It’s been a few days since Monica left and as I recap the past 10 days she was here I have to say we did a lot! I swear from all the walking around, I literally felt my pants get looser. LOL I’m soo ready for the Tokyo Marathon!… Haha ya right! But seriously there was much walking and exercise, which resulted in us eating a lot of McDonalds!
Monica eating an ebi filet burger! :9
Day 01 – Unplanned Visit to Ueno
As as always I was working that day, but luckily her flight wasn’t coming in until the evening… and by the time she took the Keisei Line to Nippori Station we would meet more-or-less with good timing. Arriving at Nippori I saw her instantly… foreigners stick out. She was about to use a girl’s cellphone to call me when I surprised her from behind. We started jumping up & down and screaming and huggin’. The Japanese chick she had asked help from may have been a bit shocked as Japanese people are not so physical like that.
We dropped Monica’s gear at my places and were off to Heather’s Birthday Party in Kashiwa. That evening it was mad windy and many lines were delayed or stopped. Unfortunately we never made it to Kashiwa on account of stoppages on the Joban Line. Sorry Heather! I tried! :( We were only a few stops from Ueno so to save the night we headed down that way for some unplanned/last minute shopping & exploring.
Day 02 – Work & Homework *boo*
This day was spent in a manner less desired. I worked and Monica did homework. LOL! Afterwards we headed to Diamond City this big Aeon Mall in my neighborhood for some okonomiyaki and arcade games… and of course purikura!
Day 03 – Odaiba via Asakusa
We left my place early to make it to Asakusa and see the Sensoji Temple and visit the neighboring markets, including Kitchen Town (Kappabashi Market) – somewhat famous for it’s wide variety of kitchenware (hence the name) and plastic food replicas.
Many fake dogs in a market shop in Asakusa
Us in front of the The Kaminarimon near the Outer Gate to Sensoji Temple
We decided to take the Sumida-gawa Cruise to Odaiba. It was a bit pricey, but the river tour was very relaxing. I had never been to Odaiba except for the time when we all went to Andrew’s place for Christmas. Odaiba is pretty modern… great view of the harbor, bridge and the city. Lots of shopping and a giant arcade called Joyopolis where of course we took the next set of purikura photos. ;)
*pictures to come as the machine never emailed me the shots*
After exploring Decks: Tokyo Beach & Aqua City… not to mention Fuji Television we headed to Akihabara (perhaps one of Monica’s favorite places in Tokyo). That night was spend looking for various comics and/or manga which will be referred to from here on as the pr0n. She also had her heart on going to a Maid Cafe as well, but we arrived to late and they were closed.
Me in front of Fuji Television holding the “Death Star”
Day 04 – West side of the Yamanote Line
By this time, Monica was making good time on the things she wanted to experience and as well picked up many requested gifts & souvenirs – Lucky Strike cigarettes, various pr0n ^^, a copy of Vivi magazine, and whole bunch of fangirl gear!
I decided to take her out for some kaiten sushi (回転寿司) in Shinjuku. We explored Shinjuku and it’s many side streets littered with red-light district type places. Lucky for us we were there during the day… it can be a bit too much when you see large black gaijin men trying to get people into these hostess bars and shady establishments to ogle the ladies. But in general Shinjuku is a great place to visit with many things to explore.
We went all around Shinjuku from the Southern Terrace to the Skyscraper district where we checked out the view from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, a place I always recommend for a free view of the city. We also visited Tokyo Hands, watched people in line for the currently popular Krispy Creme chain, checked out movie theaters for free movie posters and ate some very good mochi cream.
We decided to walk our way to Harajuku and as always I always choose the wrong time to go to Harajuku. By this time it was evening and the park was closed and the so-called “Harajuku girls” were already gone. We went up & down Takeshita Dori picking up more gifts and running into a few gothic lolitas in a downstairs clothing store before eating at Lotteria.
Afterwards we made our way to Shibuya. Checked out Tower Records where she picked up more fangirl merchandise consisting of Final Fantasy & Chrono Cross Soundtracks. Walked around and made it to Shibuya Crossing where we relaxed at the Starbucks before calling it a night.
Outside Tower Records in Shibuya next to Namie Amuro *drool*
The best part of that day was seeing Monica’s reaction to the crowded Yamanote Line. People complain about the crowded subway/buses in Toronto… you haven’t seen nothing until you ride the Yamanote Circle Line during rush hour!
Day 05 – aka Best Day of Monica’s visit :P
This was the day we woke up early to visit the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka west of Tokyo. Really cool place if you’re into animation. We weren’t allowed to take pics inside, but as Monica’s look-out I helped her snap a few ^^. Unfortunately she was a bit upset that she couldn’t ride the cat-bus…. it was only for kids. :P
The roof of the Ghibli Museum next to the Robot thingy
We made our way to Kichijōji checking out the street markets, then making our way to Inokashira Park (井の頭恩賜公園). The park is quite nice and houses a Temple dedicated to Benzaiten, the vengeful goddess of love. LOL vengeful!
