After the weekend in Tokyo, Ceddy and I headed to Seoul. While he was at work, I explored the city. The first area I went to was Gangnam.
The Gangnam Tourist Information Center had exhibitions with k-pop music, k-pop band members’ costumes and photos. It also had a “medical tourism” section, which had recommendations for the best places to get cosmetic surgeries or dermatological procedures done.
Every street had plastic surgery and dermatology procedure ads, offices, and high fashion stores.
There was a great paintings exhibit at Gallery Yeh.
Ceddy and I went to Akihabara because it’s the district where many electronics are developed in Tokyo. It has a huge selection of electronics stores, as well. Akihabara is also known as the otaku cultural center of Tokyo. Otaku refers to people belong to fandoms, particularly for anime, manga, and video games.
There were skyscrapers belonging to electronics companies, as well as electronics stores.
Ads with sexy anime ladies. I didn’t get a photo of the girls in maid costumes who handed out flyers for maid cafés. Those cafés are a subset of cosplay restaurants where the waitresses act as maids to their patrons.
There were street vendors selling manga books, anime prints, and even hentai porn.
The electronics store we went to wasn’t anything special — it just had several floors. Ceddy is a technology nerd and heard exciting things about Akihabara, but didn’t think it lived up to the hype. We did find a store that sold old school Nintendo games for super cheap, though, which he enjoyed. I was more interested in the fandom aspect of the area, which was alternately cool and creepy.
I arrived in Tokyo mid-afternoon, while Ceddy arrived later in the evening. Since I had some time, I was able to explore Shibuya, the neighborhood we designated as our meeting place.
Shibuya was a combination of New York’s Union Square (because of its shopping choices) and Times Square (because of the number of people jostling each other on the street).
Shibuya Crossing is the main intersection that shoppers, diners, and commuters use to go their respective ways. I took this photo before the late night crowd arrived.
One of the most impressive department stores was Shibuya 109. It has eight floors of women’s boutiques.
And a gold staircase by its entrance.
Though there was a variety of boutiques, most of the mannequins (and salesgirls) rocked this look — brownish long hair curled at the ends and demure outfits (not pictured: crazy tall heels).
The colors and styling used in store windows (and interiors) were awesome.
Once Ceddy and I met up at Starbucks, we walked around in hopes of finding somewhere to eat. We found a lot of Italian, French, and American restaurants. The non-chain sushi restaurants weren’t open late. We ruled out going to Outback Steakhouse (though theirs looked posh), since we never go there when we’re home.
We decided to return to Setagaya to find a late night bite, instead.
Last weekend, I went to New York with my boyfriend. We had awesome adventures and I took a ton of photos, so I’m going to make three posts about the trip (one per day we were in New York). I’ve also done this because I wanted to schedule some posts while I’ll be on the dreaded family vacation of doom at Disney World until Saturday. -_-
Ceddy and I arrived at LaGuardia on Friday morning around 9AM. We took the MTA bus into the city, then took the subway uptown.
First, we stopped at the Nespresso café on 5th Avenue. We sampled the caramel espresso, while Ceddy shopped for other flavors.
The first (and most important) rule in the good girls’ code was simple.
“Don’t have sex.”
Not because of health risks, the possibility of pregnancy, or emotional ineptitude.
“Because good girls wait until marriage.”
“Correct, anak. If you don’t have respect for yourself, a man certainly won’t.”
“What if you’re engaged? You and your future husband love and are committed to each other, so why can’t you do it then?”
“If you’re waited all that time, it’s sayang to have sex then.”
“But if you’re going to be together forever anyway, then how is it a waste?”
“Just listen to me, I know from experience.”
Being your mother’s best friend meant being privy to things a daughter should never have to know. Compartmentalizing had become second nature. While Mom would confide in me constantly, I knew better than to tell her everything.
“Anak, last time I was here, the salespeople kept bothering me.”
“It’s Victoria’s Secret, Mom. I’m pretty sure they get paid on commission.”
“They kept following me around the store, asking to help me find what I was looking for.”
“That’s their job.”
“Why are they so nosy, anyway?”
“Why do you care if they know what you’re buying? What did you need, a new bra?”
“Well, I was looking for crotch-less panties.”
Silently, I cursed scientists for pursuing worthwhile research instead of creating brain bleach.
“They don’t sell those anymore. You’ll have to buy them online at from a different company.”
Setting boundaries with my mother became increasingly difficult from college onward. She claimed she wanted to know about my life, yet overreacted whenever I was upfront.
“I just wish you could be happy for me.”
“I’m supposed to be happy you lost your virginity to your boyfriend?”
“God! All those years I talked to you, you never heard me.”
“No, Mom. I listened, I just don’t agree with you.”
“It’s because of your friends, isn’t it? They’re all having premarital sex, so you wanted to be like them!”
“I think it’s sad that you think I’m worthless because of the status of my hymen. I’m still me.”
“You always said you would wait until you were married, like I did.”
“Yet you still harass Dad about his ex-girlfriends from thirty years ago.”
“So you’re mocking me and my choices?”
“Maybe it would’ve been good for you to date and sleep with other people.”
“I’m not a child anymore. I haven’t been for a long time.”