Japan Memories Day 18: Shibuya Scrambled Fashion, Revisiting Akiba, VAMPIRE CAFE and My Bloody Surprise!?!?!

This is day 18 of revisiting my journal from our trip to Japan last year! If you’d like to start at the beginning, here is day 1.

So, day 18, here we go!

From Shauna’s Journal

Day 18, October 18th, 2017

Dusty and I each took off for some solo activities today. First I headed to Shibuya to check out the famous Shibuya Scramble and Shibuya 109. The scramble was a big wave of people all crossing at once, although it was similar to some of the scrambles in Ikebukuro- just bigger! I saw some people doing a Mario Kart race.

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Mario Kart in Shibuya!

Shibuya 109 was a seemingly never-ending tower of fast fashion- it was overwhelming, and although I rode the escalators all the way to the top and did a walkaround of every floor, I didn’t buy one thing.

I also went to Akiba again, roaming and exploring. I ate a delicious crepe from Crazy Crepes and got some more ball-jointed doll supplies at Rajio Kaikan. 

Next came the highlight of my day- Theme Cafe #8: the Vampire Cafe in Ginza. Ginza is not an area that I would spend much time normally- it is full of expensive boutique shops that are intimidating- it’s hard to find a casual restaurant or a place to have a leisurely browse. However, the Vampire Cafe was one of the places that I REALLY wanted to visit, so I entered Ginza, feeling sort of like Tsukimi from Princess Jellyfish- a meek geeky girl entering the land of The Stylish. 

The Vampire Cafe was a b!t<h to find. I’m glad I left early, as I was wandering around for about an hour trying to find it- it’s on the 7th floor of a hotel building, and the tall buildings in Ginza were throwing off my GPS, I think. 

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I arrived and was greeted and seated by two vampiric men in heavy eyeliner and hooded clothes. The place is decorated to the nines- blood cell pattern on the hallway floors, candles and coffins, skulls, satin, and vampire kitsch. 

I got a little booth to myself (Maika kindly helped me make a reservation but I doubt I would have needed it anyway) and my booth had a blood-red curtain that made my spot feel cosy and private. I was provided with a drink menu in the shape of a coffin featuring cocktails such as Dracula, Nosferatu, Carmilla and Necromancer. I ordered the latter.

The menu for food offered such delicacies as Van Helsing’s Dead Body (a meat dish), and several other strange meals. My waiter brought me a complimentary fried-lizard appetizer. (It wasn’t a real lizard… I think…)

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I ordered a “squid ink” pasta calamari dish that came with DEATH written on the plate in chocolate (?) powder and a long scythe. A crispy skull chip (?) also adorned my plate. 

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I had special drinks and desserts as well, such as Pumpkin Juice and Jack’s Pumpkin Head.

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The waiters spoke in theatrically low voices. I heard them chuckling about me (“something something gaijin something hahaha”). Yes, the awkward shy gaijin came alone. I HAVE NO SHAME! XD

So, i’ve been there for about an hour by this point, and i’m feeling a tad left down that Vampire Rose, the face of the establishment, hasn’t appeared. Oh well, I thought, it was fun anyway. But then I heard a couple of girls a few tables over squeeing about something. And then I saw his unmistakable lavishly dressed silhouette. 

I worked up the courage to ask my waiter if Vampire Rose’s CD was for sale (he is a visual kei artist, and the lead singer in a vampire heavy metal band!) which it was. So he said “chotto matte” (hang on a sec) and left me for several minutes of anticipation. And as i’d surmised, it was Vampire Rose who came to give me the CD. 

My blood-red curtain was thrown back instantly in a flash. I was caught off guard. He said something in Japanese that I didn’t catch. I said “good evening”. He said more things (in the deep, theatrical voice) to which I nodded and kept saying “hai. Hai.” (yes, yes) despite having no clue what I was responding to. He seemed to realize I was flustered and from then on he had a smirk plastered on his face o.o

I paid for the CD and asked if he would please sign it. He got a silver marker and wrote my name, his signature, and the date.

Then I plucked up the courage to ask “shashin wa… daijobu?” (a picture… is it alright?), since I knew that the cafe staff often took pictures with visitors. He said yes and when I stood up he placed his hand on the small of my back and steered me to the middle of the cafe.

I stood awkwardly beside him as a staff member took my phone for a photo. I was wondering what to do with myself for the photo (how does one pose for a photo with a vampire?) when suddenly Vampire Rose’s hand took a vice-grip on the back of my neck. It was… amazing XD the vampire fangirl in me sang out silently and I felt the blood rushing to my cheeks. He held on until the photo was taken. 

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As the picture was being taken I heard some girls exclaim “kawaii!”- I think at my fangirlishness over Vampire Rose. I can’t help it!~ I thanked the staff and floated back to my table to grab my bags.

