What's not to love about Tokyo!!

Trip Start May 01, 2010
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Trip End Jul 10, 2010


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Flag of Japan  , Kanto,
Monday, May 3, 2010

Hi everyone
Ly here, well I think my footprint has complete worn off after another 5 hours of walking! My feet were still aching from yesterday but we persevered around the busy streets of Tokyo on what was a beautiful day.

Well we woke up early and decided we would head to Ueno Park to try and get a glimpse of the cherry blossom festival. After an easy ride on the subway (which was surprisingly quiet) we walked down a really busy market selling all sorts of miscellanous stuff. There was a lot of fake goods and places to eat. I've been craving a good bowl of udon noodles since we arrived so I kept a keen eye on fake food window displays or big posters. Seems like there are plenty of ramen noodle houses around Tokyo. Anyway we managed to find one and it was great!!! There were about a dozen different types of udon you could choose from. I had one with a poached egg and fried yams. Daniel had his with beef brisket and some strong flavoured soup. Daniel was in fried food heaven because as we progressed down the counter we could pick out a variety of tempura so Daniel helped himself to a big ball of fried potato, tempura prawns and fried crab. The meal was really cheap and we were really happy to have found such a wonderful place serving up the best udon noodles we've ever had. The noodles were really thick and slighty chewy but not tough. I was actually worried that Daniel wasn't going to be a big fan of a hot noodle breakfast but I think the fried tempura got him excited!

We wandered further down the market and at the end of the street we came across what seemed like a protest. There were these black heavily fortified vans with the japanese flag - looked like those black stretch hummers and each van had these loud speakers attached to the roof. The drivers seemed to have microphones and were yelling out all sorts of angry chants. There was a heavy police presence with lots of riot police trying to ask these drivers to get out of the car. We were quite fascinated with the whole spectacle and couldnt work out what the protest was about. The police had these sticks with microphones and a little machine on the end which we think was measuring the volume or the noise levels. As everytime there was an angry chant they would hold these stricks up to the speakers to try and record something. Daniel took some photos and when we returned to our hotel to ask what these protests were all about the hotel staff seemed really embarresed and just said that those protesters were noisy, rude and offensive and ended it at that. The hotel staff almost seemed embarresed about it and avoided our questioning.

After we got past the riots we wandered through the Ueno Park. We were met with lots of young families with little toddlers running around everywhere. We soon discovered a massive line leading into the zoo. I must say Japanese kids are really cute and so well behaved.
We tried to track down the area where cherry blossoms are but found out from a security guard that it was over. Looks like we only missed it as there were a few trees with some blossoms.

We wandered around the park some more really enjoying the beautiful sunny weather and observing Japanese people. The parks in Tokyo are amazingly well kept. There is no litter around and the big trees provide wonderful shade. The walkways are wide and everything is so green. After the park we headed back into the market down another alley. I stumbled upon a cosmetics and skincare stall and was checking out the prices for SKII, Estee lauder and Dior products. Prices were definately cheaper and although the packaging was immaculate I decided aginst it because of the chance they could be fakes. We decided to head back to the hotel, catch up on our beloved master chef shows, and have a little rest before wandering around more food halls and department stores.

