Today I was lost in thought as I marveled at the nearly 100 girls lined up and waiting their turn to get into a shop called Johnny's. Yesterday I saw the same line, but today I followed it to the end to see what it was they were in queue for. Up until one minute ago I thought Johnny's was a restaurant but some googling tells me it is a store that sells fan merchandise for pop artists that are managed by someone called Johnny. http://www.johnnys-net.jp/page?id=index&lang=en_us
As I followed the line, I turned off the alley into another world, just one block from the herding masses. On this street there were houses, some in the old wooden style, with small gardens and garages, not a soul in sight. (Not realizing that this block was the scene of a future happy memory I didn't photograph it with my phone)
It was lunchtime but I was more thirsty than hungry, pretty tired, and my phone was at 18%. The blackboard had the word "lunch" but the rest was in Japanese. I walked through the back door and into an open air restaurant on a hill, where the front overlooked some buildings, a construction site, and the busy Takeshita Street just far enough away to not hear the hawkers and their singsong pitches. There was a big balcony with comfy chairs, several tables with fashionable women and their tiny dogs, and a man with a long, gray beard like from a samurai movie.
The lunch price wasn't just reasonable, it was a downright bargain. For $11, I chose the sashimi avocado rice bowl, and it came with a salad buffet with fresh veggies, miso soup, good bread, iced tea--green and black, and hot tea and coffee. The breeze was cool on this hot day, the music was on the rock and roll end of the pop spectrum, and the atmosphere was elegant, adult, and low key.
Completely refreshed, thrilled to have found this hidden spot, so close to the nuttiness of Harajuku, but worlds away in tone, I continued my day with a new spirit.