Tokyo Memories Day 7: The Wackiest Izakaya in Tokyo

A month ago Dustin and I began our trip in Tokyo! So, as with our last trip, I’ve decided to copy out each day of my travel journal into my blog. Each day for the next 18 days I will share a post of what we did in Tokyo a month prior.

So, let’s get into it!

From Shauna’s Journal

Day 7, December 20th, 2019

I woke up so tired today T-T but even though part of me wanted to nap the afternoon away, I can’t bear to waste any of my time in Tokyo, so I worked on getting my postcards written and package packed, and mailed them out at the post office.

In the afternoon Dustin and I headed to an area we’d never been before- Shimbashi. I had a reservation for us for the Kagaya Frog is Stranger Than Fiction izakaya, known for its owner who does lots of wacky things to entertain his guests.

After being seated by Kagaya-san, our visit began with a remote controlled Anpanman rolling up to our table to deliver our hand towels. Kagaya-san let us pick our chopstick rests from a tray (DBZ characters) and made them interact on our table. We ordered cola (Dustin) and beer (me) and he had us choose which country’s “style” we would like our drinks served in. We chose England, so Kagaya-san brought out his famous teddy bear and made him walk around, wave at us, stretch, and finally pick up the tray of drinks. As he (well, Teddy), “carried” the drinks toward the table, he grunted and kept exclaiming “I’VE GOT IT! I CAN DO… IT… I CAN ….DO IT!”, and everyone cheered him on YOU CAN DO IT, TEDDY! Finally, with an “I CAN DO IT….AHHHHHHH!!!” Teddy gave one last burst of energy, charging toward our table and giving us our drinks. It was absolutely adorable and hilarious.

The food menu is a mystery- you choose a phrase and Kagaya-san makes you sing it to him!

The other visitors, all locals, ordered throughout the evening, in “Brazil” (lively dancing with puffed sleeves and party horns) “China” (Kagaya-san jumped clean over their table suddenly and began chopping at them with martial arts) and “France”, where Kagaya-san emerged to dramatic French romance music with an easel and a hat and drew portraits of all of the women in the room! I was so happy and surprised, the drawing he made of me is such a special souvenir, and really looks like me! After finishing each drawing he would kiss it with a flourish… the drawing of me he also rubbed in his crotch for a second as he closed his eyes, which the locals thought was HILARIOUS (and I did too!).

It would be understandable if the sole draw of this place was its funny owners antics, but the food was also AMAZING! Some traditional food with vegetables, tofu, tiny battered fish, chicken, beef, salad, and curry.

A few other memorable moments:

  • When Kagaya-san touched foreheads with Dustin and stroked his beard, exclaiming “oh, softly touch, sofuto touchi”.
  • The locals warming up to us and yelling “KAMPAIIII! JAPANESE STYLE!” cheering with us
  • When Kagaya-san finished drawing a portrait and Dustin said “Very good!” in French, the locals loved it
  • When I gave Kagaya-san a small gift from Canada (maple candies, a card, and a drawing of him and Teddy) he was very thankful and said “Thank you. I’m surprised!”
  • When they saw I gave Kagaya-san a gift, everyone started digging out random stuff from their bags and giving them to me! Candy, snacks, a bag-holder gadget, it was so nice.

A really wonderful night!

Thank you, Kagaya-san ❤

On our way back to the hotel I got some okinawan sea-salt soft-serve. So good ❤

Tokyo Memories Day 6: Asakusa Hagoita Festival and… Visiting A Host Club!?

A month ago Dustin and I began our trip in Tokyo! So, as with our last trip, I’ve decided to copy out each day of my travel journal into my blog. Each day for the next 18 days I will share a post of what we did in Tokyo a month prior.

So, let’s get into it!

From Shauna’s Journal

Day 6, December 19th, 2019

This morning Dusty and I visited Asakusa for the first time. Senso-ji temple is way bigger than I had imagined!

It was the last day of the Hagoita festival, so there were stalls selling tasty street food alongside the temple: we enjoyed tasty choco-bananas and a sort of meat-stick with rice wrapped in bacon and covered in bits of cheese. SO GOOD, also messy!

I got a small Hagoita (a decorative wooden bat which is a good luck charm) and a mask of a red demon for Dad.

