Just about everyone who visits Tokyo goes to Harajuku. Like Ginza, Akihabara and Shibuya, it’s one of those neighborhoods that is synonymous with Tokyo. It’s the pulsating center of Japanese youth culture, the place to go for checking out the latest street fashion, people watching (what’s up with all the girls dressed like they’re going to a Little Bo Peep convention?), and eating crepes.
Wait… did you say crepes? As in those super thin pancakes invented by the French?
Yes, crepes are yet another example of a foreign food that the Japanese have appropriated and reinterpreted in their own way. Harajuku has an abnormally high concentration of creperies, catering to the young and heavily female clientele. You can find them all along the pedestrian only Takeshita Street, though my family often ends up at Cafe Crepe located on another major street called Meiji Dori — the lines are shorter there and there’s more space to eat your crepe in peace.
So what does a Harajuku crepe look like? Some of them are relatively conventional: chocolate and whipped cream, fruit, some savory crepe options. But then things get a little crazy from there. How about a scoop of green tea ice cream, a slice of green tea cheesecake, and whipped cream? Or tiramisu, banana, whipped cream, and cocoa powder. Or creme broulee and fruit. Or banana, crispy pie crust, and chocolate sauce. Maybe a slice of cheesecake and strawberries covered in chocolate.
Essentially someone decided to cram several desserts into one. Is it crazy? Or is it genius? Maybe it just proves the old adage about the thin line between genius and insanity. But no matter where you come down on this debate, you would have to agree that it’s all very delicious.