Saturday, April 12, 2014

Spring Break Part 1: Tokyo Skytree, a Maid Cafe, and Bigbang Karaoke

 

On March 18th, my best friend Lauren came to visit me in Japan again! :)  She arrived in the evening, so I spent the beginning of the day in Iwata packing and cleaning my apartment. I left in the middle of the afternoon. It was raining when I was about to leave and my umbrella had been stolen at school (probably accidentally, it's a very common umbrella). So I drove to Family Mart to buy a new umbrella. Though of course by the time I did that and actually left to walk to the station it wasn't raining anymore.

It was only supposed to take about four hours to get to Tokyo, but it took almost five hours because the trains were delayed because of strong wind. That sounds like a pretty lame reason, but it does get pretty windy here!

It's good that it wasn't delayed more than that because I didn't have a ton of time to spare, but I still had time to check into our hotel in Oimachi, get dinner at Andersen (a bakery), and then head to Haneda Airport to meet Lauren.



The waiting area of the domestic terminal in Haneda was like an unexciting train station. It didn't feel very much like an airport. But I didn't have too long to wait and soon Lauren arrived!

Her plane had arrived a little before 10 so we didn't do anything exciting that day. But the next day we decided to go to Tokyo Skytree.


We kept seeing that ad on trains and thought it was really cute. There's even a sakura petal on the dog's nose! 


Tokyo Skytree is the tallest tower in the world and the second tallest structure (a skyscraper in Dubai is the tallest).

We looked around in the stores for a while and then ate lunch before going up in the tower. We decided on Denny's. It had a more limited menu than a regular Denny's and there wasn't much to choose from besides hamburg steak and omurice. But I still really liked it.



I had hamburger with daikon and spicy miso sauce.

Then we went back into the shopping area for a little bit and I took a pic of Smap, a boy band,  dressed in Hello Kitty outfits. It looks horrible. I bet the song is bad, too.


There's a store selling a bunch of fake food like you often see in restaurant windows here. I thought that their bread display was really cool.


The picture just makes it look like a poster, but they were all full-size replicas of slices of bread with various toppings.

Then we got in line to buy tickets to go up to the observatory. The wait time was about 30-45 minutes, which wasn't too bad because it was a weekday. I've heard that the line can be hours long sometimes.

After buying our tickets we got in line for the elevator. That area had a cool ceiling.


As we waited we saw various elevators open up and they all had different designs. Some of them were super pretty! I think this one is the same one that we had.


The elevator took us up to the first observatory at 350 meters (1,148 feet). The elevator was super super smooth and it didn't feel like we were moving at all. I could only tell that we were going up because of the pressure in my ears. 


Despite the cloudy, hazy conditions, we still had a really cool view!



Then we took the elevator up to the second observatory at 450 meters (1,476 feet).




Such a cool view! :)



Lauren and I tried taking pictures of ourselves, but then a nice woman working there took this picture for us. 



There was a random and fun area to take pictures. The color changing floor was cool!


Then we headed back down to the first observatory. I had seen a sign about a glass floor so we searched for that.



First we found a spot with a small glass floor but you could only look over a railing at it. You couldn't actually stand on it. That was disappointing, but then we found the real thing. :) I don't really know why they even had that other spot.




Skytree is expensive (2,000 yen to the first observatory, and an extra 1,000 yen to the second observatory), but I thought that it was worth it. It's the tallest tower in the world and I wanted to go up at least once. Jonathan hadn't been very interested because of the price so I'm glad Lauren wanted to go!



Skytree is so tall so it's a bit hard to get a photo up close, but there's a platform on top of a bike parking area across the street from the east yard that's a pretty good place for taking pictures.

While shopping I had seen a few maid cafe Pikachu items and liked them. We decided to go to a maid cafe for dinner (we had planned on going there eventually anyways, we weren't inspired by Pikachu) so then I bought this hand towel. It made sense to buy it on the day that we were going to a maid cafe!


 So then we headed to Shibuya to go to the Maidreamin Digitized Cafe.


Maid cafes are restaurants where the girls working there dress as maids and act very cutely. The whole atmosphere is very kawaii!

