Friday, February 17, 2017

Tokyo Adventure IV- Day #2: Asakusa and Akihabara

Hello There!  Back again with some trip highlights.  Today we went to our favorite area, Asakusa!  But before I share what we did, gotta share what we did before we got there...

First stop is 7-11.  I love the combini (convenience stores in Japan) here.  Let me just say that their 7-11 kicks our a$$ back in America.  There's one about a block and a half away from our room, so we ventured out looking for coffee and other food.

I've been watching a YouTube channel called Tabi Eats, and they've done segments on onigri and convenience stores.  I've been craving it ever since, so I headed straight for that section.  We also picked up some bread sticks, a chocolate croissant, breakfast sandwhich, and mini bowl of tuna, eggs, and rice.  We also got some coffee in a carton and my milk tea.  Yum! Here's our onigiri sampler.  I was so happy after we ate!

After breakfast, we did some pokemon hunting.  It was still too early to leave for Asakusa since we wanted to avoid rush hour traffic, so we checked to see if we could catch the generation 2 pokemon in our area.  We were so happy to catch a Farfetch'd, which is a pokemon you can only get in Asia!  Score!  We were worried we woudn't get any since he new generation came out.

I don't know why he's holding a green onion?

Oh, and never saw this manhole cover before.  Usually I see the sakura design, but this one caught my eye because of the cute snowman!

After some pokemon hunting, we headed to Asakusa station.  The stop is directly under the Nakamise area, which is really convenient.  We ventured to my favorite stores like the Totoro store and the washi paper store, but I only bought one thing.  I'm pretty proud of myself for not going nuts like I usually do.

I think everyonewas more interested in finding street food!    We actually had a strawberry dango (similar to 2 Ladies Kitchen in Hilo) and it was so good!  The mochi was so smooth and the strawberry was so sweet!  I wish I took a picture of it before we gobbled it up.  Wait!  I found a picture!  Yay!

The next stop was to get age manju.  This is something we had from our first trip and we've always had since.  It's something that you need to eat right there though, so its a must eat when we visit this area.  I think Paul got the green tea, custard and sesame seed.  I wanted to save room for melon pan, so I only ate a few bites of the custard.  Akemi had some kind of strawberry ice cream but she said it was just OK.  Paul and his mom also bought chestnuts but didn't try any until we got home.


This is me after I figured out the melon pan place wasn't where I thought it was.  Fortunately, the lady who worked there was so nice and showed me where to go to find them again.  I walked about halfway down the alley, but decided to go back to the group and look later.  So bummed!

 At the back of the shopping area, there is a large temple where its customary to rub the smoke on you and drink the water.  We also went inside the temple this time, which I don't think we've actually done before!

The smoke is supposed to be healing.  Needed to rub it on my brain!

 Here's the fountain where you drink the water.  Pour the water into your hand please!

So Paul was very unlucky this time... he tried to get 2 fortunes and both were bad!  I got a "regular fortune", Akemi got a 'half fortune" the first time then "Excellent fortune" the second time.  She was satisfied after the 2nd one.  Paul's mom got the "Best Fortune", never saw that before either!  We told her to keep that one!  Here's Paul's:

 After the temple, we split up.  Paul had to go meet a taiko friend, while we went to look for food and melon pan.  We decided on a restaurant in the middle of the shopping arcade near McDonald's.  I'm sorry, I meant to take a photo of the front of the restaurant, but I forgot.  We've seen this restaurant before, but have never gone, so this was a first for me too.  Since we were a little after the regular lunch crowd, we still needed to wait, but the wait wasn't that long.  They also had English menus, so that was helpful.  We got seated upstairs, which was really nice. It had (fake) tatami room style tables, so we needed to take off our shoes and put them in a locker.  We were pleasantly surprised to be seated in the corner by the window, which also had a charger!  Yay!

While we were waiting for our food, Akemi showed me her first Gachapon of the trip.  Its a mad Pikachu!  I think this is one of the nicer Gachapons we've gotten.  The machine was right outside the Totoro store on the main street.

We were happy to get our food, but I think more happy to sit down.  Akemi got char siu ramen (of course).  Let me just say that the char siu was soooooo ono! I wish I could've taking it home with us.

Grandma got soba, which reminded me of Yosenabe.  She said it was good.

And I got the world famous katsu don.  It was really good. I think it said that the Kabuki actors like to eat this- now I know why!

I thought this was cute and promised my friend's son I'd take photos of the bathroom signs for him.  This is one you don't see everyday!

At last!  We found the melon pan!  There's two stores in the alley right behind the age manju area.  One of them has a melon pan with a whipped cream filling inside, but that didn't seem familiar to me.  Then we saw the other one and it didn't have the filling... it also had this old man selling the bread that seemed very familiar.  I'm pretty sure that was the bakery we bought from before.   It was only 500 yen if we bought 3 loaves, so we got 3.  It wasn't as good as before, but I think its cause it wasn't warm like when it was around the corner.   But it was still good!    Here's us- I'm much happier now that I got my melon pan!

 After lunch, we met back up with Paul again and decided to head to Akihabara.  I haven't been there since my first trip, so I'm really not that familiar with the area.  They are known for their electronics and gaming, so we decided to go since we were having some technical issues.  Paul also wanted to find this vintage toy store.

We found the toy store, but didn't really see anything that I knew.  Paul recognized a lot of stuff, but I was not familiar with a lot of the characters.

After we were done at the toy shop, we headed to Don K first to see if there were cheaper electronics than the specialty shops.  On our way, saw this row of gachapon machines in an alley.

Don K is always a fun store in Japan!  We found all the gadgets we needed and then headed to the restroom.  It was on the same floor as the arcade, so Paul and Akemi played the taiko game.  I think Akemi died in the first round.  LOL!  Better practice girl!

On our way back to the station, we saw real life Mario Kart!!!!

And we also found the Gudetama cafe, but we were too full and tired to try it out.  I think its a maid cafe, that's why he has the maid hat.  Weird, I know.

After Akihabara, we headed back to our room to rest and drop off our bags.  Akemi and Grandma went to buy drinks while I rested my sore feet!  Paul really wanted to see a taiko performance, so we headed back to Asakusa to a tiny coffee/bar in the backroads.  I think it only sat like 15 people.  It consisted of a shamisen, taiko, and singer.  Although it was all in Japanese, they were very entertaining and somehow the language barrier didn't matter.  I guess that's the neat thing about music!  I'll admit I was tired, so sitting in that warm bar was not good for me.  But I managed to sit through the whole performance.  I wish I was not so tired, I would've enjoyed it more!  They did a lot of Obon music so if you like that, you would've loved it.

After the performance, we were in search for food.  Since Akemi wasn't hungry, we decided on a sushi restaurant.  OMG, the portions were huge!  Here's my anago sushi.  Its my favorite here in Japan, but when the sushi chef asked if I wanted it small or large, I didn't know what he was asking.  So Paul answered for me and chose large.  Man, there wasn't enough rice for how much anago there was!  The piece was as long as the chopstick!

Being that I don't eat raw (yes, you heard that right), I ordered the crab miso soup.  It was so ono!  It was messy though, but totally worth it!  I really didn't think that the bowl would be that big.  When I saw miso soup on the menu, I didn't expect a regular bowl- I expected a chawan sized bowl.  Akemi had a bowl of nori miso, which was also good, but I didn't get a chance to take a photo.

Finally, Grandma and Paul shared a delux set of sushi.  I think it was like 16 pieces?  They got that killer anago too.  Mmmmmmm.

After we finished eating, we headed back to our room.  What a busy day!  So much fun though.  Can't wait to see what we do tomorrow!

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