Japan, Tokyo

[Moshi! Moshi! Day 1 – Tokyo, Japan]

December 26, 2014

Waking up in our koala suite made me not want to leave the room at all. The views outside were beautiful and as the sun was rising we noticed an entire park of people doing synchronized morning exercises (tai chi? unclear…) with absolutely no way to see each other. Amazing.

Not too shabby wake-up

Not too shabby wake-up

SO, why are we up so early? Well, we decided we’d make the best of day one and try to find the Tsukiji Fish Market. Unfortunately for us….three transfers later and we found out it was a holiday and thus, closed. We turned around and went to Shibuya instead where we stopped in Gontran Cherrier Tokyo.

Good morning Shibuya!

Good morning Shibuya!

Time for a walk....

Time for a walk….

Some good old breakfast pastries

Some good old breakfast pastries

 

With nothing open for another half hour, we walked up the street to another Foursquare find, Streamer Coffee [1F 1-20-28, Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo ] . Barista Hiroshi Sawada was the first Asian to win at the Seattle Free Pour Latte Championship. Their latte art and combinations speak for themselves…

Sitting down for a latte, military donuts were left unharmed

Sitting down for a latte, military donuts were left unharmed

Military Lattes - Matcha, White Chocolate + Espresso

Military Lattes – Matcha, White Chocolate + Espresso

Now that things were starting to open up (keep in mind it was Monday) we strolled down to the BIC camera store and wound in and out of the streets of Shibuya until we found my new love: Don Quijote, a bargain megastore that had as many useless knicknacks as it did neon lights and frenetic music. I was in heaven. With even the sock section being overstimulating to all the senses, we had to leave shortly there after.

Hello Shibuya!

Hello Shibuya!

Wondering if they have any DVDs in Japan, for purchase, maybe?

Wondering if they have any DVDs in Japan, for purchase, maybe?

Overwhelmed. Overwhelmed.

Overwhelmed. Overwhelmed.

Oooh personal humidifiers, sony lenses...Hello Kitty polaroid?

Oooh personal humidifiers, sony lenses…Hello Kitty polaroid?

I needed a directory, Ben said hi to Hello Kitty

I needed a directory, Ben said hi to Hello Kitty

We stopped in the basement arcade. Ben fit right in.

We stopped in the basement arcade. Ben fit right in.

WHY DIDN'T I BUY THESE $3 SUNGLASSES. #fail

WHY DIDN’T I BUY THESE $3 SUNGLASSES. #fail

One last quick stop by this little store en route to Harajuku

One last quick stop by this little store en route to Harajuku

Almost purchased some Birthday Bunko. They seemed to have a surplus...

Almost purchased some Birthday Bunko. They seemed to have a surplus…

After some wandering, shopping we stopped by Kiddyland and then Harajuku. Kiddyland was necessary because everyone visiting Tokyo should stop by at least one toy store to fully experience the wonders of Japanese toys. Also they make great souvenirs.

Rule #1: Stay alert, lots of shiny things are here

Rule #1: Stay alert, lots of shiny things are here

Rule #2: Don't eat the squishy pets of the plastic foods

Rule #2: Don’t eat the squishy pets of the plastic foods

Rule #3: Always pic up the omelet sushi plushies. Don't eat, don't eat, I repeat....don't put merchandise in your mouth.

Rule #3: Always pic up the omelet sushi plushies. Don’t eat, don’t eat, I repeat….don’t put merchandise in your mouth.

Rule #4: Toy Story isn't real, that bear whispering secrets is the only one that can speak because it has magic powers.

Rule #4: Toy Story isn’t real, that bear whispering secrets is the only one that can speak because it has magic powers.

We finally to Harajuku. For those unfamiliar with the area outside of the Gwen Stefani lyrics, it is basically an area bordering Shibuya where the east village of Tokyo exists. With that, much like the pseudo punk clothespin culture fashion of NYC’s lower east side comes the young people of Tokyo who toe the line between cute and full blown Sailor Moon outfit. In both cases, whether it’s for you or not, just very cool to see people expressing themselves so freely.

Huzzah, shopping!

Huzzah, shopping!

Lots of options

Lots of options

Hard not to stop for crepes, gotta push through distractions

Hard not to stop for crepes, gotta push through distractions

Harajuku-ing it up

Harajuku-ing it up

In a packed crowd

In a packed crowd

Looking at crepes again...

Looking at crepes again…

We stopped shopping for a minute to grab lunch at a nearby underground Udon place.

SO gooood

SO gooood

Yummy

Yummy

Noodles for everyone!

Noodles for everyone!

Our feet feeling tired and our early start time had us slowing down but we tried to fit in a quick visit to the Meiji Jingu Shrine which was essentially at the end of the street.

I made Ben pose

I made Ben pose

Then I made him take my picture

Then I made him take my picture

We made our way down

We made our way down

The path was paved with barrels

The path was paved with barrels

We made it to the shrine

We made it to the shrine

Took some more pictures

Took some more pictures

Found someone to take the only picture of us actually together

Found someone to take the only picture of us actually together

Thank you stranger!

Thank you stranger!

Closing time

Closing time

After that we headed back to the hotel for some much needed downtime before heading out for dinner. Once back in the hotel we took a nap, I accidentally found out what the “shower” button does on the toilet (still unclear why people would want that…). When we finally recovered the flooded hotel room, we headed out for some Okonomiyaki and a unforgettable cocktail at Star Bar. I will have to warn you that I took no pictures at Star Bar but it is definitely an experience not easily described. Also plan on staying for several drinks as there is essentially a cover charge.

Ready to eat

Ready to eat

sooooo delicious

sooooo delicious

What you are looking at above is essentially a puffy pancake full of savory goodness on a griddle. I’d say its something akin to a corn fritter.

Anyways, we made it home and as a parting gift….here is a video of me trying to get Ben a dollar beer from the hotel vending machine. (Apologies for the quality, I uploaded this video with no wifi, thus it is not HD quality – will update later)

 

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