Friday, February 18, 2011

Tokyo Weekend

My plane from Hokkaido arrived at Haneda Airport early Saturday afternoon. From there it was only a short monorail ride into Tokyo. The first place I headed for was Ueno. After eating a quick lunch at a bakery in the station I went to Yamashiroya, which is the large toy store I went to last month for the first time.

This time I saw all the floors and it is super awesome. I wish I had found out about this store earlier! 

They have a lot of weird stuff there, including virus plushies!

They even have a Hitler action figure! So weird!

I ended up buying just a key chain. It's of the sign for Ikebukuro Station. When you press the key chain, it plays the Yamanote Line song for Ikebukuro Station. 

After leaving Yamashiroya, I decided to explore the area a little bit. Just around the corner is an interesting area. It was filled with stands selling seafood and other food and stores selling random cheap clothes and other merchandise.

I saw a random candy booth. It was kind of like an auction. The one guy would throw a bunch of candy in a bag and then say a price and the first person to raise their hand got to buy the bag. At least I think that's how it worked.

After that I went to Ikebukuro. The Book Off store there is really good. I spent a lot of time looking at the CDs and video games and bought a couple of CDs.

They had a pretty big selection of Disney movies on VHS. I want to watch them! Haha, they even had some other things like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It would be funny to watch it in Japanese!

 Then I spent a little bit of time in Sunshine City, which is a shopping complex in Ikebukuro.

This next picture was taken in Toys R Us. I'm confused why the random Japanese things are in the same aisle as high chairs.

 At one store I bought a cute tofu plushie. It's actually a cell phone holder.



I didn't have my purse with me so I just had a bunch of stuff in my pockets. When I was paying for tofu-chan I pulled a bunch of stuff out and sat it on the counter so that I could get to my money. Later, while I was still in the mall, I checked my pockets to make sure that I still had my locker key (I left my luggage in a locker in Ueno). I checked often because I had already lost a pair of gloves and a bag of souvenirs that weekend and didn't want to lose anything else. It's good that I checked then because it wasn't there!

I knew where I had left it though so I went back to the store and they had it. Whew! I can't believe I left it behind.

I left Sunshine City and went to Tokyu Hands which is right next door. They had cute cacti parfaits! If I was going to stay in Japan, I think I would want one

 Here's a random cute sign:

After Ikebukuro, I checked in at the capsule hotel. Then I headed over to the other side of Tokyo to visit Shibuya.

First, I ate dinner at Ichiran Ramen, a place I had read about on the internet.

I had to wait in line for maybe about 10-15 minutes. They had music playing in the stairwell outside (the restaurant is in a basement) and I thought it was just typical Japanese traditional music. Then I realized that it was a traditional sounding version of an Utada Hikaru song which was cool.

Once I entered the restaurant I was able to purchase a ticket from a vending machine. I handed it to a woman working there and she brought me a form to fill out. You get to pick a lot of things such as strength of sauce, spiciness, amount of garlic, noodle hardness, etc. I chose medium on everything except I added a little extra garlic. 

There was a sign that lit up to show which seats had just become available.

Ichiran Ramen has the typical ramen restaurant set-up (long counters), but there were dividers between each seat. It's not a place to go and be social. It's perfect for eating alone. Though actually I think most of the people I saw there were with other people.

Once your bowl of food arrives, they bow and then pull down a curtain. Then you are really secluded!

The ramen had a pork based broth (despite all the choices you don't have a choice of broth). I loved it!!!!!! Just the day before I had had my favorite ramen in Hokkaido, but this was even better!

I could really taste the garlic but it wasn't too strong and the spiciness was really good! It was so good that I finished a bowl of ramen for the second time! I need to go back there again (maybe multiple times) before I leave! I only have a month left in Japan (crazy!) so I don't have too much time! Maybe I should go to Tokyo tomorrow???? Haha.

When I left the restaurant I realized that I had lost a glove. They had been in my coat pockets, which was a mistake because that's how I lost the other pair. I didn't really care because they had been cheap gloves from a konbini and I wasn't going to need them anymore. It was just annoying that I had lost so much stuff in one weekend!

For desert I went to the Starbucks in Shibuya and got a dark chocolate chip Frappucino. I sat at a counter facing the Hachiko crossing.

 Here's a video:

I looked around Tsutaya for a while and listened to some CDs before heading back to my hotel around midnight. I was surprised I had been able to stay out that late because I only had about 4 hours of sleep the previous night. 

Near the entrance of the subway station I bought a cute cat cell phone charm from a gachapon machine (capsule toys). They were only 100 yen and I liked all of them! I went back the next day to get another one. I really liked the ones I got because I wanted a cute one and I also wanted the hissing one!

The next day I spent the majority of my time in Shibuya. First I ate breakfast at McDonald's and then browsed Tower Records for a while. Then I did a little clothing shopping and bought a cute shirt and purse. :)

Later I wandered in a direction I hadn't been before and came across a Don Quijote store. It's a well-known store in Japan and I had wanted to visit one because I had heard that it's extremely random and I love random!

 The store is super cramped and pretty junky looking, but that's what makes it awesome. The organization is really terrible so you never know what you'll find. I would probably hate this store in the US, but it's filled with weird Japanese merchandise so it's good.

It's laid out really terribly... this aisle is actually part of a staircase!

Too soon it was time for me to leave. :( I'm never ready to leave Tokyo. It's just too fun!

In Mishima I saw a Hamtaro bus! Why do I never get the cool transportation?


  1. Aw, I love your kitty charms---especially the hissing one, lol.

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