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.

Check out day 2, Feeling Fancy in Harajuku, here !

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Japan Memories Day 2: Embarrassing Myself in a Konbini!

This is day 2 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 2, here we go!

From Shauna’s Journal

Day 2, October 2nd, 2017

We woke up quite early this morning after sleeping for hours and hours. The konbini (convenience store) beside our hotel was closed until 10am, so we wandered around to find food. We ended up at an adorable bakery where we shared a delicious quiche-ish sandwich, melon bun, grape bun, and sesame cream horn. All of them were so good; we drank apple juice with it.

 

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A lot of businesses are featuring decorations and special items for Halloween! I love Halloween, so I am in my element.

After eating we went to the konbini to buy a few essentials (sunscreen, etc.) and I had a very embarrassing moment. I was waiting to pay for my stuff when suddenly Dustin grabbed me by the shoulder and steered me forcefully away. I was like WHAT THE HECK DUSTIN!?!? But apparently he had been calling my name repeatedly because a man was trying to get my attention due to the fact that I had unknowingly cut in line. Oops! I didn’t notice there are little arrows on the floors and designated areas to line up, and I didn’t see that there were customers standing in the middles of the aisles waiting to pay! I was so embarrassed and worried about bothering the staff and customers.

We took our purchases and headed back to the hotel to get ready to check out and head to Ikebukuro, and Dustin starts feeling nauseous. We aren’t sure if it was humidity, jet-lag, or the Poccari Sweat drink he had, but he ended up puking and feeling gross the rest of the day, unfortunately.

We checked out and headed back to Akiba station, where I grabbed some adorable bunny-themed souvenirs and gifts. By the time we reached Ikebukuro Station Dustin was in need of Tylenol, so we went to a drug store in the station and I attempted to get some for him with my attempts at speaking Japanese. It went something like this:

Me: “Ibupurofen wa arimasu ka?” (Do you have ibuprofen?)

Cashier: *puzzled look*

Me: “Tairenoru? Adobuiru?” (Tylenol? Advil?)

Cashier: “eeh…. Nihongo?” (Um… in Japanese?)

Me: *rubs head with pained expression, trying to show “headache”*

Young Guy Behind Me in Line: *stifled chortle* “You need Tylenol? *explains to cashier in Japanese*

Me: “DOUMO ARUGATOU GOZAIMASU!!!” (THANK YOU SO MUCH)

What would I do without the kindness of strangers? Thank you random dude! 

We made the trek to our hotel, Tokyu Stay Ikebukuro, where we were able to drop off our bags but couldn’t check in until 3pm. So, Dustin looked up a random sushi place and we went in.

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Streets of Ikebukuro near our hotel.

We almost turned around and left because it was a very tiny conveyor belt sushi place and all the seats were already taken by locals, but we were seen and greeted with “Irashaimasu!” (Welcome!) and were directed to a waiting area bench where we sat for a few minutes until some spots freed up. 

It was SO TASTY! We ate a lot of sushi for a good price. The intimacy of the little sushi-ya was lovely, and the staff were very helpful. I fumbled with the hot water dispenser (for tea) but staff noticed right away and showed me how to use it.

At one point, Dusty and I each chose drinks at a vending machine. He chose one with blue packaging called “Aqua” or something, hoping it was plain water. I chose one, “I Lohas”, with green packaging, hoping it was flavored water, but both of our selections were the opposite of what we wanted, so we traded!

After lunch we headed to Animate: a 7 floor behemoth store of otome stuff, official merch, drama cds, adorable plushies and figurines: so many things to explore, it is amazing! It was nicely air conditioned inside and we were sweating SO MUCH at this point after having hauled our bags around that morning. My back felt so wet I thought something was leaking in my backpack! 

We headed back to our hotel with our bags full of gashapon (coin-machine toys) and other cool stuff.

 

After a glorious shower, I headed back out to get our advance-reservation tickets for the Eorzea cafe at a Lawson Konbini- my friend Maika kindly did the online reservation for us! A helpful Lawson staff helped me figure everything out on the self-serve ticket computer.

I went back to the “Otome Road” area and visited Lashinbang, a 6 floor building with lots of unique items. There’s just no telling what you might see on the fabled otome road- stores and floors full of niche, quirky, sometimes blush-inducing items. I got some Diabolik Lovers and Amnesia doujinshi (fan-made comics)!

 

After that I decided to wander a bit and ended up at Tokyu Hands: seemingly endless floors of everything from camping gear to stationary. I got lots of stickers and gifts, including my most exciting find yet: flipbooks! I adore these creative little things!

Before heading back I went to Family Mart, as I was starving and basically out of cash (I actually had to cancel a few items at Tokyu Hands…). So, I got onigiri (rice ball), egg sandwiches, and fried chicken for us. All were good. The chicken was gloriously greasy!

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I loaded up on oil blotting sheets kuz the humidity is no joke!

As I was walking back to the hotel it began to rain, and most people had umbrellas at the ready (except me). However, the rain was actually refreshing and didn’t bother me as it gave me a different look (hey, i’m not a sweaty tourist, it’s just rain! Really!…)

People were scooting around, trying to avoid the rainfall. As I neared the hotel a few guys were standing talking and all had umbrellas. One looked at me and ‘tut-tut’ted as if to say “aw, poor thing”. I felt like he was going to approach and offer his konbini umbrella to me, but I didn’t want to be a nuisance so I speed-walked back to the hotel!

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This is one of my favorite pictures from our trip.

 

Tomorrow is Day 3: Shinjuku Park, Giant Spiders, and Square Enix Cafe!