra, actually had white people serving us. I didn’t want to buy an iPod or iPhone, the prices aren’t that cheap.