Japan: April 27 – May 1, 2017

  • Tokyo
  • Currency: Japanese Yen
  • Thursday 27/4:
    • Eating breakfast in the building next door, where several locals popped in and out for a light breakfast deal (I had a cheesy toast with coffee for 350 yen)
    • Train transit maze: Osakatemmangu to Osaka Station to Shin-Osaka, then bullet train from Shin-Osaka to Shinagawa, then change to a local JR train to Shibuya
    • Travel tip: A JR Pass allows you to reserve seats for free – just go to a designated bullet train ticket office and show them your JR Pass and ask them to book a seat
    • Travelling on a bullet train pretty memorable – it moves at an incredible speed. (If you get hungry, they have a trolley on the train with snacks, and also a smoking room located between carriages)
    • Shibuya station is the most intricate and confusing station I have ever been to in all my travels
    • Welcome to the modern ages: we arrived at our hotel to switch on the lights, and only have the living room light a dim blue that eventually faded to nothing – thinking the light was broken, we contacted the Airbnb host, and only received a response at 11am to learn that the light is controlled by a remote control, and it was on ‘sleep’ mode
    • Having my senses overwhelmed by Shibuya and it’s neon lights, crazy hustle and bustle, and delicious smelling food
    • Dinnertime @ Uobei Sushi: you order via a tablet at your individual seat, and it comes to you via a chute. It’s a modern take on a sushi train. You can play little roulette games with certain meals, and if you win, you get a token where you can put it in a slot machine and get a little sushi keychain or 5% off your next meal. Being the responsible adult I am, I chose the slot machine token for the sushi keychain.
  • Friday 28/4:
    • Meeting up with our friends Randy and Marie at Hachiko
    • Being unable to decide on what to eat and ending up at Uobei again and vowing not to go back again so that we try other restaurants (and upon leaving, the hostess gives us a bloody ‘10% off your next visit’ coupon)
    • Walking through Yoyogi park and getting lost via Randy’s navigating skills
    • Finally arriving at the Meiji Shrine
      • Being the ultimate tourist and buying souvenirs at the tourist shops located at the shrine
      • Writing a prayer on a piece of paper for the next prayer ritual
    • Walking to Takeshita St in Harajuku
      • This street was bananas – B-A-N-A-N-A-S (sorry, I just had to)
    • Continuing onto Cat Street, where there is a more urban feel with lots of boutiques, vintage stores, and high-end street wear (tip: this is a great place to sit at a cafe and do some serious swaggy asian fashion spotting)
    • Eventually arriving at Shibuya and being exhausted, but tempted by numerous massive shops like Bershka (4 floors), and Forever 21 (6 floors), and only leaving at 10pm when the stores close.
    • Buying delicious ready-made meals from 7/11 and eating at home because you’re too exhausted to go out.
  • Saturday 29/4:
    • Sleeping in until 12pm, and walking back to Cat Street searching for a place to eat. We eventually got so hungry and weak we looked down an alley and saw a busy cafe full of locals called ‘Aloha Amigo’ – a Mexican/Hawaiian fare
    • Being overzealous and ordering 4 dishes and 2 drinks (one of which was a grande size)
    • Continuing along Cat Street after dinner and getting a ton of shopping done at vintage shops like ‘Chicago’, and swaggy shops like ‘xgirl’
    • Stopping at a cute little cafe along the street for some refuelling and people watching
    • Going down Takeshita street and on to the main road for Round 2 of shopping at H&M and Forever 21 (until 10pm again)
    • Continuously assuring each other that we will stop spending money and stop shopping for the next few days
    • Going in and out of restaurants trying to find somewhere to eat for dinner, and eventually stumbling along a place opposite our Airbnb named ‘Tiger Gyoza Hall’, and asking what time they close, to which they gave us a strange look and answered “3am”
      • This place was full of locals eating an assortment of asian food such as noodles, dumplings, and copious amounts of beer
      • There is the sickest oriental-style tiger mural, and middle-eastern inspired lights and chandeliers
    • Back home and ready to crash at 12am
  • Sunday 30/4:
    • Travelling from Shibuya to Ebisu via the JR, then changing to the Tokyo Metro to Roppongi Hills
    • Another late start to the day, only leaving at 1pm to go to Roppongi Hills to go to the Mori Art Museum
    • 2 exhibitions: Marvel, and NS Harsha, the permanent exhibition and the observation deck, totalled to 1800 yen per person. For an extra 500 yen, you can enter the open-air roof top
    • A beautiful view of Tokyo – if there is no fog/clouds, you can see Mt Fuji too
    • The Marvel Exhibition was fantastic, detailing the history of Marvel as a comic company, to the movies, costumes, original sketches, and character descriptions
    • NS Harsha was also fantastic, and is an artist from India with some beautiful expansive pieces that explore social situations in India, the self, and consisted of paintings, interactive art, and sculpture
    • Roppongi is a more wealthy suburbs with lots of luxury shopping
    • Left around 7:30pm, and met up for dinner with Randy and Marie. Struggling to decide what to eat, and ending up at Uobei again. Then drinks at Oslo (a Nordic/Japanese bar)
  • Monday 1/5:
    • Waking up at 11am to find it was pouring outside
    • Finding out the National Tokyo Museum was closed on Mondays, so having to change plans.
    • Eating at a Japanese fast food outlet named ‘Freshness’ burger (we saw 3 in the Shibuya area) – their fish burger is so much better than McDonald’s.
    • Checking out the 4 storey ‘Don Quijote’ in Shibuya and spending 2 hours looking at the most random products they sell
    • Exploring for vintage stores, but not finding anything good
    • Planning to go get a quick burger from ‘Freshness’ and to watch ‘Ghost in the Shell’ to find that there were no seats available
    • Instead went to SEGA (game arcade)
      • Spent $10 trying to win a Yoshi toy
      • Playing Daytona (Liz 1 – Jermaine 0)
      • Taking photo booth pictures only to realise it was for girls only, and that the editing options were for girly attributes like making lips look pink and adding eyelashes.
      • Spent another $8 trying to win the Yoshi toy again and forcing ourselves to stop before wasting more money
      • Playing Mario Kart (Liz 1 – Jermaine 1)
    • Finding we were still hungry, we went to McDonald’s for more burgers, because we are nothing, if not creatures of habit
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