Inokashira Park near the Temple dedicated to the vengeful goddess of love
By afternoon we return to Tokyo and made our way to a maid cafe called Mai:lish in Akihabara which Monica really wanted to see. It was an interesting experience… the maids bow and sh*t and are extra polite and serving. You can even request your favorite maid to serve you. Plus their costumes are really cute! The website has all the details and even has blogs and details about each maid or even butler (of course a girl cross-dressed as one…. Only in Japan!)
We didn’t know what to do after, so we walked to Kanda and Marunouchi exploring the sites. We later consulted the internet that night to see what these places had to offer that we were unaware of at the time… apparently somewhere in Kanda there’s a shrine or something devoted to happiness and of course we could all use some happiness in our lives! ;D
Day 06 –
Tsukiji…. umm Kamakura bound!
That morning we were gonna wake up real early to catch the action at the Tsukiji Fish Market. They say the best time to get there is before 8 or 9am. Unfortunately for us we never woke up ^^. This is my third attempt to make it to Tsukiji! LOL! We later decided unexpectedly to make our way to Kamakura in the south for an impromptu day-trip.
Monica peacing it out at Tsurugaoka Hachiman Shrine
OMG Rei from Sailor Moon! O_O!
Kamkura is really nice place, kind of reminds me of Nara. We visited Tsurugaoka Hachiman Shrine and the Great Buddha of Kōtoku-in. We walked around for a bit checking out the beach. The beach this time of year is not much to look at… well what do you expect it’s Winter! I wanted to see Mount Fuji as there’s apparently a good view from the beach-front, but it was a bit hazy by the evening.
Great Buddha of Kōtoku-in
Kamakura along the beach front… note the skateboarding lady!
Kamakura Beach in Winter… People were actually surfing that day!
Fortunately for me I can sometimes see a glimpse of Mount Fuji from the 6F of the Ito Yokado Building where my branch is located. :P
Since we were in the area we made out way to Yokohama and checked out Yokohama Bay & Minato Mirai 21 district home to the tallest building in Japan – the Landmark Tower. We walked around, had some ramen and explored Chinatown. Chinatown is just one big food-court in my opinion. It’s nice, some places are a bit expensive, but it was nice to check it out.
Yokohama along the walkway to the Landmark Tower
Monica and her busted peace sign in Yokohama Chinatown
Day 07 – Fangirl Friday! O_o
It was back to work for me, but I wasn’t working until the evening so we decided to head out to Urawa-Misono to where I had accidentally stumbled across this Chuck E. Cheese type establishment, but only it was all about Mario. I knew Mon would get a kick out of it so we made our way to the Mario Factory. Of course it was early afternoon and everyone was at school so the place was relatively empty. But we managed to get some pictures of Monica standing next to the giant plastic models of Mario & Luigi! ^_^
Mario Factory at the Aeon Urawa-Misono Mall (just before Monica creamed herself :P)
I headed to work and she made her way to Akihabara (for I think the THIRD time) and later Ikebukuro for more souvenirs and exploration.
Day 08 – Day of Rest in Warabi & Kawaguchi City
Truly an uneventful day ^^… I worked and she
did tried to do homework, clean and pack. When I got home we went out for dinner had some Japanese style foods.
Pepper Steak Meal :9
Omurice オムライス (omelet & rice)
Takoyaki たこ焼き (octopus balls)
Day 09 – Monica Meets Germans and Random Japanese Girls
Monica ventured back to Ikebukuro (I believe) and later was in search for the Square Enix Store near Hatsudai. She told me she had a hard time finding the store, but ended up finding it with the help of some German chicks and later some random Japanese girls who wanted to practice their English by helping them search. The search for the Square Enix Store became a sort of RPG as Monica started recruiting people trying to locate this place. :P Another enjoyable day of adventure for Monica… increasing her entourage and gaining extra HP/MP, items and ultimately Leveling Up ! LOL!
Day 10 – The さよなら
It was a lazy day… eating early at McDonald’s and heading to Narita Airport. I screwed up my Suica card again cause I didn’t exit at Narita like I should of and paid the fare. Instead I stayed in the station to avoid paying and made my way home. But the Suica card must record your time of entry and exit and I was flagged. I kinda played the “Gaijin card” (by playing dumb/being the dumb non-Japanese-speaking foreigner) and ended up getting around it. :P
It was fun Monica! Next time (if there’s a next time)… Osaka! :P