Our first full day was shopping day. I was glad we got it done with on the first day, so I didn’t have to worry about it too much for later in the week. On a negative side, I spent a lot of money before doing much of anything.
On our first day, we took the time to explore Ikebukuro, a shopping center famous for it’s markets and for the nearby shopping complex, Sunshine City, which just happens to host lots of nerdy stores, like the Pokemon Center. It was pretty awesome that we got to see a lot of Japanese culture that we recognized; Jeremy and I both spent over an hour and almost $100 at the Pokemon Center. But we knew that would happen.
Just outside, however, there was a concert going on that involved loud J-Pop music and lots of girls in schoolgirl dresses. I didn’t manage to get a picture of it (there were signs everywhere that showed a picture of a camera with an X through it) but I did manage to get a small portion on my snapchat story if you watched it. The familiar Japan meets the unfamiliar Japan very easily.
Along a similar vein, right behind the Pokemon Center, we found Namja Town.
Don’t ask me what this is based off of, because I don’t actually know. Everything was in Japanese, and the characters seem to be from lots of different animes. However, inside this indoor theme park, there was lots to look at without really understanding what was going on. People were walking around with gigantic ceramic eggs and putting them in boxes, and then a TV above them would light up and talk for awhile, and they would then take the egg back out of the box and carry it to the next station. Families had these little gizmos on them that would randomly light up and shake, and then they would frantically shake them back before continuing to walk. I assume that these were paid experiences in the park, but I have no idea what they were.
However, for us English speakers, there was plenty of food to go around. Namja Town had an entire ice cream street, and thankfully one of them had an English menu, with over 50 wacky flavors to try out. The apple sorbet, banana milk, and blue sea salt were my favorite.
After wandering around all day, we got a few weird snacks from the convenience store and went home. I tried some delicious gummies, some Mario gummies (that were kind of bad), and chocolate fudge mochi. This was my loot by the end of the day:
The next day (yesterday) we did a more urban cultural exploration of Tokyo. We started the day in Sensoji Temple, and the crowded streets surrounding it. Then made our way through Asakusa, where we got Sakura (Cherry Blossom) Frappuccinos from Starbucks! (which tasted just like vanilla, with a sweet flowery aftertaste).
Then we took the Tokyo cruise to Hama rikyu park, where we saw lots of beautiful plum blossoms, and ate at a traditional Japanese tea house. I had real, authentic matcha! Good for heating up my cold hands.
Finally, we ended the day by crossing the Rainbow bridge and getting Tappenyaki for dinner 🙂 I am going to add more pictures and more details when I have more time, so check back here for edits later!