Trip to Japan : Day 4

This is gonna be a huge post.

Day 4 : Ikebukuro + Tokyo Sky Tree + Asakusa + Akasaka + Tokyo Tower.
Yep. All in a day. We're as crazy as they come.

1st Stop : Ikebukuro

We went into Starbucks as soon as we reached. Yes, we always need something in the morning. It's our most peckish hour of the day. Everything's the same as in Singapore only that they have 1 extra size : Small.

Our drinks on our table. Yes, we had to split up.

I foolishly got small. I freaking got a children's meal size cuppa iced tea.

You think I would be used to the tiny size by now. And don't judge me cause I don't like coffee.
Anyway, 1 main thing to do in any country's Starbucks is to get their exclusive tumbler only avaliable in that particular country. Starbucks and their genius marketing. KK and BP both got 1, I passed on the offer.

The reason we are in Ikebukuro is just to head to Tokyu Hands. And if there's time to spare, spend some time in a Cat Cafe, part of what Ikebukuro's known for.

Got my hands on one of their card holder. Cutest thing!

And a surprise! There's a Cat Cafe located on 8th floor of Tokyu Hands called Nekobukuro (ねこぶくろ). Subtle, I know. So up we go! There's an entrance fee of ¥800 for an hour. We were told that there's a TV crew inside filming and if we mind it. We don't.

There's a huge Jiji outside the entrance to the Cat Cafe!!

You'll be given 3 cat tibits for the cats. And spend 1 hour being in bliss. Only to find out that we are running late. So we hopped onto the train as fast as we possibly can and started heading towards the Tokyo Sky Tree.

2nd Stop : Tokyo Sky Tree

View of the Sky Tree once you're out of the station.

There's a omiyage shop right in front of the station gates selling the usuals, Tokyo banana and all. Do take note as some of the products like the strawberry cake are only avaliable there. And also their very very very short expiry date. I have to forgo getting the cakes for my Aunt as by the time I am to head back to Singapore, it expired.

It around 2 ~ 3pm ++ by then so the first thing we do is to look for lunch. We found a Gyoza place that looks really good and started queuing up. Once in, each of us ordered a Gyoza set and the waitress did a double take.

”  みっ…三つですか?”     " Thr… Three sets? "
” はい。そうです。 ”       " Yep. "
” かしこまりました。 ”      " Okay. "

Should had taken that as a warning sign. The japanese don't do double takes. Once they do, you know something will be horribly wrong. I did saw the food sample outside so I had an inkling of what was to come.

My Oolong tea. Really good and perfectly paired with Gyoza.

Sauce prepared! All it needs is some Gyoza to be dipped in…
Yep, that's beer BP's holding. It's so cheap in Japan that she's drinking it very chance she's got.

And yes, 3 Gyoza sets…

Just to say, the Gyoza's freaking huge. It's about the same size as a banana. And each set comes with 8 of those bananas. Oh crap. Oh crap oh crap oh crap. You need to be there to know the size of those things to completely grasp our horror. It's like a mini mountain of bananas horror. Even the group sitting next table to us took a look and went " OMG. You guys made a mistake didn't you? ". Yes we did. Oh we did.

But thanks to them opening up the commuication channel, we (me & BP) took the chance to offer them a piece of Gyoza. Poor KK's seated too far to be in the channel. Whew. At least that's 1 banana horror down. It's a 6 person group. It took 3 of them to finish 1 banana gyoza. We had arduous task ahead of us. Time to attack! But boy, those bananas gyoza sure tasted very good.

And it's really good to know Japanese, chatting with the locals sitting next to us was a really fun exprience. Although their misconception runs really deep. We had been chatting for a while now in our silted Japanese and when they asked where we're from, they cannot comprend Singapore at first. " EH?! You're not Japanese?!? " Mind you, our Japanese sounds weird even to us, how can you not tell?! But then it's all good once they got over that fact, plus 1 of them had been to Singapore.

" Ah! 1 thing I learned about Singapore is that it's not ' MA-lion ', it's ' MER-lion '. When I ask where ' MA-lion ' is, no one understands me! "

'Ma-lion' is how they pronounced it, due to idiot katakana-ization. Good thing they are willing to learn the real pronunciation. Oh yes, about the bananas gyoza issue. We lost. But I have to argued we did try our best. I had only 2 remaining, which means I tackled 5 bananas on my own! That's a very good result to me! After that defeat, we went for a dash towards the omiyage store as we are really running late.

You can see Sakura from where you're standing!

It's near the toilet so no, we're not distracted from our goal.

Once in, we grab a few omiyage for ourselves, to marked the day we've been to Sky Tree. BP got a very beautiful necklance, I got some magnets and KK got magnets and pens. Afterwhich we had to rushed over to the station once again for our next destination. Yes. We can proudly brag that we went to Tokyo Sky tree to eat some bananas gyoza and to get some magnets. Wonderful. Don't attempt this at home kids, it's not fun. Do leave a full day if you can because we missed a millions of things out.