Check out that Frozen Hagoita! I love the Kabuki ones best.

We also saw this puppy in a pet-store (?) window T-T ❤

After Asakusa, we visited Akiba briefly- particularly Yodobashi camera, where we also went up to a top floor and had some conveyor-belt sushi.

This evening I had a tour booked with a woman named Sachiko: a “Girl’s Night-Life In Shinjuku”, mainly visiting a Host Club! Normally tourists aren’t allowed in, but with Sachiko as my guide I got a glimpse at this strange world of manufactured flirtation and overpriced drinks.

We met at Shinjuku station and headed out into Kabukicho. We stopped briefly at a konbini where Sachiko told me the rules of the clubs and expectations for first-time visitors. Most importantly, we couldn’t let slip that we were there on a one-time tour experience, because the staff depend on commissions from repeat customers, so it would not be a good vibe.

The club was in an outwardly drab and non-descript building, but as soon as we stepped off the elevator we were surrounded by luxe, cavernous spaces and perfumed air. We were seated and drank shochu mixed with orange juice as we chatted with the first hosts to our table.

The men were as stylishly groomed as the interior of the club. Sachiko did most of the talking at first while I sipped at my drink. Once we got into the swing of conversation I of course showed off pics of Tegan and Butters, and we also discussed various anime and manga series, as well as J-horror (I guess the Japanese horror movies I love so much are not as well known as I would have thought!)

It was interesting, if at times a bit awkward. We spoke almost entirely in Japanese the whole time, making me acutely aware of my limitations… at one point a guy asked “so, how do you find boys in Japan compared to Canada?” and I replied “hmm, I think that generally most Japanese men have better style”, but I didn’t realize at first that I used the word “kare” to mean boy, which, while technically correct, is colliqually used almost always to mean “boyfriend”. So, they laughed and said “are they going to fight eachother!?!?” at which point I realized I had basically said “I think (my) boyfriend in Japan has much better style than (my) boyfriend in Canada” LOL OOPS. IT ISN”T LIKE THAT, I SWEAR ^-^’

The hosts would visit our table two at a time, and each would give their business card. Ryu’s business card was by-far the most impressive (hard luxe-golden shining plastic with a stylish headshot of himself) but Kido’s is also cool, a sparkling city skyline with a big heart constellation. Kido was the one who talked to me the most, asked to see more pictures on my phone, and complimented me on my cosplay and stuff, so he was the Host that I chose to have revisit our table at the end of our stay. Sachiko chose Ryu. They walked us out to the elevator together when it was time to leave.

All in all, it was a bit less intense than I was expecting- it sort of felt similar to just chatting with strangers in a bar. Still, an interesting memory and an experience!

I stopped at some gachapon and crane games at Adores on the way back to the hotel- man, I wasted like 2000 yen on nothing! How did we win so many little toys and plushies last time we visited!? Dustin even got a decent sized Kirby plush when we came here on our last trip… maybe Taito station is easier to win at than Adores? Or maybe I just suck T-T

Tokyo Memories Day 5: Pigs and Kawaii Monster Girls!

A month ago Dustin and I began our trip in Tokyo! So, as with our last trip, I’ve decided to copy out each day of my travel journal into my blog. Each day for the next 18 days I will share a post of what we did in Tokyo a month prior.

So, let’s get into it!

From Shauna’s Journal

Day 5, December 18th, 2019

Today I remember Jonghyun, with love.

Today we got up extra early because I had made us an ultra-important reservation: the MiPig cafe in Harajuku!

We got to Harajuku early and first bought some eye wash and drops- my eye has been red and irritated the last couple days 😦 Then we sat at the tiny cafe at the entrance to Meiji Jingu (beautiful) and I got a tasty ice cream.

The MiPig cafe was even better than I’d hoped for. We booked an enclosed space, and the staff brought us 2 little pigs for our 1hr visit. Both of them almost immediately climbed into my lap and snuggled right into me! They were so sweet, gentle, and snuggly. Their names were Stella and Maple. We got a couple of tiny cakes and cafe au lait, but the pigs were truly the star of the show, dozing off in my lap. Amazing.

