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!!!

 

 

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Japan Memories Day 4: SHINee Day, Harajuku Purikura Fail, and a Shiba named Hamu!

This is day 4 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 4, here we go!

From Shauna’s Journal

Day 4, October 4th, 2017

After powering up with some konbini snacks, I decided to go on a solo adventure today. I headed out to Ikebukuro station, where I took a non-JR train line for the first time using my suica card. It was easy! I took the Maranouchi line to Akasaka and sought out Theme Cafe/Bar #2 of the trip: SMT Tokyo (SMT is the company that my favorite Kpop group, SHINee, works with!). My goal was to have a drink at the SHINee bar where they have huge portraits of each member adorned by artistically placed neon tube lights. I asked the man at the door if I could dine in the SHINee area, but he said something about “unfortunately…” and I knew reservations were often standard at places like this, so I felt a bit let down, but no biggie. I asked to see the gift shop, which was upstairs, and he pointed me in that direction. The walls going up were covered with portraits of SM artists; I saw Taemin, Jonghyun, and Key.

To my surprise, the SHINee bar was directly next to the gift shop, on the same floor! A woman offered me a stool and handed me a menu. I got to “dine with SHINee” after all! I got a korean soda and a sort of bibimbap salad that was delicately presented with edible flowers, kimchi, and light broth. At first I was alone, but then two girls came up and sat near me.

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After my success at SMT I took a brief stop in Harajuku on my way to Shin Okubo. Being a Wednesday it was pretty busy, but not insane. I bought some limited edition Halloween Sanrio stuff, explored a couple clothing shops, gawked at huge cotton candy poofs, and attempted doing purikura… I accidentally chose a 2 person set, which I did by myself, and then I couldn’t figure out how to print my pics (there was another booth I was supposed to go to, but I couldn’t find it?) so I left awkwardly without my pics… ^-^’ Oh well, maybe I can go with one of my friends sometime and they can show me how to do it.

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Isn’t this Arisa? I recognize her from Key & Ari’s “We Got Married” season!

At Shin Okubo I found some really cool SHINee merch and got a tasty drink at theme cafe #3 of the trip, Kpop Cafe Caesar, which was decorated with kpop stuff, including SHINee!

Before heading back to the hotel I donated some money to an animal rescue and got to pet an adorable Shiba Inu named Hamu, who was blind. Then I visited a 100 yen shop CanDo, and went back to donate again and see Hamu a second time before calling it a day!

Tomorrow is day 5: Akihabara, Eorzea Cafe, Pokemon Centre, and meeting up with a friend!