Friday, January 11, 2013

Tokyo Trip in Nov 2012

Ahh... finally have the time to blog about my japan trip. This post is going to be kinda long but kinda short at the same time hahaha  We'll see how it goes.  :P

Now, first day of our trip was pretty much flying and flying for hours. There were 8 of us. We took the midnight flight to Gold Coast ( 4 hrs 35mins ) then wait in the airport for a couple of hours, then another 9 hrs to Tokyo. I think we arrived Tokyo about 7pm.

It was a funny day 1. Because we were too tired from the midnight flight (we couldn't sleep + baby's crying) when we got there in Gold Coast, we just wanna rest and relax. Had beer, had some food, chit chat and we thought we still have time, so some of us girls went to the toilet and queue. Laughing and suddenly I heard Joe's name on the announcement saying our flight is boarding!!! I quickly grabbed my friend and run! OMG that moment was so funny! Apparently the announcer call all our names and Joe quickly ask all of us to go now! We grabbed all our bags and ran to the door! We are like headless chooks running around! (there you go Judy lol you know what I mean :P )

Phew! Luckily we are not the last one.. there were 2 other guys were late too. Finally calm ourselves down, put on our U shape pillow and SLEEP! The seats from GC to Narita was much better than Perth to GC.

After 9 hours flight, we were finally there in Tokyo. Breathing Tokyo air~!!
I might sound a little crazy here because Japan was my dream destination since I was in high school. Finally.. after 17 years, I am there! My mouth was literally like this :o  all the way.

Thank god one of our friend did quite a lot of research for this trip. Our else, we will be so lost.
So what we did after we arrived?

Day 1 - Shinjuku

 First thing you do is go to the Citibank Booth to get your Yens out!
After a serious research on the conversion rates and money exchange, Alan found out that Citibank offers the best rates and it is convenient for us to take out money anytime. Just look for the Citibank ATM, you can redraw your money straight from Australia account.  Of course, you will have to open a Citibank account first in Australia in order for you to do that.

 Then go to the Ticket Office and get the Suica. If I'm not mistaken, it is only for tourist.


To find out more, click here.

These are the Suica Booklet and card.

These are the tickets To and From Shinjuku Train Station. Each person have 2 tickets.
They are timed too. So you have to be punctual when you gonna get on the train. Be there at least 10 minutes earlier to be safe.

If you are a person who can't live without internet, then you should get this Pocket Wifi while you are in the airport. Do some research first before you rent one. I wanted to rent Global Advance Comm's pocket wifi, unfortunately it was closed, so we had to rent from other company. Just simply pick one and paid about ______. It was really useful! We google map, look for place, train lines, and a lot more through internet! Bad side was.. our pocket wifi runs out of battery so fast, we had to charge it on the go with a portable rechargable battery. It was probably too old..  :(
Pocket Wifi can be used for up to 6 people in one time too! So I'm glad I rented it.

After everything done, time to take the train! While waiting, go to the vending machine and get yourself a can of hot corn soup! YUMMMMM....

Hop onto the train, put the luggage near the entrance in the luggage area.

Train ride was about 40 minutes. There will be a guy pushing trolley around selling food and drinks.
I was feeling peckish at that time, so I got myself a waffle!

After a long walk with our luggage, we finally arrived to our hotel!

Checked in, dropped our bags into our rooms, pee pee, freshen up and off we go!
Dinner time!

I like how they section all into rooms to have privacy. 
You will have to take out your shoes before you go in to your room.  :)

This restaurant is famous with bbq skewers and icy cold beer!
Order it through a touch screen on your table (they have english version too) We kept ordering because everything sounds so good!

These are just part of it.. I don't want to make you hungry lol

We were like hungry monsters nomming all the food! It was great!

After dinner, we decided to walk around and explore the area a bit more...

Suddenly we ended up in a homemade noodle shop having udon at Midaseimenjo 三田製麵所

OMG you serious???

I couldn't eat anymore but I didn't want to miss out! Luckily my friend and I decided to share a small bowl.. They have 3 sizes, Small, Medium and Large. Price difference? Not much. 

