Archive for March 31, 2010

Tokyo, Japan: Day 3

We got up a bit later than the previous days. We wanted to rest up since our feet were hurting so much from yesterday. After breakfast, we took the train to Akihabara again but this time we went to an the arcade (Sega Club). There were 2 buildings for it. The first one we went to was a bit dirty and sketchy. Next to it, was the new one. It seemed more friendly. The lighting was a lot better. Arcades are organized very well in Japan – each floor is dedicated to a specific category of game. Crane games were all together on one floor, then another floor had shooting games, and another had fighting games. Each of those Sega Club buildings had 6 floors each. Gamer paradise 🙂 We did manage to play a few games. I played Street Fighter IV in the sketchy building. Daniel played some mecha game that never seemed to end. We both played Virtua Fighter 5 (verion C – whatever that means!). We also played Ghost Squad (shooting game) and Tanks Tanks Tanks together. Oh, and I played some Tetris game with huge joysticks (rofl). Photography was prohibited but I was able to ninja a few for your viewing pleasure. Of course, I don’t have any time to put them up now, but keep an eye out for them later when I post all of my pics up. Almost every arcade machine had a seat so you are comfortable and will stay and play.

After the arcade, we went to have a late lunch. There was a cart vendor (from Turkey?) selling beef and chicken kabob pitas. I thought it was decent, but the onion was overwhelming me.

After lunch, we took the train to Hamamatsucho station and went to Pokemon Center. It was packed with little kids and their parents! A couple kids from TKD wanted me to get them something from the store so we were on a hunt for their requested Pokemon plushes. We were able to find them. I also picked up a Wobbuffet plush and Daniel got me a Pikachu plush that when you turned it inside out, it became a pokeball 🙂 I also got a new keychain to replace the one Daniel got me on his trip from last year.

After the Pokemon craziness, we were tired so we headed back to the hotel. When we got to the Shimbashi station, we saw a book market outside the station so we decided to check it out. We actually didn’t really check it out – we kind of looked at it as we walked by it. We discovered a smaller version of Yodobashi Camera store (in Akibahara) so we went there instead. Surprisingly, one of the employees came and tried to make small talk with us. He asked where we were from and talked about the weather.

After exploring the 6 floor building and not buying anything, we decided it was really time to head back to the room. After the brief break, we went to a ramen shop in the Shiodome City Center building for dinner. I got edamame for an appetizer. It was a pleasant surprise when they brought it out; it was steaming hot! I’m not used to hot edamame. Normally at Minado’s, it’s cold and not too salty (like it should be). The ramen was decent but the pork that came with it was too fatty for me.

Eriko (my TKD friend that lives in Tokyo) had left me a message on Facebook saying she got us tickets to the Ghibli Museum for tomorrow (Thu afternoon). I called her later in the night on Skype to work out the details.


Tokyo, Japan: Day 2

Today, we went to Roppongi Hills first. We saw Maman, the gigantic spider sculpture, and then walked around the plaza. As we made our way towards the park outside, we noticed a distant view of Tokyo Tower. It was a bit chilly and windy out, so when we got outside, we ducked into the TV Asahi building. I guess it’s a TV station here. There was a small little shop that sold shirts, pencils, keychains, stickers, hats from Asahi TV shows.

There were a lot of people taking pictures of the sakura (cherry blossoms). The park had a nice little pond as well. After the park, we ducked back into the underground plaza for some lunch. We ate at a Korean place named “a Cave”. I didn’t like it very much. I got some Thai fried chicken thing with brown rice and potato salad. The chicken and potato salad were okay but I hated the rice.

After lunch, we jumped on the train to Ueno Koen. As we entered the park, we were greeted by a big crowd, watching a street performer. He wasn’t very entertaining. After watching for a couple minutes, we moved on to the rest of the park. There were lots of people picnicking and walking around, enjoying the sunny (but chilly at times) day.

