Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I ♥ Tokyo: Gardens, Skyscrapers, and a Cross-dresser

1_Ginza

My 7th trip in Tokyo started out in Ginza. One of my main goals in Tokyo was to buy clothes for the colder weather and this seemed like a good place to start.

But first I went to Itoya, which is one of my favorite stores EVER. It's just awesome. It has stationary and art supplies. The range of products is crazy. You can buy 100 yen pens, and pens well over 1 million yen. Crazyness...

Anyways... I didn't buy anything because I thought I might come back later to buy some large sheets of pretty Japanese paper and didn't really want to carry those around.

So then I went to Uniqlo and successfully found a sweater, skirt, and some Heattech undershirts and leggings. The Heattech stuff is supposed to keep you warm. It's endorsed by Orlando Bloom, so it has to work... right?



Foreign celebrities in Japanese ads always entertain me, lol.

In Uniqlo I also found some really cute boots that I wanted. They had them in black and brown. They didn't have my size in black on the shelf, so I tried them on in brown.They fit and were comfortable and I really wanted them... but in black. So I asked one of the girls working there if they had them in my size. They didn't. :( Soooo... I decided I would try another Uniqlo later.

I went to Forever 21 next but I was kind of tired of shopping for clothes and I was really wanting those boots so I decided to head to Shinjuku because there's a Uniqlo there and I wanted to go there anyway.

On the way back to the station it was raining pretty hard and a warm drink sounded really good. I stopped at Starbucks. Apparently, it was the first Starbucks in Japan.

2_Ginza_Starbucks

When I arrived in Shibuya I went to Uniqlo first. However, I was disappointed because they didn't even carry the shoes that I wanted. Ugh! I hadn't realized before that the Uniqlo in Ginza is pretty big compared to some of the others.

I had planned on visiting some other stores after Uniqlo, but I decided to head to Ikebukuro instead. I remembered seeing a Uniqlo there before. I went there but it was really small and they didn't carry the shoes either. I was pretty sure there was another Uniqlo in Ikebukuro though.

I found it pretty quickly, which is good because I wouldn't have looked for very long because it was really pouring down then.

They had them! Yay!!!!! I was very glad I had finally found them. I wouldn't have searched so frantically for them if it hadn't been for the rain. My tennis shoes were completely soaked and I knew they wouldn't be dry by the next day and it was supposed to rain that day as well. So I was very happy to have dry shoes for the next day... and they would keep my feet dry too!

I can't remember if this was after buying the shoes or between the two Uniqlo stores in Ikebukuro, but at some point I went into Seiyu. It's owned by Walmart. I was interested in how it compared. This one was mostly just a grocery store with some basic cooking and office supplies (I think some of the larger stores sell a bigger variety of things like in the US). I was amused by the Great Value rice, ramen, and tofu.

3_Tofu

Stupid Walmart... I just can't escape it!

Also, at some point in Ikebukuro (my memory of that evening is so bad... I think it's because it was kind of a miserable rainy evening) I ate at Denny's. Yes, it's the same Denny's as in the US. Well... sort of. The name is just about the only similarity. The menu is completely different. I had hamburg (what they call a hamburger without the bun) with some sort of slightly spicy sauce, rice, and vegetables. The vegetables were eggplant, pumpkin, and renkon (lotus root). I loved it. :)

4_Dennys_Japan

Outside of Ikebukuro station there were some dance performances. It was still pouring down rain, but they still looked so happy! Even the groups who were waiting to dance looked happy. I didn't see one single dancer who looked miserable even though they were all completely soaked.

Finally (after having trouble finding the place to switch from the train to the subway) I made it to my capsule hotel. This was my first time in a capsule hotel. It didn't quite look how I expected. Most of the pictures I've seen of capsule hotels look like plastic or something. This one looked old, but it was clean. It was really cheap so it was fine considering what I paid.

5

6_Capsule_Hotel

The next morning it was still raining, but not nearly as hard as the night before. I ate breakfast at Becker's. I had toast (very buttery so it was good!), sausage, scrambled eggs, salad (lettuce, tomatoes, and green beans), and ginger ale. It was pretty American except for the salad.

7_Beckers

I saw several funny Docomo (cell phone company) ads around Tokyo. They're so random so I love them.

8_DarthVader

I went to Koishikawa Korakuen, which is a garden. It's really pretty and there was hardly anyone there so it was nice. The only bad thing about the garden is that you can still really hear the sounds of the city. You can even hear a roller coaster and the screams coming from it. It's still very nice and was definitely worth my time and money, but I prefer Rikugien, another garden I've been to in Tokyo.

It wasn't raining as I headed to the garden, but it started raining a little bit while I was there. It stopped again by the time I left though and it didn't rain any more for the rest of the day! :)

9_Koishikawa_Korakuen

11_Koishikawa_Korakuen

As I walked back to the station I passed by many Orange Osmanthus shrubs. They smelled really good! The petals were all over the sidewalk too.

14_Orange_Osmanthus

Then I headed to some area that I forgot the name of, but I wanted to go to the Book Off (It's a used bookstore. It's pretty much the Japanese equivalent of Half Price Books) there because it has a large selection of English books. I didn't buy any books, but I did buy some Japanese CDs.

I got pretty hungry so I went to Shibuya. I just wanted to go to Freshness Burger and the one in Shibuya was the only one I could think of. I love the bean veggie burger there and I was really craving one.

15_Shibuya

The restaurant was decorated for Halloween! This is the tree outside. Halloween isn't super popular in Japan, but I saw a lot of Halloween stuff in Tokyo. My favorite thing that I saw was a cup that said, "Merry Halloween."