After MiPig, we high-tailed it to the Kawaii Monster Cafe, where we enjoyed wonka-esque colourful decor, fanciful foods, and a Kawaii Monster Girl performance. I got a picture with the girls afterward and they complimented my gel nails! ❤

I finished my Christmas shopping for Mom and Chy in Sunshine City, and then visited my old haunt the BL Gakuen Cafe where I met a kind British girl named Jasmine. We chatted for quite a while!

Tokyo Memories- Day 4: Akiba Fun and Meeting Pikachu!

A month ago Dustin and I began our trip in Tokyo! So, as with our last trip, I’ve decided to copy out each day of my travel journal into my blog. Each day for the next 18 days I will share a post of what we did in Tokyo a month prior.

So, let’s get into it!

From Shauna’s Journal

Day 4, December 17th, 2019

Today Dusty and I wandered Akihabara together, stopping at Maach Ecute (fancy o.o), Mandarake, Animate, & Kotobukiya. I had some really tasty taiyaki (bacon & egg, and premium cream) from Kurikoan, and later on we went to Akiba Ichi’s UDX Resturaunt area where we had delicious conveyor- belt sushi at Aburi.

I had a reservation for the two of us for the Pokemon Cafe near Tokyo Station, but Dustin was walked-out, so I went on a solo journey to Pokemon Center DX.

Farewell Dustin my love!
We could see eachother across the station platform XD

I bought some xmas gifts for Dustin and also the softest, fluffiest Pikachu stuffie! The cashier told me “please take care of Pikachu” in English.

Pika pika!

At 6, I entered the cafe, which is ADORABLE- cute Pokemon displays everywhere, themed food, and best of all a BIG PIKACHU WHO WALKS AROUND AND POSES AND DANCES AND SHAKES HANDS omg it was so cute when his ears wiggled!

Pikachu… what have I done? I’m so sorry T-T
When I shook Pikachu’s hand. Omg starstruck XD

As I was leaving the Pokemon cafe and waiting in line to pay, I noticed a cute little boy playing with my bag strap. He was looking at me and smiling. When I got back to the hotel I realized he had put his collectable Pokemon Cafe coaster in my bag! 😮

Each day I think my feet couldn’t hurt more, but then I crawl back to the hotel and night and prove myself wrong. Owwww… so much walking >.<

And so, I must now rest.

Tokyo Memories- Day 3: Two Tattoos, MewTwo, And Nintendo, Too

A month ago Dustin and I began our trip in Tokyo! So, as with our last trip, I’ve decided to copy out each day of my travel journal into my blog. Each day for the next 18 days I will share a post of what we did in Tokyo a month prior.

So, let’s get into it!

From Shauna’s Journal

Day 3, December 16th, 2019

I’m freaking exhausted but I need to get this incredible day down on paper before I go to bed! Today was tattoo day at Studio Muscat, so I headed out to the train station early to find the place (amidst some major construction in Shibuya). The train ride from Ikebukuro to Shibuya (around 7:50-8:20ish?) was INTENSE. I now know what it’s like to be squeezed into the train. I had never experienced it before, not even during our entire trip in 2017, but this was legit cram-packed. I had strangers intimately squished against me from every angle, and we moved and swayed as one big wave of humans. Something about it was sort of beautiful- everyone just stayed still and quiet and carried on with their routine despite having their nose pressed against a stranger’s armpit. The pressure against me from all angles reminded me of how a mother swaddles her baby- I was swaddled with and by humanity today.

So finally I made it to Studio Muscat and had wonderful sessions with Haruka (my tattoo of a cat resting on a traditional ball bell toy w. ribbon) and Eiji (my tattoo of a nephilia clavata spider). Both were very kind and professional, and thanked me for the cards I wrote them and the maple candies I brought them from Canada. I also chatted with some American tourists who came in to inquire about tattoos. 🙂

Catching Pokemon inside the studio as I wait for my appointment…

At some points I was cursing myself WHO’S IDEA WAS IT TO GET TWO TATTOOS IN THE SAME DAY?! (mine) as it was painful at times getting all stages of both tattoos done in one day with no numbing (the highlights of Haruka’s tattoo hurt like a BIIITCH) but I’m glad I got them done!

