{tokyo ed.o1} こんにちは

6:00 AM Sian Mei Yeoh 4 Comments

it reads konichiwa for those who can't read japanese. 

which means... good afternoon / hello!

i've promised this post months ago and yet....okay fine.. it's my fault.
well...all i can say to defend myself is -- real life stuff comes first T.T and well....travel plans. >.<

anywho.. japan has always been one of the top countries on my wishlist. in fact, i took a beginner's japanese class before i decided to focus thoroughly on korean, so i could barely remember what i learned. 

despite me having just returned from seoul last week (more about that in the near future), i thought it might be a better thing to write about tokyo first before it becomes stale news...

i decided on a layover in japan for about four days on my move back to malaysia a few months ago. short time...i know. i had wanted to spend more time in tokyo but... because of someone, (that's you! {rmc}) that didn't quite work out as i wanted. sigh..

i was so excited about the trip i planned out the four days to cover as much things as i could -- so much so that i made my own personal trip planner memorabilia, full of schedules and maps of places to eat and places to go. it took me weeks (including research for food places) but i am quite proud of my hard work!

my friends' first reactions were pretty much the same, 'OMG you made that?'  i think they thought i was a bit silly for putting so much effort into it but i could tell they were a little impressed by it ^^ perhaps just a tad.

anyway, come mid-july, i was scheduled to leave on a painstakingly long flight. a heartbreaking departure from chicago (i miss chicago!) to san francisco in the afternoon.  several hours of layover in san francisco to meet up with {rmc} before leaving for hong kong on a 1am flight to reach at the ungodly hour of 5am, local time. so early that we had to wait for shops to open for some local delicacies, airport style for our breakfast.

hiding my worn-out face with a fedora >.<
 after my long flight to hongkong -- waiting for food shops to open.
waiting in line for our order
offerings of shrimp dumplings, bbq pork bun and
signature noodle soup with shrimp wanton for breakfast

i guess food at the airport is not a fair assessment of taste and flavors but i remember disliking the shrimp dumpling cos the shrimp wasn't that fresh and the wrapper was breaking apart as we picked it up with chopsticks. the steamed bbq pork bun was leaning towards sweeter side which is my preference anyway and was alright in flavor. the noodles was probably our favorite with a good bite (texturally) to the noodles and wantons were miles better than their dumplings - flavored deliciously with fresher shrimp.

soon we were on the last leg of our long journey to japan but not without our daily caffeine intake -- much needed after our lack of sleep in the last flight. three plus hours later, we finally landed at haneda airport in tokyo! despite feeling quite crappy and exhausted from the long flight, i couldn't stop smiling from ear to ear!

i can't believe it! i was finally here -- a place i've only dreamt to visit! TOKYO! :D

info! if you have too many luggages and don't want to lug it all the way to your hotel, there is a luggage storage service for items you might not need throughout your trip for a small charge daily. or you can pay for a luggage delivery service to the hotel if you don't even want to bother with any luggages at all.

we took a cab, even though a bit pricey, to the hotel. honestly, we just didn't want to deal with dragging our luggages on the trains. -.-

since we had planned a short trip, we chose a strategically located hotel -- hotel ryumeikan tokyo. it was literally a 5 minute walk to tokyo station. of course, the price reflected this convenience but we figured we are going to need to travel using the subway a lot.  and oh, be prepared to be surprised by the size of the room. it could literally fit only two people and nothing much more than that but it was comfortable and clean.

i wanted to make this day count despite feeling a tad exhausted so we headed out for our first destination after we took our showers. if you're wondering how we managed, it was probably the adrenaline and excitement fueling us forward.

it was sunday and it could only mean... harajuku! harajuku on sundays is famous for cosplay and i was definitely interested in seeing that in person since i am a manga fan >.<

this was also our first japanese subway experience which honestly got me quite confused. trying to figure out which line to take and how much the fare was were quite the challenge when you don't read japanese. we ended up asking at the counter to purchase our tickets instead of using the automated machines. even after that, we had to figure out which platform to get on for our train.

p.s. once i find a tokyo subway map picture, i'll try to give a brief rundown of a couple of things that might be useful. 

arriving at harajuku, the station was bustling with people.. lost and confused, i depended on my trusty personal travel guide to get us to takeshita dori, which is the focus point of harajuku's teenage culture.. it was a busy street akin to myeongdong in seoul, korea and our hopeful hearts were crushed when we only found one or two groups of people dressed in cosplay. (i suppose that was better than none but i think i was thinking more of the streets filled with a ton of people in cosplay lol)

walking down takeshita dori led us to our first japanese food destination -- marion crepes. this is one of the most popular crepe patisserie since 1976 and that was probably the first time i read about cheesecake + ice cream + other yummy sweet things nestled in a cone of crepe. they offer savory crepes as well if you are swayed towards those.

since our next food destination was in about two hours, {rmc} and i shared one -- no cheesecake but one with strawberry ice cream, fresh strawberries, whipped cream and chococlate syrup.

it was good but nothing really special. {rmc} thought the crepe would be better without the chocolate syrup. i have to admit, it wasn't that great of a chocolate syrup -- almost tasted artificial. but other than that, the cold sweet ice cream was perfect for the warm summer evening wrapped in a slightly warm, thin, soft crepe and the fresh tart strawberries complete the circle.

funnily, marion's crepe longest rival is located just across from it called angel's heart. if we didn't have dinner plans already, we'd probably tasted one from there to compare. surprisingly, both crepe patisserie have their own fans confirmed by the long lines waiting for their orders.

address 1-6-15 jingumae, shibuya-ku, tokyo
access to marion crepe JR yamonote line to harajuku station -- exiting the station, walk north about a minute or two - crossing the street into takeshita dori, mcdonald's and daiso on the left - walk further to reach destination. 

we were determined to burn the calories from crepe consumption before dinner so we explored the rest of the takeshita dori and more before heading to our dinner destination.

finding our dinner destination was a lot more challenging than getting to marion crepes. we probably walked in circles before we finally found another map to compare to the print out we had to determine our bearings. after walking for such a long time thinking we might have to abandon this plan, believe me when i said we were uber thrilled when we found this :

yup, maisen was our first dinner destination and a worthy one. i think the meal at this place deserves a post of its own so you'd have to wait a lil on that.

after our yummy dinner, it was drizzling so we decided to head back to our hotel to call it a night. i guess i was pretty tired cos i fell asleep as soon as i got into bed. plus, it was gonna be an early morning call the next day (3:30 am!) since tsukiji market was in the itinerary. but more about that in the next post so please anticipate tokyo edition o2 ^^ coming real soon.

disclaimer this is written based on personal experience and opionion. experiences and taste buds may vary for others.


Anonymous said...

I am so much excited after reading your blog. Your blog is very much innovative and much helpful.

Anonymous said...

I am so much excited after reading your blog. Your blog is very much innovative and much helpful.

Claudia said...

Hi! may i know what camera and effect if any, do you use to take the photos in japan? they're absolutely stunning and i've been looking for a camera that produces images like these! your reply is greatly appreciated :')

Hi! I am using a canon s95 for all the other photos and the ones with effect were using iphone with the instagram app for that instax effect. :) ope that helped!