16_Halloween_japan

Then I went to Hamamatsucho, where the Pokemon Center is. It's basically just a store with a lot of Pokemon merchandise. They also have a place where I think you can use the wireless to get a Pokemon on your game or something. Tons of people lined the walkway outside of the store and the majority of them were playing Pokemon. I wasn't too afraid to take this picture because they were all really into their games.

17_Pokemon_Center

As I was leaving, the guy in front of me was playing two DSes at once. He was really into the games and almost missed the bottom of the escalator.

Then I walked to the nearby Shidome area. It's an area of Tokyo with a bunch of tall buildings. There's not really a whole lot to do there except eat and go to a few shops, but I loved the area. It was really different than any other part of Tokyo that I've been to and had a nice atmosphere. I bought a Cadbury Fruit and Nut bar and ate the whole thing. It was great. :)

21_Shiodome

23_Shiodome

Next, I went to Harajuku. It was very crowded! I did some shopping at Forever 21 (I bought a nice warm scarf!).

26_Harajuku

I saw some awesome Harajuku fashion. I felt like a stalker when I took this picture, lol.

27_Harajuku

Then I went ahead and checked into my hotel in Ikebukuro. I headed back out to pick up some food from 7-11 and came across more dancing in the same area as the night before. They had the street closed off and it was like a parade. :)

28_Ikebukuro

At 7-11 I bought some Yakisoba and also Pumpkin Pocky! I went back to the hotel and ate the yakisoba and then went back out. I went to Shinjuku. I've been to Tokyo 6 times before but I had never been to the Kabukicho part of Shinjuku.

30_Shinjuku

I mostly just walked around and took pictures. I stopped in an arcade and played the Taiko game and tried to get a really cute cat plushie out of one of the claw machines, but I failed of course.

I really like going through Japanese arcades. There's almost always something interesting. They had a section of rhythm games and I saw some amazing skills. I didn't take this video, but it pretty much shows the skill levels I saw.


As I was heading back to Shinjuku station I passed a fruit stand and bought a piece of melon. This shows that my food tastes have changed since coming to Japan. I never liked melon before, but now I do. They also had pineapple, but I was more in the mood for melon. That never would have happened before I came to Japan!

32_melon

As I was standing there eating my melon, I head an interesting sound coming from across the street. I crossed the street to find out what was going on.


When I had been across the street I only heard the high pitched screeching so I thought it was a woman, lol. I stood there and watched him for quite a while. It was so horribly entertaining.

Back at the hotel I ate my pumpkin Pocky. Sooooo good! :) Before leaving the next morning I went back to 7-11 to buy some more because I didn't know if I'd be able to find it in Toi or not.

34_Pumpkin_pocky

The following morning was extremely clear and the weather felt perfect! This is a picture I took in Ikebukuro after I left the hotel.

35_Ikebukuro

I arrived in Ginza around 10:30 and most of the stores opened at 11, so it was pretty quiet.

36_Ginza

I went back to Itoya and bought some pens and then went to a few other stores. Around noon they closed off the street and set up tables and chairs.

37_Ginza

I wasn't sure where I was going to go for lunch. On the way back to the station I passed a Subway. I hadn't eaten at a Japanese subway yet (except I did get a cup of pineapple there when Lauren ate there). The menu has many similar things to the American menu but there are different things as well.

38_Subway_Japan

I got the cheese roasted chicken sub and melon soda. The cheese was a bit weird at first because it was a creamy cheese sauce and not normal cheese. But by the end I actually really liked it.

40_Subway_Japan

The napkin package was funny. It says "The Natural Ideal style of eating vegetable." What??? I expect to see things like this on many things in Japan, but it was unexpected from Subway. I would think that the American Subway would check these things. It's funny though. :)

39_Subway_Japan_Engrish

I went back to Ikebukuro and got ice cream at Baskin Robbins. I was really excited because they had mint chocolate chip ice cream and all the other Baskin Robbins I've been to have not had that flavor. However, I also saw a Carmel Apple Tart flavor and decided to try that instead. It was really good! Mint Chocolate Chip is still better, but this was a very nice flavor to enjoy outside in the fall weather! :)

42_Baskin_Robbins_Japan

I had a little bit of time left before I had to leave so I just hung around Ikebukuro for a little while more. I went to Sunshine 60 to look around the stores. I passed by the sign for the 60th floor observatory. I've been to the top of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building (which is free), so I wasn't sure if this would be worth 630 yen or not.

I got into the elevator, the attendant girls in cute uniforms bowed, and the doors closed. Then the lights went out for a second and these lights came on!

43_Sunshine_60_elevator

It was cool because it was unexpected. It's a very pretty elevator. It's fast too! The screen on the right shows the speed and it reached 600 meters per minute. I found an article from 2007 that listed the fastest elevators in the world and this was number 4. It's ranking has most likely dropped by now though.

The view at the top was amazing! When I went to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building during the day, the view was pretty hazy. It was very clear this day though and I could see so far! The city just seems to go on and on and on and on!

44_Tokyo

On one side I could see mountains, which was super pretty. On an even clearer day you're supposed to be able to see Mt. Fuji. That would be awesome. :)

Some of the windows had steps so that you could stand right on the edge.

45_Sunshine_60

There's a cafe up there. I want to go back and have some ice cream while looking at the city!

46_Sunshine_60_observatory

This is the outside of Sunshine 60.

47_Sunshine_60

It was such a fun trip! I saw several new places in Tokyo and successfully found some winter clothing. Tokyo is just awesome! :)

There are many more pictures HERE! CLICK HERE! :)

I wanted to put a few more pictures on my blog, but I ran out of space. I reached my 1 GB limit and can no longer upload photos straight to my blog. I have to upload them to Flickr and then link to each one individually. It's a pain!


3 comments:

  1. >Tokyo is just awesome!

    I agree...that's why I've been living here since 1990.

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