So finally I am about to leave and I ask Rose where the bathroom is. He walks me a few steps and then points at a cluster of concave skulls in the middle of the crowded resturaunt and meets my eyes. I look at him like… huh!? And he smiles “kidding!” pointing me to the (real) restroom down the hall. I felt his smirk on my back as I escorted myself out. 

When I finally got back to our hotel in Ikebukuro some time later, I was buzzing with excitement as I told Dustin all about the Vampire Cafe. I sat on the edge of the bed, fangirling shamelessly to my husband, when I took off my shoes.

“Huh” I remarked- “the dye on my shoes must have rubbed off on my (white) socks?” Dustin looked over at my socks, saturated red.

“Wait. My shoes are blue”. 

I walked so much today that, by the time I reached the vampire cafe, my feet were literally BLEEDING ALL OVER MY SOCKS. 

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Tomorrow is Day 19: Hello Sawanoya Ryokan, Hantei Kushiage, Nakano Broadway, Queen Dolce Danso Cafe and Relaxing Ryokan Soak!

 

 

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Japan Memories Day 5: Akihabara, Eorzea Cafe, Pokemon Centre, and meeting up with a friend in Shin Okubo!

This is day 5 of revisiting my journal from our trip to Japan last year! If you’d like to start at the beginning, here is day 1.

So, day 5, here we go!

From Shauna’s Journal

Day 5, October 5th, 2017

Today was another busy, fun-filled day. Dustin and I had our reservation for theme cafe #4: Eorzea cafe, so we headed to Akiba. We were a bit early, so we explored the Animate there until the cafe opened. Despite a couple hiccups with our language barrier, we were able to order successfully and enjoyed the cute menu items and recognizable music and decor from FFXIV.

The cafe provided a tablet for us to order from. When we ordered drinks we got special collectible coasters. There was even a Cactpot event where an announcer pulled cards to determine which tables won prizes! 

We had a great time exploring Akiba and visiting iconic shops such as Mandarake, Rajio Kaikan, and Super Potato.

Dustin doesn’t want to go to a maid cafe, but I do! A maid handed me this on the street- so cute! I’ve heard some maids sing songs to make your food taste better… wonder if it works?! 😉

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Near the top of Rajio Kaikan there were these beautiful jointed dolls you could design from scratch and customize with different outfits and accessories. I thought they were adorable but Dustin said he thinks they are a bit creepy! I might go back and buy one sometime… 🙂 (note: I did!)

We headed to Pokemon Centre Ikebukuro next, where we found SUPER cute Pokemon goods! I got a chirimen (Japanese cloth) Pikachu! Dustin got a really cute Slowpoke. 

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After the Pokemon centre we took a taxi back to the hotel (the driver was so nice!) and I freshened up to meet Maika in Shin Okubo (Dustin’s feet were killing him by this point, so he stayed behind to relax). 

I waited for Maika at the station, and when she found me she gave me a big hug- she’s so sweet! We walked and talked about our travels, our jobs, Japan, Canada, food, everything. We randomly selected a Korean restaurant that looked good. The inside was papered with kpop posters. I ordered a kind of korean onion pancake thing. We shared some foods, and when I looked to some big jars near the window and remarked “MAN, those olives are HUGE”, Maika said “oh, they’re plums!” Turns out it was a house-made alcohol so we ordered some. It was sweet and tasty.The owner even gave us a couple plums from the jar to taste. YUM.

Before we left, the owner saw me take a photo of his SHINee poster, and he got SO EXCITED to meet a SHINee fan from Canada. He took my picture with the poster, exclaiming “Beautiful!”. He was especially excited when I said that Key is my bias member of SHINee and then he showered me with candy and packages of nori! He was pleading with me to come back again. I think I will at some point if I get a chance. (note: I never did have a chance to go back to the restaurant on this trip, as I couldn’t find it when I was back in Shin Okubo again- I wish I knew the name of this place!)

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My mystery restaurant ❤

Maika and I stopped briefly at The Saem where I squeed over SHINee advertisements and bought a few skincare items. Then we searched until we found an arcade that had a Taiko Drum game that I had mentioned wanting to play, and we played several rounds (including Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s “Pon Pon Pon” and Totoro songs!) I tried my hand at a crane game in an attempt to win a bunny plushie, but after 3 tries I decided to save my 100 yen coins!

It was so wonderful to meet up with a friend in Japan, as it can feel quite lonely sometimes to be in a place where you are very much an outsider with only a rudimentary understanding of the language. I had a lot of fun with Maika tonight.

Tomorrow’s post will be day 6:  Maid Cafe, Dollification, THE BEST BEEF EVER, Crushing the Crane Game, and EARTHQUAKE!!!