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  • Writer's pictureTim and Lindsey

All in a day’s work in Tokyo (Day 193)

Dyslexia, Sushi, Road crossing, Cool as Cats, Galaxy and Hedgehogs… Yes, all in a day’s work for Grown Up Travellers here in Tokyo.

A lazy morning, chatting with Cleverson. We started to talk about education (one of our favourite subjects) and he mentioned that he was Dyslexic, but didn’t discover this until he was thinking of studying for a PhD. Later I asked Cleverson how he discovered he was Dyslexic. In 1999 he met a guy called Gareth Dale, who was an active socialist. After a time, he lost touch with him, Gareth had moved to Swansea. Life moved on. Five years later, Cleverson had completed his Masters and talked to his Professor about studying for a PhD – comparing building trade in London and Rio de Janeiro. His Professor got in touch with a colleague who was involved in micro-economics…and who should it be but Gareth Dale. Cleverson didn’t even know he was a Professor. Gareth asked him four questions: • Have you read any PhD thesis? • How are you going to pay? • How are you going to improve your English? • Are you Dyslexic? Dyslexic? Cleverson didn’t know what this meant; once he realised what it was, he enrolled on a course to take a test for free and found out he was Dyslexic. It was like a Lightbulb moment for him. “Everything made sense. I could understand why I had so many difficulties in the past and how I now learn best.” We then proceeded to chat how the school system, which is based on Victorian methodology, really doesn’t cater for people with neuro-differences. Cleverson said that 10% of people are dyslexic, yet 35% of entrepreneurs are dyslexic. Interesting.

Our discussion continued as we travelled to Takadanobaba which is near to the church that Cleverson goes to. We found a Sushi café nearby and sat, eating and chatting – what fun. The food came around on the conveyor belt, eventually the ones we wanted had run out, so we requested items from the tablet in front of us. After a while, what looked like a carriage train zoomed around, stopping in front of us with our chosen food request. 15 plates later between us, it cost under £15.

We said our good byes and caught the train to Shibuya. One of the attractions we wanted to see was the Shibuya Crossing (included in the Lonely Planet’s top 500 list). Out from the station there was the enormous crossing where five major crosswalks meet. As soon as the traffic lights turn red and the pedestrian lights turn green, hordes of people cross the road. Great fun watching and being involved in the merry throng. We remembered that Cleverson had told us about a dog who used to meet his master, a professor, at Shibuya station every day until 1925 when the man sadly died. The dog would still take himself for a walk to station until his own death 10 years later. There is now a statue of Hachikō the dog in memory of him in front of Shibuya station. We wandered around and saw a statue of an owl. Tim quickly said “There was an owl who would poo in the same spot every day so they erected a statue of him” What a wit! Or should I write a twit twoo! Moving swiftly on, one of the suggestions to visit in this area is Cat Street. Apparently this is Tokyo Hipsters’ Paradise – obviously our kind of place. On the way we saw a real cool dude in his hippy camper. Peace signs were swapped, hey, we’re cool dudes as well, and a promotion for the Black Panther and Spiderman movies…Tim couldn’t resist having his photo taken.

We reached Cat Street and surrounding areas with its used and vintage shops, cool boutiques where I did try on a lovely long dress for our niece’s wedding in August. It fitted well, however the colours just seemed too bright. Later we walked past a Galaxy showcase for the latest Galaxy S9/S9+. It was a free entertainment zone where we could try lots of the new features of the phone – we got free drinks, made an emoji of us each, rowing completion to compare our fitness levels, virtual reality snow-boarding and skeleton run, where the assistant kept saying 3…2…1…Agassy. Ah…the Japanese find it difficult to say their “Ls”, she was trying to say “Galaxy”! It was so funny watching some of the young ladies on these machines – lots of shrieks from 1 in particular, even the assistants tried hard not to laugh. There was a competition for a free Galaxy S9…sadly we didn’t win. The staff were very impressed that Tim and I have a Galaxy S8 and S7 respectively. (Obviously I have Tim’s reject phone when he got an upgrade - I think Tim is very tempted for another upgrade now!) We had heard about the weird and wonderful cafes in Tokyo, in fact Abi the Australian we met yesterday had been to Harry Hedgehog Cafe and highly recommended it, so I suggested we had a look to see where it was. Would you believe it! It was just 5 minutes’ walk away. We got the lift to the 4th floor and entered a room with lots of tanks with a few hedgehogs in each. These are all about 4 to 6 months old, so have been weaned from their Mums; many different colours from the more common “Salt and Pepper” to the rarer “Apricot” breed. A lovely young lady, Natalie who is half Australian and half Japanese served us, such a lovely girl and adores animals. We are sure that there are many people who are concerned for the animal welfare. They did all seem quite happy, and in a way, what is different to these as to domestic dogs and cats. They were well fed, well looked after. I have mixed views – sitting on the fence for this one. They were very cute. We eventually got back home after catching a bus the wrong way. All in a day’s work for #GrownUpTravellers.

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