So.. most of them ordered Large for themselves... then the funny story starts.

First comes the meat and nicely done eggs.. ooooo.. look at the creamy egg yolks!!

Then the bowls of noodles!

Small and the Large!
I think I saw the afraid look from them but they say they gonna finish all!

Yeah.... na... they didn't. hhaha Good try though.

The noodle was springy, the soup base was tasty and the eggs was so nice and creamy!!
I think I would have finish a small (or maybe medium) bowl myself if I wasn't full from the dinner before :P

That's all for Day 1!!!
Go home feeling full and satisfied and tired.

 Day 2  Shinjuku - Yokohama (Noodleey day)

Our first stop in the morning is Takashimaya shopping mall. Not for shopping.. but for our breakfast!

小松奄 Souhonkekomatsuan

It is Soba restaurant. 

This is the display window for their Soba dish. I love food display.. hahaha
I was so tempted to buy a few home in Kappabashi lol

This is part of my meal. It's an ART!

I think Joe's Rice and Noodle set taste better..'s very yummy!

This is just a random shot that I took in the train station. I just find it very rare to have nobody in this tunnel. Tokyo is always packed!

Look at those lunch box!!! So cute! 
Didn't get to try one because we are in a hurry to catch a train to Yokohama.

There you go! We are here! :D

I actually requested to go to Yokohama because of the Nissin Cup Noodle Musuem and Raumen Meseum! They are both in Yokohama. About 45mins-1 hours train ride from Shinjuku.

Tadaa! Nissin Cup Noodle Museum!

A whole room of cup noodles from the first invention to the latest!

A animated short story of the creator, Momofuku Ando.
In Japanese though, but you sort of can guess what they are trying to say. 

His workshop when he started his invention.

NEVER GIVE UP!!!  My motto this year!

Chicken Ramen Factory.
:( This is the reason why I come here.. but I couldn't get in!!! Ticket sold out!
Bloody school holidayyyssssss!!! 

Noodles Bazaar. Food court I guess?
All kinds of noodles around the world. You can have your lunch there.

After that, we went back to the shopping mall near the train station because they sell FOOD!
We walked past this place before we went to Nissin Museum, we were so tempted to just stop and eat here but we resisted!

Anyway, back here again. hehe.
A whole stretch of bread!

Cute bread!!!

We had juices, ice creams, pastries, chocolates and whatever thing that attracts us! Nom!

Next stop. Raumen Museum.

I love this place! The interior, the food, the crowd, the shops, the decorations!! Can you imagine they build all these in the building??? It's so real, I can't accept it!! >_< I'm going crazy.

On the ground floor, they sell souvenirs and packet ramen, packet food.

Underground, it's like a whole new village!
There's old shops like this candy shop! Selling sweets and snacks from the olden days.

Me and the funny old man.

Then lowest floor is all the renowned ramen shop from all over Japan!

I know 9 is not much, but when you have to pick 1 to go in is hard!
After picking the restaurant that you want to go to, buy the ticket from the machine, grab the tickets, and give it to the waitress.

Noodles served here.

Yummo Yummo!!!
Look! it's that soft creamy egg again!! All of us in love with that egg!


Some of our friends went to different ramen shop and they claim their ramen is the best!!!
Well, we don't know til we try it!! I guess, they are all very yum :)

More photos ..

After Ramen museum, it's time to say good bye to Yokohama...
I must say, Raumen Museum is better than Nissin Cup Noodle Musuem. Probably because I didn't get to make my own cup noodle!!!! :(  lol

On the way back, we manage to snap of photos  and bought a pack of Takoyaki to share.

It was good!!! Om nom nom...

Got lost in the train stations and took about 2 hours to get back to Shinjuku.
If you ask me if I know how to go from there to here, I will give you a "blur" face and shake my head. I have no idea at all. Probably need to go there again to learn hahahaha

Back to Shinjuku and went to the 24hours shopping mall.

It was pretty dodgy.. but quite interesting.