3rd Stop : Asakusa

At the station.

Yes, Sky Tree got their own line.

Here's how the station look like.

On our way over to Asakusa. You CANNOT miss this.

I had to get the picture of the famous GOLDEN SPERM. Okay, I kid, but you have to admit that it looks like it.

Beginning of Asakusa, headed directly for the shrine.

I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

You'll see figures like this all over. Yes, they're not real.

Back view.

Front view.

Right in front of the fire hydrant.

Finally! The shrine is getting closer.

When you enter this part of the path, there's a lot of shops lines on both the left and right side so do take a look as you walk cause they do sell interesting stuff.

Like masks.

Considering… It's ¥2000 each and we deemed it as too expensive.

Sakura's line the path once the shops ended.

And you'll finally see the shrine.

Sakura time!

Very near! Please ignore the grumpy man face.

The famous lantern!

It's really huge!

Once you go past the giant lanterns.

The Tengu's grass slippers.

BP & KK went to get their fortunes while I hang around the sakuras as I don't belive in those. Both of their reasons aren't that grand either. They heard that the english fortunes are hilarious and they wanna find out if it's true. It was. They said the english is horrible and almost incomprehensible so they left it tied up.

You'll be able to see the Sky Tree from here.

And then we had to rush over to Akasaka.

4th Stop : Akasaka

Nearing the reason why we rushed so much.

This is the reason.

The Akasaka Ninja Resturant. We made an appointment at 7pm and sad to say, we're late for about 15 ~ 30mins. We apologized but they told us it's okay.

The person-in-charged will then ask if you prefer a english Ninja guide or a japanese one and she recommended the latter which we took up. Then, after clapping twice, she yelled for a Ninja. 1 part of the wall spun and Kunoichi pop out. We are then refered to as Ohime-sama (princess) and that she'll guide us safely through the passage. It was really fun, we had to climb up stairs, sometimes to bend over, all in very dim lighting while our kuoichi guide amuse us. Then we reached a wall.

" Oh no! I can't do this on my own. Ohime-Sama, please lend me your strength! "

We then 'Nin-Nin' in loud voices (I thought Ninja value stealth more?) and a bridge is lowered down.

" Let us foward, Ohime-Sama! Be careful! "
" Please look to the right for this is our sacred fountain. You thrown coins in and pray for your wishes to come true! "

Yes, it's never boring.

After that, she then lead us to our room, named 水の間, the room of water.

The wall of our room. The pattern on the wall glows in the dark after our kuoichi showed us.
" But you'll spill your food all over yourselves so I'll turn on the light, Ohima-Sama. "
Great sense of humor, our Kunoichi.

The light.

Afterwhich she'll present us a scroll… of beverages. Of cocktails and mocktails not inclusive in the set menus. It's a special product from their ninja village, she said. We each got a cocktail and she disappeared after, promising she'll be back!

She kept her promise, though sounding very terminator-ish, with our cocktails.

Our cocktails. It's delish, by the way.

I'm not kidding, it's really good.

And she then hand us the menu, a normal one instead of a scroll. Why oh why. Do note the prices are steep here, about ¥5500 ~ ¥10'000, not inclusive of drinks. BP & KK got fish while I go for pork just to have more variety. Both are Yamato Spirit Course at ¥6999.

Yes, 'Nin-Nin' is a must for Ohime-Samas.

Just for you.

Our appetizers came.

Shuriken Style Blades Grissini.

To be taken with foie gras.

It's my 1st time eating foie gras but to my surprise, it's rather good.
Our kunoichi told us the shuriken can be eaten and I went in asking if the twigs can be too. Sometimes I like toying with people. Twigs are a negative and I went awwww.

Today's special! KK can't eat raw fish so BP & me get to polish it off for her.

Turban Shell Bombs with Garlic Butter

These things comes on a plate, lined up one after another. Then our kunoichi went and light it up with fire. And BOOM. Yes, it's really a bomb. I yelled for the sake of it.
"Ah! Thank you Ohime-Sama for playing along! "
You're welcome. I forgot to take pictures of the mystery dish but basically it's a black korokke.

Autumn vegetable cocktail topped with whipped Japanese stock.
Me no like veggie so off to BP & KK it goes!

Special stone-boiled soup (Japanese bouillabaisse).

This is cooked right in front of you using a hot stone. I asked again if I can devour the stone as well. " Eh?! If you can you're so much stronger then us! "

Ninja-Style Cream Puff.
It's horrible. Yes, all 3 of us yelled that out 3 times. There's half-cooked salmon inside.

Sherbet candy in autumn flavors. It's okay. Noticed the uneaten cream puff?

My Main Dish! Black Vinegard Pork!

BP & KK fish!
BP then decided that she don't wanna eat fish so we exchanged our main dish.

My 2nd cocktail of the day. Seriously, their cocktails are good.

