2/4~2/6/2011: Tokyo Weekend Trip

Another long bullet point post ahead! Cece, Thomas, and I left for Tokyo for the whole weekend after class on Friday! Let’s just say it was a long and fun trip, but hits your wallet hard.

Tokyo; Akihabara (Friday)

  • Left for Tokyo right after class. It’s a pretty long train ride, approximately 2 hours and costing around $30 one way. I slept most of the train ride there.
  • We arrived at our hotel that we had secretly booked only 2 people, though there were 3 of us.
  • Went to Akihabara with the intent of looking for and buying denshi jisho (electronic dictionary). They’re expensive, as expected, ranging from $300-$500. Though I really want one, I should do more research before buying one. I’m thinking maybe the best would be to find one online?
  • I forgot the name of the building we went inside, but it had 8 floors and had every kind of electronics and technology: electronic dictionaries, cameras, computers, video games and consoles, phones, televisions, clocks, hair dryers, etc. Cece and Thomas bought Gundam models here too. On one floor there’s also a bookstore and Tower Records. I browsed through some CDs and DVDs, but they were expensive and nothing I really desired to have right at the time.
  • Restaurants on the top floor. We ate at a ramen place. The ramen and gyoza were pretty good, but nothing to rave home about.
  • Walked around Akihabara a bit afterward. Found a little sex shop that was interesting (and of course funny), but we didn’t feel adventurous enough to check out the floors. Looking at the floor names, they just sounded like they would get worse, haha.
  • Found an arcade where there was purikura on the third floor! It’s crazy how cheap purikura is in Japan! It’s about 400 yen, compared to ones I’ve been to in California, which range from $10-12. Though Thomas was quite and seemed rather recluctant to do the purikura, I think he secretly had fun. 😛
  • The one to the left is one of my favorites.
  • I LOVE that you can have the machines send the purikura to your phone via the infrared function! (The same technology that allowed you and another person to exchange numbers just by having your phones next to each other) The images are of good quality and of surprisingly larger resolutions than I expected (480×674).
  • Everything was starting to close, so we returned back to our hotel.

Tokyo; Tsukiji, Odaiba (Saturday)

  • Woke up rather late the following day and went to Tsukiji, which is well known for its fish market.
  • We ate at an unadon restaurant that Thomas had been to before. That was seriously THE best breakfast ever.
  • Wandered around Tsukiji and checked out all the stands.
  • Huge variety of fish and food for sale. Thomas bought some fried egg for 100 yen that was absolutely DELICIOUS. I want to go back and eat in Tsukiji all over again. ♥
  • We were about to leave and take the train to Odaiba, but decided to check out a garden in the opposite direction.
  • Going to Hamarikyu Gardens turned out to be a good idea because we were able to take a ferry at 4 to Odaiba for only 500 yen.
  • The garden was very pretty and peaceful, and I took a lot of pictures. A lot of the trees and flowers were not in bloom, since spring has not really started yet, but there were a few cherry and plum blossoms here and there!
  • For some reason, there are a lot of cats that just wander around the garden.
  • I imagine that the garden is stunning in the spring, when everything is in bloom.
  • Left for Odaiba at 4 via the ferry, which was a very scenic ride.
  • We were able to see Rainbow Bridge and the Fuji Television Station building.
  • When we arrived in Odaiba, the sun was already setting, so everything looked pretty from the dock.
  • First, we went inside the Aqua City shopping mall. There are so many stores with so many cute clothes! I bought some long socks that go over the knees and a pair of leggings at store that sells nothing but leggings, socks, underwear, and pajamas. It was a great deal, because I got three pairs of socks for about 1050 yen.
  • Also bought two hair ties in a jewelry/beads/stones/accessories store on the first floor. One has a black ribbon on it, the other a pink ribbon. Maybe they were a little more expensive than hair ties should be, but they were too cute to pass up!
  • I forgot the name of the restaurant we ate at, but everything they serve has a rich layer of cheese on top. I had chicken and mushrooms in sukiyaki sauce. It was an interesting and yummy dinner. Yes, it may sound odd to throw cheese on top of that, but don’t hesitate to try it!
  • We left Aqua City to go to the other shopping mall, Decks. In between, we got excited because we spotted a takoyaki shop! Unfortunately, it was a bad experience. The takoyaki was undercooked and went down your throat like hot sludge. The two guys working there wouldn’t let us take pictures either.
  • A lot of stores were starting to close, but I did get to take a look at some shoes. Sadly, the two shoes I took interest in were slightly too small, though they are the largest size they offer, LL!
  • Across from that store was a Condomania. I had heard about these shops before, but it was my first time seeing one. Besides normal condoms, they’ve got cute ones too (would you like a Rilakkuma one?) they also have some gag joke items, like superman condoms and some odd keychains and various knick knacks that make for a good laugh. There were also some things that you just look at and wonder what they’re for, haha.
  • Everything was closing, so we decided we wanted to go to Shibuya and get some drinks before returning to our apartments.
  • We tried to find the same izakaya that Cece and I had went to with her friends when we first arrived in Tokyo. We couldn’t find it, but we were approached by some guy who showed us a menu of the restaurant he works for and brought us to the place.
  • We all had about 3 drinks, some chicken karage, and fried rice in the hour limit we had. I had a sour peach and sour apple drink that were yummy, but I didn’t finish my oolong drink that wasn’t very good. When we left, Cece and I were both fairly drunk, while Thomas was just fine. 韓国人だから(笑)
  • We had about 8 stops to go and I was dying to use the bathroom, so we got off somewhere and Cece and I used the bathroom. I felt bad for Thomas, but we were able to get back to the hotel in time.