There were at least 6-7 floors selling from party stuff to electrical to branded goods.

We bought lots of snacks there. :P

Then we passed by a Game shop. We played all kinds of machine and the guys got jackpot of something! I don't know what is it call. I only know there's a lot of coins!

After Jackpot, the guys found out that they can't actually change it back to cash! What the.....
So they gave the whole tray of coins the grandma grandpa that was playing. Wasted but I think they had a good time. hehe

We won some little toys too.

and took Purikura too~ It's a must~ hahaha

We got back to our hotel about 2-3am and guess what time we had to wake up the next day??

(Both me and my friend couldn't wake up on time. haha we were so tired, we couldn't hear the alarm! I was woken up by the ringing a thousand times doorbell! I quickly wake my friend up and rushed to get ready! I think we did well! We got ourselves ready in 10 minutes! My friend even had her make up on! PRO.)

 Day 3  Fish Market - Asakusa - Kappabashi - Akihabara

If you wanna have a fresh and delicious sushi, you have to go to Tsujiki Fish Market. REAL EARLY.
No I'm not kidding. If you can, get there at 6am!

If you wanna see the fish auction, that will be the time to go. EARLY. Maybe 5am for this lol
We didn't go to see the auction as it was too early for us. :P

 So we went there to have sushi!
You won't believe how long you will have to queue. We first queued up at the popular one. It doesn't look very damn long, but the lady from the restaurant told us that this spot of the line will take about 6 hours waiting time!

We thought we heard wrongly! We confirmed with her again, she said yes, 6 hours.
The reason why it takes so long it is because the restaurant is very small. Fit about 10 people max. So lets say every 10 people go in for 40 minutes, a long line of people! That will be right.. 6-7-8 hours wait. nah.. we went to the other one instead :P

This one waited for 3 hours.

See the first poster on top? Yep! That's what we are having!

While waiting in line, we took turn to walk around the area. 

Fresh Wasabi

Bought Dorayaki and
Both yum!

We bought a lot of knives from this guy.  :P
 I think we bought at least 5 knives from him.

Anyway, this is how it looks like inside the sushi shop.
 ( I took the photo outside secretly while I was waiting in line..  )
They don't allow photographs taken inside the shop. So I can't show you how our sushi look like.

See how small the place is? basically everybody sit at the counter, and the sushi chef will make the sushi on the spot for you. 8 of us went in and took up the whole shop!

After the amazing sushi breakfast, we walked around the fish market area.

It was closed and you just see people cleaning up the place. Oh well, maybe next time :P Maybe.

Next stop. 雷门 Kaminarimon

This place was packed!!! We had to squeeze and push a little when walking. (again.. it's because of school holiday)


Architecture was pretty nice.

Everything is so detailed.

They sell a lot of Daifuku. All kinds, all shapes, all flavours!

I can't remember what is this..  :P

We even tried the fried Daifuku! Nice!

I wanna eat it again :P

We did the fortune telling (bamboo sticks) to try our luck. Joe got a super good one!!! and I got a super bad one :(  I had to tie the paper and leave it there if it's bad.
Good. I don't want it!!!! :(

A lot of things to see, but because we still have other places to go, we cut short our time here and went to Kappabashi. Woohoo! my favourite place!!!!

Kappabashi is a popular kitchen street where all the chefs, restaurant owners or even home cooks or bakers go to buy all their kitchen goods. There are window display fake food, signs, baking stuff, pots and pans, cupboards, cutlery, beautiful bowls and plates, lanterns, packaging and more! It's AMAZING!!! I can shop there for weeks!!!

Signs shop

Packaging shop

Baking shop

Cookware shop

Fake food shop

Dishware shop

Alcohol shop.
Nah I'm kidding, this is actually a convenient store.

I got a 100yen sake. cute!

After that, we went to Akihabara for a short exploration before dinner.

Akihabara is a very interesting place to go!

To me, it felt like I'm in a different country! It's like the world of ANIME!
I don't know how to explain, it's like.. Anime is a country and there are real person with their own culture! You know what I mean? Really interesting!

After that we then to Chicken Place Yakitori Bar  to have our dinner.
It's a nice place to go with friends, have a beer, some skewers and chit chat. I like it there!

These were some of the stuff that we had that night.

Day 4  Harajuku - Ueno

We start our day going to Harajuku to see Cosplay performance..  (ONLY ON SUNDAY AROUND 1PM at the park with fountain near to the train station.)
Unfortunately, we were there too early.. 10am... We can't see any of it but we did saw a few groups of people practising their dance in the park and a man with Alice in the Wonderland costume. 0_0 wtf.
Interesting nevertheless.

Because it was early, we went to Meiji Shrine which locate just next to the train station!
It was a beautiful and serene place to go to.

Joe and I wrote something to the wishing board and hang it here.
Not sure what is it call though. I wish I can read Japanese.

We were lucky to see a few newly weds in Meiji Shrine.

The one of the few maple leaf in the park.

This is just a photo of the billboards in the train line. Actually I want to you to see my future husband - Takuya kimura. hahahahaha (middle one)

Our lunch at Saboten Tonkatsu, Japanese Cutlet restaurant.

It is quite popular internationally as well, I found they have franchises in Hong Kong and Canada too.

This is our meal. It looks quite good hey?
But after a few pieces of Tonkatsu.. I felt a bit sick maybe because of it's oily-ness of it.
Most of us didn't really enjoy this meal as much as others.

But the cabbage salad and dessert green tea mochi was yum!

One of the train staion in town. Look at the sign boards on top... It's so confusing!!!! If I'm ever alone there, I probably need to be out 2 hours beforehand to figure out which train to go where.

After lunch, we went to Windsor racket shop in Shinjuku to get ourselves some good rackets and shuttlecocks. We were lucky to have a shopkeeper who speaks Mandarin! We asked her tons of questions and we got what we want! It was great!!!

Badminton racket done, off to Ueno for shopping!
Ueno is famous for clothes shopping.


I was a bit frustrated because I couldn't find the shopping area for myself as Ueno is quite big! Lucky we have the pocket wifi, Joe manage to google it for me and brought me there. The mall is called ABAB (you can click here to read more.) While we were on our way there, I found a shop name Momo. They have cute dresses too in a cheap price.
I bought a few pieces of clothing, some hair clips and a pair of heels. I didn't buy much as I spend most of my time being lost in Ueno and left 2 hours for shopping. But that's okay~ at least I got something~!!  :)

Not enough shopping time? It's okay because we have yummy shell fish meal there!


24 hours! OMG it's sooooooooooooo gooooooooood!!!!

Here's part of the price list if you are interested.
and some of the photos for you to drool.

Crab egg - sooooooooooo good. yes im serious.

Order all kinds of fresh shell fish, put on the grill and cook it away til bubbling~
So fresh!!!! So yum!!! with cold beer~ wah.. heaven..

Because we have a few more hours to spare (Well, we just didn't wanna waste our night sleeping :P )
So we went to Akihabara again! We went there to find Capsule Toy Machine shop, but we ended up in all the Toy Claw Machine shop instead!! I think we went to at least 5-6 shops in 1-2 hours.  Just looking to things to win hahaha

Guess what! Look what I won!

Things that I won in Akihabara's Claw Machine. 2000Yen, I did well! My friends and the shopkeeper look at me unbelievably. I was in shock myself too! hahahaha I'm on fire! won 3 soft toys for 1000yen! Jumping up and down like a kid. hahaha unforgetable. (I never win anything with claw machine, used to hate them lol)

Went back to hotel that night and ate my strawberry shortcakes. lol
How can I not be fat?!?! You tell me.

Day 5 - Disney Sea - Shinjuku

We start our Disney Sea day with RAIN :(
Why oh why....?

All of us had to buy an umbrella because it was bucketing down.
We couldn't do anything so we went and have a meal instead :P

Delicious meal!!!

Delicious dessert!