Afterwhich a magician came over and we had a show.

I get to keep this.


Most of it is really good with the only exception being the cream puff. Comes up close to ¥10'000 each but it's worth it.
So it's off to Tokyo Tower we go!!

5th Stop : Tokyo Tower

Walking over from the station.

Right in front of our eyes!!

Man, I'm still bias towards my Tokyo Tower. I just like the stripped white & red so much more!!

Smaller version in their lobby.

Do get their mineral water bottle shapped in the tower itself.

Promoting The Lego Movie! ~Everyday's Awesome!~ Yea it is!

Including a lego tower.

We then got tickets to go up the tower.

Tokyo's night view from the tower!!

Afterwhich we then head back home/hotel after a long and exhausting day.
Phew! That's day 4! And also the last day in Tokyo, we'll be heading over to Osaka!

Review :
Never try and cramp as many places as we did in 4 days as we spending the entire time running from 1 place to another without enough time to fully enjoy each spot.
Next time, I'm spend 10 days in Tokyo!


Trip to Japan : Day 3


Day 3!!
It's the day of Akihabara + Harajuku.

It's also the day in which we found out that no matter how many onigiris we glomp in our hotel room pior to heading out, we can never muster the strength to do anything unless we get our breakfast outside before starting.

Which is why our first stop is the-all-famous Gundam cafe in Akihabara!!
It's rather easy to find, a stone's throw from the station. Forgive the missing pictures, I just can't muster up any strength.
Anyway, once you enter, you'll be guided to your seats. They do have waiter/waitress trained in english so it's easier then usual. They'll most likely hand you an english menu so for those who want to know the Japanese names of the dishes, you'll have to wait till you're at the counter to order.

The table. With our drinks.

Our number tag.

How adorable is this?

KK ordered latte.

It comes with Haro's cacao form!

BP's Meal. Cream sauce Humburg with pasta as a side dish + rice combo.

Mine. Hayashi rice with Haro's (?) face if I'm correct…

KK's. Hamburg with pasta as a side dish + garlic bread.

Full View.

They all taste pretty okay though really pretty to look at. For those Gundam fans, like KK, will realize what they are supposed to be but for those non-fans like me will most likely be clueless and just take them as an artform. Sorry about not taking any pictures of the interior of the cafe cause I feel really awkward to go around taking picture while others are sitting just next to where you are snapping away just eating. People are doing it but it's just me. It's morning + I haven't got my breakfast yet + not many people (so most eyes will be zooming on you). So for those who wanna know how the interior decor is like, go visit.

Ohhh. KK took pictures!

From where we're sitting.

Point of attention : Glass Door.

Their gift shop is right next to the cafe so do take a peek. They offer loads of cute stuff that ranges from food ~ umbrellas. KK when slightly nuts there.

Yes, they sell Gundam dorayaki.

Unfortunately, it had been raining since morning and it's not letting up any time soon. So we actually walk through Akihabara in the rain. Not the best condition. Plus I'm bad and grumpy with rainy days. So I need to apologize to both KK and BP cause I am literally bringing down the mood.
KK wanted a Nintendo 3DS and heard that it's cheaper to get it in Japan. Region-lock be damned but she mostly plays japanese games anyway so it's not a bother. We compared a few prices and found out that a brand new 3DS is not much different from a 2nd-handed one.

I loved the fact that there's 2nd-hand games just about everywhere. Since my DS lite is still working fine (plus there's no region-lock on that one), I'm free to go crazy getting all the games. I got a couple of Kindaichi, plus one with a crossover with Conan, 1 Layton and even the Miles Edgeworth Investigations 2 which is not released in english for a very good price! Most of the games are about ¥1600+ (~$20) so it's cheap!!

We also ticked off KFC from our list of 'Fast-food to try in Japan'. Hurray!

After which we went to Harajuku!! The rain stopped and I'm finally waking up from my moody self.
Takeshita Dori is awesome! Once you step out from the station, the street in front of you is it. There are millions of clothes and the style ranges from everywhere to everywhere! Not to mention most of it is cheap! Think ¥1800.

I got this for ¥1600. It's comfy enough.

It has always been my dream to get to wear this kind of shoes as the weather in Singapore is way too hot and humid to do so. Mission accomplished!!

We also found the world's best omurice in this street as well. ¥1900 for a set meal. You get to customise your omurice + drink + salad + soup + dessert! But the main point is that it's delicious!! It's really good! That said, I'm really not too fond of taking pictures of food and usually dives stright into eating so I'm afraid there's no pictures regarding this heavenly omurice.

We are supposed to go to Laforet as well but I spend all my money on the street and all the shopping bags are getting heavy so we left for home/hotel.

And with that day 3's a wrap!

Ps :

Gari Gari Rich. Napoleon flavour.

Try it at your own risk. I got KK to buy it for me as a bet and it fired back on me. It's horrible. Like tomato stew frozen with chuncks of frozen tomato in it.