Jenna in Japan

My Random Adventures in Japan

Jenna in Japan

My Random Adventures in Japan

Jenna in Japan

My Random Adventures in Japan

Jenna in Japan

My Random Adventures in Japan

Jenna in Japan

My Random Adventures in Japan

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Summer 9: Heading For Kyoto

 On the 22nd we headed for Kyoto. We took the ferry from Toi to Shimizu. From there we took a short shuttle bus to the station and then a local train and a shinkansen. It took about 3 hours in total. Kyoto is quite a bit further from me than Tokyo, but it doesn't take that much more time to get there. It takes me about 2 and a half hours to get to Tokyo.

The ferry was a lot of fun. I've lived here five months now and had not been on the ferry yet. I definitely want to go on it again!

It was really hazy out, but it was still pretty. We couldn't see Mt. Fuji at all. I've heard that the views of Mt Fuji from the ferry are really great in the winter.

This was a vending machine on the ferry. I didn't try anything from it, but maybe I should someday. I doubt it's very good, but I still want to try.

I did buy ice cream though!

Here we are arriving in Shimizu.

At Shizuoka Station I bought a Yuzu Green Tea Frappuccino.

We both bought food on the shinkansen. I had the cheez-it-ish crackers. They're really good! :)

Here's a view from the window.

When we arrived in Kyoto Station we looked at a couple of the gift stores.

Kyoto Station looks much nicer than most of the train stations I've seen in Japan.

While searching for a place to eat dinner, we came across many restaurants selling parfaits. That big one costs almost 30 dollars!

We ended up eating pizza at an "Italian" restaurant and then searched for a place to do karaoke.

Haha, we sang Phantom of the Opera.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Summer 8: Izu

Izu isn't as interesting as Tokyo, but we still found some things to do.

One day we went to Mishima and saw a movie. It's called Karigurashi no Arrietty, which means "The Borrower Arrietty." It's a Studio Ghibli movie, which is a famous Japanese animation studio. It was all in Japanese without subtitles, but we were still able to understand the movie. It was really cute and had super pretty animation.

 Here's a trailer for the movie: 

One evening we took a walk along the coast. I posed with the random statue at the Travelers' Cape.

 The next afternoon we visited the Toi Gold Mine gift shop. The gold mine was already closed so we didn't visit that, but I still took my picture with this statue.

The Toi Summer Festival was going on while we were in Toi, so we went to that.


The fireworks were impressive for such a small town. Plus, they do the same fireworks four nights in a row!
It's nice that you have many days to see the fireworks, but I think they should combine the fireworks of all four nights into one. It would be awesome!

Some of the fireworks had parachutes on the end. These lingered in the air for a minute or so.

This is some random ship thing at the festival.

Summer 7: Asakusa

On our last day in Tokyo we visited Asakusa. Before checking out of the hotel I took a few pictures of the room.

This is the street the hotel was on.

When we arrived in Asakusa I saw rickshaws.

There is a street lined with souvenir shops leading up to Senso-ji, Tokyo's oldest temple.

There was a random gingerbread house ride in the distance. I kind of want to ride it.

 Here you can see the Tokyo Sky Tree under construction in the distance.

On the way back down the shopping street, I bought some plum ice cream.

I also bought a kokeshi doll. It's so cute!

We ate at a Chinese restaurant for lunch. I was amused by the Chinese people sitting at the table next to us because they were pointing at stuff on the menu and laughing. I guess it wasn't very authentic.

After Asakusa we headed towards Toi. We took a subway back to Tokyo Station and then took a 2 hour train to Mishima. There was a festival thing going on outside Mishima Station. 

We then got on another train for a half hour to get to Shuzenji. There Lauren got her picture taken with the super impressive "Welcome to Izu" sign.

Then we took a bus for an hour to get to Toi. It's a long trip!

I was playing a video game on my DS (Okay, it's Pokemon... I'll admit it.) and wasn't paying attention and I missed the stop where we were supposed to get off.  Luckily I noticed pretty quickly and we got off at the stop near the grocery. The grocery store is about 15 minutes from my apartment so it wasn't too bad, but it was annoying to have to drag our luggage all that way. I think I need to ban myself from playing video games on the bus. This is the 2nd time it's gotten me into trouble. The first time was when I got on the wrong bus. If I had been paying attention I would have quickly realized I was on the wrong bus and not ended up way out in the middle of nowhere. Oh well!

Summer 6: Yes, My Princess!

Lauren found a Butler Cafe online and we just had to visit it.

It's a cafe where you are treated like a princess. All the waiters... I mean butlers... are western. 

Here is how it is described on wikipedia:
"The cafe attempts to create an atmosphere reminiscent of a western fairy tale. The butlers treat the customers in a cordial manner by opening doors, taking coats and pulling out chairs, and tiaras are even presented with their meal. The butlers, down on bended knee, play games and, when desired, engage in English conversation as entertainment for the "princesses." A lift me up photo is even on the menu in which the customer can be lifted by the butler of her choice for a picture they later print out."

Yeah, it's as ridiculous as it sounds.


 Aren't the tiaras awesome? Hehehe! The plates under the plates with our food had our names, "Princess Lauren" and "Princess Jenna," written on them in chocolate. Do you see the bell on the table? It's very special. We rang it every time we wanted service and the butlers would all say in unison, "Yes, my princess!" It was hilarious and it was so hard to not completely burst out laughing.

All the other customers were Japanese women so I overheard some funny conversations that the butlers had with the other women. For example, one of the butlers asked one of the women what animals she liked. She said rabbits and so the butler then asked if she liked big or small rabbits best. I don't remember what her answer was, but the butler said, "Bunnies are cute." It reminded me of the strange conversations I have with my students, except it was even funnier in this situation.

For desert I bought the Princess Pancakes. They were pancakes with ice cream and chocolate and fruit sauces and a chocolate rose on top.

 We took advantage of the ridiculousness of the place and had our picture taken with one of the butlers.

A cheesy message was written on the back. He got Lauren and I confused. Lauren's says something like, "Good luck teaching in Japan" or something about teaching.

Hahahahaha.... overall it was a great experience. It is the most unique restaurant I have ever been to. It was ridiculous and cheesy, but that's what made it so fun and memorable!

After being treated like a princess, we headed to a store called Baby the Stars Shine Bright. It's a high-end lolita clothing store (wikipedia article).  We both bought knee socks. The girls working in the store took a long time packaging them and then led us to the door and bowed as we left the store. The even kept bowing as we walked away.

I took pictures as I unwrapped my purchase later. The bag was sealed with a sticker and a ribbon.

Inside the bag was a plastic bag. There was nothing in the bag, but they used it to cover the next layer.

The socks were neatly wrapped up in tissue paper. A postcard was also inside the bag.

There are the socks!

That night we went to Ginza. We didn't really do much shopping (a lot of the stores were already closed), but it was fun to walk around. It was my first time in Ginza at night. I loved all the bright lights. :)

There was a TV screen playing a tire commercial with Leonardo DiCaprio. It's always funny seeing American celebrities on Japanese TV, so Lauren wanted a picture with it. I was trying to get a picture of her with it. Some guy saw us and asked if we wanted our picture together.  Ummm, it was nice of him to offer, but he really didn't do a very good job.

 Next, we headed to Akihabara to visit Yodobashi Camera. I still have money left on my point card so I "bought" a yoshi stuffed animal and a cute Disney puzzle! It's a stained glass puzzle so the pieces are translucent. It's really unique.