We had a relaxing time in there while waiting the rain to stop.
It didn't happen. Still raining.. so we had no choice but to go under the rain. 
During that time, we were thinking we might not be able to see fireworks anymore, so we thought might as well head back and shop instead!

When we finally made up our mind, the rain stops! haha.. what the..
So we continue explore the world of Disney Sea! Good thing we didn't leave, because Disney Sea is such a nice place to be!

The buildings, the decorations, the theme park, the whole place!!! They looked so real and just AMAZING!

We played a game and lost, they will give you a pin if you lost. Apparently they only give out this pin on the rainy days. So it is quite special. Other pins look more like Chinese New Year. 

Most of my photos taken at night because I couldn't get a good shot during the rainy day...
such a waste.. Disney Sea is such a pretty place to capture.

We saw the fireworks around 8 or 9 ish. Lucky for us! We thought we will not be able to see because of the rain! Fireworks in Disney Sea is not as good as the one I've seen in Hong Kong Disneyland though.

Disney noms

After Disney Sea, we took the hotel shuttle bus back to Shinjuku to hunt for good food :D

一蘭拉面 Ichiran Ramen
They have franchise everywhere in Japan. So if you found one, just go in and have a bowl of delicious ramen!!! and the egg omg the egg.....

First, choose what you want in your bowl of noodle. Click Click Click and pay.

The tickets

While waiting for seat
the lights indicate seats available.

Take a seat.

You can choose to leave to divider on or slide it away so you can see your friends :P
It feels like your are eating in a library haha

That is how it looks like in front of you.

There's a pair of hands that serves you lol I mean, they serve you through the tiny window. Quick and easy. Leave your tickets there and they will check through and prepare the noodle for you.
There's water at the side along with the cups. So is the chopsticks and stuff. 

Eggs is a must.
Crack it, peel it, and dip a bit of salt.


Look at the ramennnnn.. the noodle the soup.. omg so yum!

If you feel you want more, you can reorder using the paper chopsticks sleeve.

Even the spoon is awesome.

After ramen.. the guys are still hunting for more food! Why?? because it's our last night in Tokyo! They just wanna try as much food as they can! Well, I agree hahahaha eat whatever we can :P

After walking around the scary part of the Shinjuku area, we found a nice fancy restaurant. I forgot what is it call though.. I was so full, I just followed them in without taking photo of the restaurant.

Look at the HUGE BOWL of udon and the HUGE WOODEN SPOON that look like a rice scoop! INSANE! I saw the bowl of noodle, instantly feeling even fuller!

The guys manage to finish them though.. along with the sashimi.

While I had the dessert.

Anybody knows what's this peanut dish thing is? I just point at the picture and ordered it because it looks quite interesting haha. It's nice! 

After that BIG meal, we walked back (quite a long walk..phew!)
Got back to our hotel around 1-2am, took a shower and we all gather in one room.... guess what we are having.. ?


They are all premium grade! I have never seen such beautifully grown fruits in my life!
Don't underestimate the melon.. it cost 30aud. I will never forget it. The pear is huge and juicy and sweet! The grapes are not grapes to me!! They are not the normal grapes that we have! It's plump and round. Put it in your mouth and the juice will burst out! You know it's like the grape juice wrapped in grape skin... You can actually take out the whole grape skin out of your mouth easily and the flesh and juice just go down your throat easily. WOW!! You really dont have to peel that damn grape! Unbelievable! I'm going crazy!!!

We finish the whole lot at 3am in the morning. Healthy. hahahaha

Anyway, this is my shopping from Disney Sea. Woohoo!
Still going through them.

Day 6 - Last Day, Akihabara - Shinjuku

This is one of the place that we wanted to go all the time when we were in Akihabara. But because we are not familiar with that place, we can't speak Japanese and we don't know where the shop is, we failed twice. haha. Finally, after a serious research on google, we finally found this place!!!
Found it from one of the blog - Kawaii Otaku 
Blogger is the best!!!! NYAAAAA

Capsules Toy Machine Shop in Akihabara!

