Enjoying My Youth: Trip to Korea-Town and Shimokita (日記#12)

Hi everyone!

Here’s another post of me trying to catch up with my past adventure days. This one took place on October 5th and was one of the bigger ones. On this day I went to two different places. One was in Shin-Okubo where the famous Korea Town is and the other was to Shimokitazawa a.k.a Shimokita. Shimokita is a well known hangout space for the “younger” crowd of people in their twenties and is full of winding roads and expensive vintage thrift shops.

Part 1: Shin-Okubo Korea Town

To get to Shin-Okubo I first took the train from Fujimino to Ikebukuro and then from Ikebukuro I think I hopped on the JR Yamamote line, which is the one that just goes in a loop. I actually don’t remember too well about how I got there because I got so lost at the train station to get to Shimokita that all aspects relating to transportation that day has become a blur.

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Once I got on the Yamanote line it was easy to get to Shin-Okubo. Right when I got there I could see signs written in Korean and it was great. This was one of the places on my Japan bucket list and I was so happy to finally get to go. I didn’t notice it but according to my friend the smell of kimchi coming from here is so strong that people can smell it even a few stops on the train before and after.

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As expected, it was a kpop fan’s dream. So many shops that had different idol goods! I was pretty good and didn’t buy too many things, but I definitely couldn’t leave without picking up at least a few things.

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After walking in and out of multiple stores and convincing myself not to buy anything over 1000 yen ($10), I headed back to the station to move onto the next place. I would want to come back here with friends some day so that we can eat some Korean food 😀

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Part 2: Shimokitazawa

Getting to Shimokitazawa was wayyyy more difficult. It was such an ordeal. I got lost in the train station at Shibuya and went in circles multiple times. I was super stressed out and I want to forget that part so I won’t rehash the memories for this post sorry!

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I’ll just skip the getting lost in the train station part and skip to getting lost in Shimokitazawa. What greeted me when I arrived had me very confused. There was so much construction going on that you couldn’t really see anything. I got out of the train station and it looked like some random backstreet neighborhood with not many shops. When I exited the train station I took a gamble and turned left. As usual, I found out later that I took a gamble and lost since I went the exact opposite way to where I wanted to be.

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I had no idea where I was and didn’t know any landmarks to Google map so I just followed some young looking people straight to no where. Once I realized that I turned around. Even though I wanted to be picky and wait until I got to the main area to choose somewhere to eat, since I was hungry and tired and stressed out I just went into the nearest cafe.

It was super hipster-ish and I couldn’t really read the menu so I just chose the “kanji-I-couldn’t-read” hamburg dish. It ended up being a tofu hamburg. Surprisingly I really liked the food. It was so good that I would actually want to go back just to eat the same thing again. It was so much food and I also ordered a coffee so by the end I was so full that I could barely move. Ah, even thinking about that food again while writing this post is bringing up good memories. I would say that that lunch was the best part of my trip that day I think.

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After I was recharged from lunch I headed back towards the same direction that I came from and ended up at the fork in the road where I made the wrong choice earlier. I don’t know how I missed it, but literally everything that I was looking for was on that street.

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It had all of the cute and artsy cafes that I read about and also the fancy thrift stores. The picture above was from one of their thrift shop warehouses that housed different stores. It was all super expensive though so I just quickly looked around and then headed on my way.

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Walking around I could definitely see the appeal for young people. The shops were lining the side streets and were all creatively decorated. I actually really liked it and would want to come here more often to try different cafes, but it is too far from home to be just a casual afternoon time killer. IMG_7137.JPG

I actually didn’t realize it until I got home and looked at my pictures, but it was a really visually appealing area. They had this huge pepsi can in a vending machine area. Shimokita is also well known for the artwork that is painted on shop shutters.

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I also found a legit thrift shop that wasn’t just expensive “vintage” items. Almost all the shops I went into sold the exact same things. Champion sweatshirts at $50 a piece. I mean it is nice but I always thought the appeal of vintage clothing was that you would be unique. Anyways, whatever floats their boats. The shop that I found is actually a store that does buying so there were a ton of people with big bags of clothing selling their things.

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It is called New York Joe exchange and is probably my new favorite thrift shop, even though it is not as accessible compared to the Mode-Off that is 10 minutes away from my house. They had a lot of stylish clothes at pretty good prices, unlike the other thrift shops. I managed to limit myself to just buying one sweatshirt.

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At this point I was already starting to drag from the long and stressful day so I decided to head home. Luckily since I did all my getting lost on the way there, getting home wasn’t as bad. It was a pretty long train ride home so on that day I took my first nap on the train. It was pretty gee~

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As for the damage I did, it was fairly extensive mostly due to the high cost to pay for the train as well as the black cardigan I bought. It was at one of the last stores that I stopped at before leaving that I did that bad thing. I can’t believe I did it but I did and now I better make sure I use it for the next 5 years.

The black sweatshirt is the one I bought at the thrift shop. I usually only buy sweatshirts if it has a soft material and this one was really scratchy, but I fell in love with the message on the front so I bought it. It was only about 1300 yen or $13 so I was especially happy with it.

From Korea Town I just picked up a BTS medium file folder and a Kakao Talk post card. Before I came to Japan I was really obsessed with Kakao Talk and I wanted to go to Korea to a store. They didn’t have a Kakao Talk store but they did have some items so I let myself get that postcard.

Lastly I bought some Halloween Gaufrettes for my host family because I thought it was cute and just wanted to get something for them while I was out having a “me” day.

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This was a pretty long post for a pretty long and traumatic but fun Wednesday adventure that I had. Those were both places that I would want to go again in the future. Preferably with friends but I also wouldn’t mind going by myself again.

If you read this all, thank you!

Until the next post,

❤ Kira

 

 

 

 

 

 

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