Our feet were hurting again so we took a break on a nearby bench infront of a shrine. People rang a bell before they entered it. After a few minutes, we walked around some more and saw another street performer. This guy was much more entertaining than the first. He was more lively and had a funny haircut. We watched him for such a long time, I think my feet were numb from standing on the hard concrete ground (in my VFFs). Even though he was fun to watch, as soon as his performance was over, we didn’t hang around except to give him some money at the end of his performance.

We decided to go to Tokyo Tower for the sunset so we hopped on the train for a short while. It was about a 10 minute walk from the station to the tower. The weather was great and we could see everything. There were 2 observation floors. The second (higher) floor required an extra admission fee. The skies were clear so we were able to see Mt. Fuji, sort of 🙂 We were able to see the new Tokyo Tower construction as well. After doing all the viewing, we headed downstairs and checked out the overlook window.

It was just about dinner time, so we headed downstairs to the McDonalds and shared a cheeseburger and some fries for a small snack. We sat for a while since our feet were killing us. Then, we thought it’d be best to eat dinner somewhere close by (some noodle shop in the tower lobby) then just take the train and go straight back to the hotel.

My feet have never hurt so much in my life!


Tokyo, Japan: Day 1

This morning we went to breakfast upstairs in the Executive Lounge of the Conrad Hotel. We had a mix of fruits and meats (ham, pastrami, bacon). It was really good – all of the fruits seemed really fresh and ripe. After breakfast, we took the JR train for 1 stop (to Hamamatsucho) to go to the Pokemon Center. When we arrived, we discovered that it did not open until 11:00 (we got there around 10:00). So, we left and decided to take the train to Akihabara.

We went into SoftBank to try to get Daniel’s old Japanese phone to activate. The store employee explained that it was too old to use. We tried to buy a new, cheap one but she said she can’t sell phones to tourists staying less than 90 days. Disappointed, we left and explored the Yodobashi Camera store. It was 7 floors (I think) of electronics. Each floor was a different category, like cameras (obviously), pc/mac and parts, TVs, printing accessories (cartridges, paper, etc), video games (my favorite), home and beauty care, etc. We skipped the top floor; it was golf stuff.

We had shabu shabu for lunch in the Yodobashi Camera store. It was buffet style for noodles and veggies but not the meat (although it was a generous portion anyway). It was good but the broth was nothing but boiling water. That really ruined it for me. I’m used to Little Q style hot pot where the broth is a delicious black bone chicken (there are other flavors as well) flavor. Even the broth we use for hot pot at home was better.

After lunch, we decided to take the train back to the hotel for a break. On the way, we detoured to the Sony Building since it was close by. It was a showcase building which is really cool. The first thing we saw was a 3D hologram display. It was really awesome!! You can walk around the display (which had 2 cute little characters in it) and your perspective matched your position (if you were behind the display, you would be looking at the characters’ back side; if you were to the right or left of the display, you would be looking at the characters’ sides).

After the Sony Building, we took the train back to the hotel. We got off at Shimbashi station. During our walk back to the hotel, we stopped in a convenient store called AM/PM and picked up a couple salmon onigiri (rice balls) for a snack. When we got back to the hotel room, we ate the onigiri and took a long nap. We didn’t wake up for a good 5 hours. It was just after 9:30pm that we got up and ready to grab dinner somewhere. We ended up just eating at a Thai place in the Shiodome building (same building as the hotel). The Conrad Hotel is actually on the upper floors of the Shiodome building so luckily we didn’t have to go too far for dinner as we were super tired.

After dinner, we came back to the room and gave Eriko (my TKD friend that lives in Tokyo) a call. We were trying to work out plans to go to the Ghibli Museum, in Mitaka, this week. After the call, we played with our cameras a bit and took some night photos of the Tokyo bay. We have a great view of it from our window 🙂

I’ll be taking lots of pics on this trip but I won’t have time to edit them and upload them with any of the blog posts I’ll be writing. Photos will be posted separately… quite a bit later after the trip but I might be able to get a few photos up from time to time!

Like this one from our 36th floor bay view hotel room: