Friday the weather had mercifully cleared (in fact, we didn’t really get rained on at all for the rest of the trip), and we relocated to Bryan’s office, which would be our base of operations for the rest of the trip.
There were some last-minute details about the conference that I had been meaning to check online–I wanted to refresh my memory of which train station to exit, for example. Though I had set up an account with a local ISP, GOL, I was unable to log on for some reason. Very infuriating.
I took Gwen to Harajuku. It’s my favorite part of town. We wandered around aimlessly. I was a bit disoriented by the changes in the neighborhood: where there had once been a couple of sidewalk cafes on 表参道 there were now gleaming retail showrooms. And the Aoyama Apartments, the first Western-style apartment building in Tokyo, were demolished. This wasn’t a surprise–the death knell had sounded on them a long time ago, but it was still a shame that a bit of Tokyo history was gone. For the most part, the backstreets (though they had no doubt seen many small businesses come and go) looked about the same. We walked past Jenny’s old apartment, and it still stood, though there was a little novelty shop wedged in front of it now. Nearby was an excellent stationery store that I remembered, with an incredible selection of postcards and desk-stuff on the ground floor, and a lot of art books downstairs.
We kind of wandered via a route that I’d never be able to reproduce through 千駄ヶ谷 up to 新宿. We wandered around there some more, taking in both the busy-but-civilized part and the sleazy 歌舞伎町 Quite a lot of walking that day.