This video, by Princess Peachie on Youtube, explains maid cafes very well:



We found where the maid cafe was, but before we actually found the entrance (it's down in a basement) we saw a maid outside advertizing the cafe and she led us to the entrance. She was really nice and welcoming!

After we sat down at our table, a maid came over with a fake candle called a Wish Candle or something like that and taught us some sort of chant thingy to do and I think we were supposed to make a wish. It was so cute!

We weren't allowed to take pictures inside the cafe (that's typical of maid cafes), but we could take pictures of the food.


Lauren drank melon soda but I had hot strawberry maple tea which was delicious!

For my meal, I chose omurice! When the maid brought it to the table she asked what animal I liked. When I answered that I like cats, that's what she drew on it. So much fun!

Also, whenever food (and drinks, I think) were brought to our table, the maid taught us a chant with kawaii hand motions and we did it together. It was something about making the food delicious.


I guess the chant worked because my food was delicious! It pretty much tasted like omurice does when I make it, but I love omurice so that meant it was good! I even enjoyed the shrimp! Plus the cuteness made it even more awesome.

Their parfaits were adorable so of course we couldn't pass them up. I got a bunny one and Lauren got a cat.



At one point a maid came around selling tickets for prizes. Lauren bought one and pulled a ticket out and won a wish candle. A little later they came by selling glow sticks and I bought one to use during their performance. The maids gathered around the stage area and performed Aitakatta by AKB48. It was a lot of fun!

Here's a video of AKB48 performing the song:



I couldn't take pictures of stuff besides food (though I got some background in that one of Lauren, but I'm not sure if I was really allowed to do that). I found some pictures from a Japanese website called Gigazine, so here they are.


Those Mario blocks hanging from the ceiling changed colors when the maids punched them. As we were checking out, I asked if I could try. Fun!



The images of the maids on the walls were animated and super cute.


The walls were SUPER detailed. Just look at the close-up below!


We ended the day with karaoke in Shibuya. I had discovered a Bigbang karaoke room online so of course we had to go!

On the way to Big Echo, the karaoke place, we stopped by Tsutaya and took a picture with a Bigbang ad there.


From what I had seen online of the previous Bigbang karaoke room, I just expected a normal karaoke room with pictures on the wall.


It did have the pictures on the wall, like I expected, but it also had two projectors!

 
 

There was a special box that controlled the projectors. Number one brought up a video of the members welcoming us to the karaoke room. Number two was a karaoke track of Fantastic Baby along with a video of Bigbang performing it at a concert. Number three was concert footage without sound that could be turned on while singing other songs. Number four was the same sort of thing as number two but it was the song Bad Boy.

 

The room was sooooo cool! It was so much fun for taking random ridiculous pictures, like me making Taeyang drink melon soda. Hahaha!







 
Lauren and I have done quite a bit of karaoke in Japan, but that was definitely the most awesome! :)


We took a few pictures on the way back to the station, including some by the Hachiko statue.



When we walked into our hotel room we had a nice view of Tokyo Tower! We had seen it that morning, but it was more dramatic at night.



Skytree was also visible from our hotel room, but it's not very good at night. The lights on it aren't bright enough. I think they really need to make it stand out more.

It had been such a super fun day, and our trip was only just getting started!

6 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing! It's awesome!

    I got interested in BB karaoke. Do you happen to have the address or directions to find?

    Are there only BB songs in that karaoke?

    Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They don't have the exact same room anymore, but they do have a YG Family one that is both Bigbang and 2NE1.

      Here's the link:
      http://big-echo.jp/campaign/bigbang%EF%BC%862ne1%E3%83%AB%E3%83%BC%E3%83%A0-%E6%9C%9F%E9%96%93%E9%99%90%E5%AE%9A%E3%82%AA%E3%83%BC%E3%83%97%E3%83%B3%EF%BC%81%EF%BC%81/

      It's at the same location (Shibuya) as the previous room I went to. Here's the map:

      http://big-echo.jp/shop_info/%E3%83%93%E3%83%83%E3%82%B0%E3%82%A8%E3%82%B3%E3%83%BC%E6%B8%8B%E8%B0%B7%E5%AE%AE%E7%9B%8A%E5%9D%82%E5%8F%A3%E9%A7%85%E5%89%8D%E5%BA%97/

      Delete
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