After my tattoos I visited the next-door cafe “Reism Stand” because I had the tattoo-shakes and needed to eat something. I got a hot cafe latte and some amazing, thick French Toast with apple and cinnamon.

Next, I headed to Shibuya to meet up with Dustin. I briefly perused Village Vanguard (a claustrophobic cavern of novelties and trinkets) and then checked out the Punyus in Shibuya 109 where I could actually find clothes that fit me!

Dusty and I headed to the brand new Parco building and had a lot of fun exploring the new Pokemon store– huge glass tank with MewTwo suspended inside! Poke-nostalgia! The store also features a new graffiti art theme.

The Capcom and Shonen Jump stores were pretty cool, too.

We waited in line for about 30 minutes (a line that extended down a winding stairwell!) so that we could browse the extremely popular new Nintendo Store! I went to the one in New York years ago (2007?ish?) on my choir trip for High School, but this one is apparently the first one in Japan! I spent a significant amount of money there o.o

Lastly, we explored the basement level which is full of unique and quirky resturaunts and cafes. We stopped at Tyffonium Cafe, a whimsical spot with a sort of steampunk-circus vibe. The cafe uses AR cards for augmented reality that can be displayed on your table using a tablet. Each parfait you order comes with a different AR card (which you get to keep!) that gives you a different visual show, each seeming to be based on/tie-ins to particular video games. I chose the “Tarot” parfait, and it was so strange and wonderful! It had a gummy ball, clear and round on top, and an umbrella of gelatin which draped over the parfait. I love textures, so it was FUN to eat!

My Tarot parfait
Dustin’s parfait

Tokyo Memories – Day 2: Feeling Fancy in Harajuku

A month ago Dustin and I began our trip in Tokyo! So, as with our last trip, I’ve decided to copy out each day of my travel journal into my blog. Each day for the next 18 days I will share a post of what we did in Tokyo a month prior.

So, let’s get into it!

From Shauna’s Journal

Day 2, December 15th, 2019

I woke up at like 4am so I decided to go to the 6th floor and do our laundry (***note from current day Shauna- if you’re wondering why we already had laundry to do on day 2… I packed VERY LIGHTLY). There were hardly any English instructions in the laundry room and I couldn’t find any laundry detergent, so I used some hotel hand soap… then I used my translation app and I’m pretty sure the machine I used says “no detergent required”… -_- I used the all-in-one washer/dryer and all the other ones said to use detergent so I didn’t imagine… hope it won’t cause any problems!

O hai thar

I can’t get back to sleep T-T Today I have a hair appt. and my first ever nail appt. so I am excited!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

WOW. I had a really fun day! I went to Harajuku early so I would have plenty of time to find Nail Salon Avarice and Sozo Hair & Make. As such, I had time to explore a little, so I bought some gifts for people at the big Daiso on Takeshita street and I also got a couple of PomuPomuPurin items at Sanrio Vivatix.

Once I located Avarice (it was in a tricky location) I had over an hour to kill, so I decided to visit a cafe. I found a really cute one just down the road from Avarice called Hiroman’s Coffee, and it was a great choice: not too busy (since it’s away from the main tourist area) and so cute- vines cover the top of the exterior, and inside are lots of dainty and sweet decor. They also had cute parfait and snack options, so I got an “animal pudding” (pudding stamped with a cute pig, with a dot of whipped cream, a maraschino cherry, and berry sauce). I also got a strawberry iced milk with tapioca, and a cup of coffee. ❤

My nail appt. at Avarice was so cool- the place is on the second floor of a multi-purpose building, and when I stepped inside it had a very cool, laid-back vibe: cement walls decorated with “souvenirs from our clients”, mostly from trips to places like Mexico. 2 women were having their nails done as I entered, and after I was seated they put The Holiday (one of my fave xmas movies!) on.

Akira, who I’d made my appointment with, is an award-winning nail artist with 10 years experience, and he blew me away with what he did for me. 3 hours of insanely detailed, skilled work. I asked for nails inspired by the works of Yamamoto Takato, and he did it! Skulls, vampires, ethereal eyeballs, deadly flowers- gorgeous.

nails by @aki.laccio based on the artworks of Yamamoto Takato

With 5 minutes to spare, I ran across the street to Sozo Hair & Make for my hair appointment. It was the best salon experience I’ve ever had. Yusuke washed my hair and gave me a scalp massage, then before cutting my hair massaged my shoulders very well (I was stiff from sitting for 3 hours prior!)