Tokyo; Shinjuku, Harajuku (Sunday)

  • Left for Shinjuku, ate at a western-style looking restaurant in Keio Department store. My lunch set was called rinkou and included oyakodon, zarusoba, and a small bowl of sweet red beans and 2 mochi balls.
  • Arrived in Shinjuku! It’s definitely a lot different than the small, quiet town of Tsuru, with its bustling crowds of people, and fashionably dressed girls with golden hair. Cece and I went inside Shibuya 109, which is 8 floors of shopping heaven. Every floor is packed with different clothing brands. I mainly was looking for shoes, though it was hard since my feet are so big. In the end though, I was able to buy a pair thanks to a very helpful clerk at a shop called FLAG-J. She found an LL size brown ankle boots that were able to fit me. I showed her the boots I was wearing and how old they were, and she laughed at how they were falling apart. The shoes were ¥13650… (shh!) I have never spent that much money on shoes before, but they turned out to be leather and look very durable. 
  • I also bought a little purse that I could not pass up because it was on sale for around ¥2900.
  • So I spent my money mostly here, and the rest was just spent on food or transporation for the rest of the trip. Compared to Cece and Thomas, I don’t feel bad at all with the amount of money I spent on this weekend occasion.
  • After Shinjuku, we walked to Harajuku. I suppose since it was close to the evening, we didn’t see very many interesting costumes, though there were two groups of girls dressed as visual-kei groups, and a few passing lolitas here and there.
  • Walked through two streets packed with people, clothing shops, and tiny shops full of JE and male and female idol group products for sale.
  • Wandered into Omotesando, which is a district full of expensive brand names like D&G, Burberry, and Coach.
  • Ate at a restaurant that was rather pricey. Their food is Japanese, but with a modern, western twist to them. Thomas had some fried chicken, Cece had some potatoes and fried rice, and I had a korean-style okonomiyaki. The dishes had good presentation and tasted good, and I was satisfied, but I wouldn’t recommend the place if you are super hungry, as the portions are small but pricey. Our waiter looked a little like Mizushima Hiro, so it was okay. LOL, I can’t believe Cece told him that too! He denied, but he kinda did, with the hair during Hana Kimi and Mei-chan no Shitsuji Days.
  • Arrived back in Tsuru around 10 p.m. Studied and did my homework, but I was definitely very tired the next day. All the teachers commented on how tired we all were.

Today we met Thomas’s host mother and her cute son, Kotaro. The ko in Kotaro’s character is the same as the character for “tiger.” 強くになるでしょう。:) Fumi-san drove us to the hotel that her husband works at, and that was where we met Thomas’s host mother. Lunch was on Fumi-san, who treated us to the buffet. Everything was delicious. I had chawanmushi for the first time. They had Japanese, Chinese, and a few Western foods like pasta. The desserts were all small and pretty, and there was also fondue. I feel like I didn’t eat a lot, but I got really full. Perhaps my stomach has shrank already since I got to Japan? I was very sleepy on the drive back to our apartment and immediately took a nice, long nap upon returning to my apartment.

Very long entry, but finally got it all down before I forgot! Okay, well I’ve got a little bit of homework to do and some kanji to review (even if I had studied it yesterday, instead of the correct kanji list which was on today’s quiz. I still got 8/10, so it’s okay :P).


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