After a powernap, we wandered into big high-end department store Isetan. There were Japanese people everywhere. Everywhere I looked there were japanese people in Hermes, Prada, Chanel and Dior. In all the other cities I've been in these luxury brand concept stores and they are usually dead with maybe the odd customer here and there. In Japan the women spend spend spend!!! I've spied many women with their genuine Louis Vuitton bags. I've fallen in love with a rich ruby shiny red pencil bag which I wouldnt dare to find out the price. Im sure Louis Vuittion's biggest customer is the japanese lady as every second woman here seems to have one!! Anyway after enough lusting after handbags, Daniel and I were quick to find the food hall and the Isetan's food hall did not fail to disappoint!!! We were in food heaven. This had to be the best food hall we've ever seen. I almost died and went to heaven when we came across Pierre Herme, the best macaron's in the world!!!! I was really bummed last time after having done so much research and reading of reviews, Pierre Herme is considered to make the best macroons. Well Daniel and I went a little crazy and went all out buying some very expensively priced macarons. I couldn't take my eyes of a pink rasberry macaroon which looked amazing. There were layers of icing and rasberries between the top and bottom layer and lychees in between. There was a red rose petal sitting ever so delicately on top! Forget that it was $12 I felt that I had to make up for lost time and rationalised the price in my mind thinking I would just eat little for dinner instead to make up for it!
Daniel walked out with a few himself and the best macaron he tried was the citrus one which tasted like an amazing lemon meringue. We tried some other macarons from other bakeries. I was surprised to see Daniel pick out a pink candy floss flavoured one. We bought ourselves some friend scallops and prawn tempura and decided we had to get out of there. Every little stall just sold the most amazing stuff. The fish market was incredible. Never have I seen such fresh and beautifully cut fish. There was no fishy smell at all. Everything looks so beauitfully kept and hygenically clean. Even all the fruit and vegetables look too good to be real having been individually wrapped. After wandering around the rest of the department store we ventured over to Uniqlo where Daniel bought some much needed jeans. Clothes here are are a slightly smaller make and Daniel was a bit worried he wouldnt fit into any jeans. He made it clear he wasn't really into the whole jeggings look!!! I was happy Daniel found the two pairs I picked out for him looked really good and were a comfortable fit.

We finally decided it was time for dinner, well Daniel's facial expression said it all really, he had enough of shopping so went searching for a sushi train that Daniel had read great reviews about. It was actually located underground near a train station. There was a massive line and at least 20 or more people waiting. The were a lot of seats around the sushi train so we decided to wait. Well it was definately worth the wait. We had some amazing raw fish and my favourite was the raw scallops and eel. Daniel loved a local specialty of raw baby anchovies.  We tried an abalone's ear which was different. Sort of tasted like a tough squid. What strikes me about the sushi in Japan is that there is a heavy focus on all kinds of raw fish. There is actually very few sushi rolls like we have at home. There is certainly no avocado in any sushi or chicken or beef. After dinner we walked back to the hotel and went down some very bright neon lit alleys. We walked past quite a few casinos with slot machines lined up row after row. At first I thought it was a game arcade because it was so bright and there were all these cartoon characters plastered on all the machines. The chairs were also pink and the floors, walls and ceilings were all in white and pink bright colours. Tokyo certainly has the brightest and most cheerful looking poker machines I've ever seen!

We went in search of a bar so that Daniel could experiment with some Japanese beer. It was hard to find a bar which didnt charge a fortune for us to just sit down and that wasn't crowded with only japanese men who smoked. We finally found a quiet pub but before we could sit down the lady behind the bar told us that they only service japanese speaking customers only. Of course she said this in perfect english and I was miffed but what could we do!? Daniel was a little disappointed so we ended up buying a few different beers from the convenience store down the road from our hotel.

While Daniel drank, I enjoyed a lovely bath to rest my sore tired feet.

Ly

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Comments

Warren Reeve on

Foot Sore Shoppers,
I know there is a Reeve tradition of 'All you can eat' but we usually limit it to one establishment not a whole shopping presinct and I think you will have more luck finding a drinking place if you avoid those place where you drinking friends have previously visited. Good to see you are having some quality time together exploring. Enjoy. Dad and Anita XXX

Aunty Pete on

Even if I ate out every night I couldn't match you guys! Is it too early to ask when you are coming home?? I will be in Melbourne 18 June to see Usuf Islan (Cat Stevens) Mitch was 25 yesterday and I will hit the big 55 on Friday, of course Grandad was 85 last week, so a lot going on here. (M still in surgery today 9 hrs). Well thats my news probably for the next few weeks. Keep walking and eating and posting those wonderful pics of "blossom" xoxo

Grandad and Grandma on

Your pictures are great and we really envy you the good food.
Japan is one place we wanted to go to so you have made us feel that we have at least seen it through your eyes. Love to you both.
Grandma and Grandad

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