He gave me the hime (“princess”) style cut I’ve been dreaming of for months. I haven’t had a haircut in over a year (since I was saving $$$ for this trip) so it feels good to have a fresh cut <3. Yusuke was meticulous, and also made me feel relaxed.

The assistant was a girl from Vancouver who was very friendly and we chatted about Canada, my nails, the YMM wildfire of 2016, and other stuff.

I asked Yusuke if he could recommend someplace to eat, as I was pretty hungry by this point, and he told me about a ramen shop called Hajime, so I stopped there for a bite. I got soup all over my white shirt ^-^’ but luckily it came off pretty easily for the most part.

I finished off my day picking up some souvenirs from Oriental Bazaar (traditional handicrafts) and the big Kiddyland store on Omotesando. The Omotesando Christmas lights seemed to go on forever- beautiful!

I caught a train back to Ikebukuro and thought I could figure out my way back to Sunshine City, but I ended going in circles a few times. I definitely gave my legs a good workout today.

Tokyo Memories – Day 1: Ikebukuro From Above

A month ago Dustin and I began our trip in Tokyo! So, as with our last trip, I’ve decided to copy out each day of my travel journal into my blog. Each day for the next 18 days I will share a post of what we did in Tokyo a month prior.

Today’s post also includes the day we arrived, and then gets into our first full day in Tokyo!

From Shauna’s Journal

Day .5 December 13th, 2019 (arrival day)

We’ve finally arrived in Tokyo for the trip we’ve (okay, mostly me) been planning and prepping and dreaming all year. We had an overnight layover in Edmonton last night, then were up bright and early to head to Vancouver and finally Narita Airport.

Goodbye Canada!

As I write this we are riding the Narita Express train, which will whisk us to Ikebukuro where we will be staying (convenient if you have lots of luggage and want to avoid the busy train stations).

For this trip we’ve decided to stay in Tokyo rather than making additional trips around Japan. Our last trip in 2017 was AMAZING, and we had the time of our lives visiting onsen in Gunma and Kinosaki, exploring Kyoto, and so on

BUT

this trip we want to focus on the many, many things to do, see, and eat in Tokyo. ❤

We’re staying at the Sunshine Prince Hotel. Tonight we checked into our hotel and then pretty much fell into bed after a quick shower. zzzZZZzzzZZZ

This fancy butler dude was there to greet us upon our arrival at Sunshine Prince…

Day 1, December 14th, 2019

We started off our day with some konbini sandwiches and snacks, then headed out to do some shopping and exploring. It’s very busy in Ikebukuro today! The Pokemon centre was overwhelmingly packed full of people.

The shoes I packed have already destroyed my feet >.< and it’s much warmer here than we were expecting, our hotel room is very stuffy. But hey, we’re in Tokyo, I really can’t complain!

I don’t know if I have jet-lag or what, but I feel sort of weird today, like I’m in a state of depersonalization? I guess I can’t believe I’m finally here again. ❤

I got to visit a Rilakkuma store today, and WOW it was amazing. I spent a lot ^-^’ but I guess I was saving up for a long time so it’s ok, right? o.o’ The best thing I got was a big plush Rilakkuma and Friends xmas tree: it’s pink and beautiful and has little plush characters and xmas ornaments all over. So, in a way we have our own little xmas tree in our hotel room with us 🙂

Tonight we finished off our day by visiting the Sunshine 60 Observatory on the 60th floor of Sunshine City. We could see out to the night cityscape and played with some optical illusions and trick mirrors. I also tried out a VR experience where I got into a large cannon and it felt like I was being shot out.

Afterwards we had sushi on the 59th floor, and it was so fresh and delicious -_- mmmm. I complimented the sushi chefs (“oishiikatta!”) and they were very thankful. And then I was thankful because one of them came running after me as we were leaving and caught me at the elevator– I had left my phone on the table! >.<

Now we are tired, sore, and well-fed, and so ready for bed.