I took the Marinouchi Line from the Metro station and emerged in fabled Shinjuku 30 minutes later. There is so much neon there it even makes the day brighter. My photo tour was not until 7:30 so I had time to kill and shop.

My first stop was the Godzilla Store. I struggled to find anything of value there so I settled for a couple of holographic postcards to send to Steven and Shannon.

I ducked into a few shops here and there but they were far too crowded, especially wearing a backpack. Shinjuku is known for its nightlife and there were large packs of masked teenagers everywhere, gawking and giggling at the giant YouTube videos illuminating entire buildings.

Japan is not dollar-friendly. Everything so far (except mass transit) is prohibitively expensive. So I figure if I find something I like I can probably order it from home for less. This was true for Italian Murano glass and Irish Waterford crystal years ago. I want to find some t-shirts here but I’m not going to pay $40 per.

So I kept moving toward the Godzilla Head that looms over TOHO Cinemas and the Hotel Gracery. The street there is famously saturated with neon, like a pedestrian-only canyon of light and music. Even the Krispy Kreme doughnut shop there is Japanized, featuring all sorts of Pokémon and anime (I presume) characters. My blood sugar was low so I needed a fix.

I savored a beautifully crafted cappuccino on the 8th floor observation deck and awaited my fate. The Yank at the next table was telling his Japanese colleague all about the Chicago Cubs. But I know he didn’t understand a word because the poor guy did what everyone does in that situation: Nod profusely. So polite.

Every hour on the hour, the life-sized 1950s Godzilla terrorizes 2010s Tokyo with lights and sound.

Dusk approaches, and Shinjuku comes alive.

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