It is called Gachapon Kaikan.
A Shop full of Capsules machine. All kinds of anime, cartoons, soft toys and more. Depending on the popularity, they change the machines or if it's a popular one, they ran out quite fast.

If you are into Anime and stuff, you will have so much fun in here. But if you are not otaku, you probably have no idea what's all this is about.
Otaku (おたく/オタク) is a Japanese term used to refer to people with obsessive interests, particularly (but not limited to) anime, manga or Japanese video games.

Look how many capsules Joe and I got. Lol!

There's more upstairs where you can buy the anime toys instead of trying your luck in the capsules machine. So, go explore!

We spent about 1 hour or near 2 hours there haha unbelievable. Then we realised we had to quickly leave this place because we are flying off today in the evening!

We stopped at a nearby Chirashi shop to have lunch.

It's a small shop but gosh their Chirashi is soooooooooo good!!!

I've never eaten such delicious fresh creamy sashimi in my life!! OMG I can still remember the feel of it in my mouth..

I miss it so much I had to have it again in Perth.. but it's different  D`:

Next stop for me before I fly off is LADUREE! I've been wanting to go to Laduree since long time ago! Their dessert is to die for!!! Joe found out that they have a shop in Shinjuku and he brought me there!
Shinjuku Lumine 2, 1F
3-38-2 Shinjuku-ku, Shinjuku,

They are very popular around the world! I'm so lucky to be there and try their dessert!

Look how cute is this ichigo cake!!!

I don't know how they make it!
A very thinly coated spongecake alike layer on the outside, strawberry mousse inside with strawberry jam filling inside! So light so yum!

They have ice creams too!
Didn't have time to try it :(

After Laduree, we have to rush back to the hotel, pack up everything and take the train back to airport.

Here are some food that my friends bought. (We split up on this day to do whatever shopping ourselves, so they bought us all food to share~!)

No idea what cake is this but it's fluffy~

My friend bought us Bento to eat in the flight. So delicious!

Here are some random photos that I haven't show you :P

Warm soups in Vending Machine.

Miso soup, corn soup and red bean soup.

Cute drain cover in Akihabara.

Trying out our knives. Slicing the paper from the corner in the air.  

Messy train lines lol

3 cute little girls in pink jacket sleeping in the train with Shellie May Bear.

I wanna win all this girls back! They are from K-On.

 Franky's Catbus got caught!!! This is the funniest moment! Franky successfully grabbed the Catbus, but when it dropped, it got caught on the other Catbus!! hahaha Franky did manage to get the Catbus finally after a few more tries.

Look at it's cheeky smile..  -_-"

Kit Kat Rum and Raisin. I should have bought it when I saw them in Yokohama!!!

What a long post.. it took me nearly 3 days to finish this post. Broke my record. Usually I will give up on the post if I have to write over 2 days.. hahahaha

Thanks guys for making this trip such a fun trip!!
We are the Puffer puff face!!!!
(FYI, puffer fish "Fugu" in the tank behind us)

Hope you enjoyed reading it!


Steve said...

Awesome post. Epic. And the food!
Tummy rumbling still.
Looks like Tokyo has well recovered from the recent issues up North.
I'll certainly be taking then family now, and only didn't as I was concerned about the radiological hazard, but that does not seem to be a concern any more...
I did live there for several years in the early 1990's but have never been back.

christineK said...

I actually can't believe how much food you guys ate! How do you fit it all in and still be so little! hahaha YUM looks like you had an amazing time :)

Jo Serwey said...

Hey Steve!
At first I was worried too! But when I'm there, everything looks fine! I guess Tokyo is not serious at all. :) Yes!! you have to go back to Japan! Amazing country!

Jo Serwey said...

Christine!!! I miss you! how's everybody there? hahaha we ate a lot, but we walk alot too!! You should explore Japan! You will love it! :D

shuang said...

You make me wanna go Japan nowww!!! Thanks for writing up such interesting post!!! :D:D

ShopGirl said...

Fantastic post! Makes me want to plan a trip to Japan right now. I really enjoyed reading this. Felt like I was right there with you. Thanks for sharing.