{tokyo ed.o2} パート 二つ

7:16 AM sians 0 Comments

well.. despite me promising a quick follow up post, something unexpected came up and i had to postpone writing the second part of this installment... i had to deal with some huge personal life issues. but.. yeah.

anyway, here it is! part two of day two in tokyo.

after our visit to asakusa, we discovered a beautiful lane branching out of the nakamise street where each petite shop displayed their personality of its own.

walking down the street, i found another snack that i wanted to try! dango! {だんご}

dango is a japanese rice dumpling and it comes in various flavors. i think i may have gone for one that was sweet and savory at the same time, the sauce was sticky and the texture was a bit chewy which made it an interesting snack. they offer seats outside the store so you could rest and enjoy your little rice dumplings before heading off to your next spot.

soon, it was time to look for our lunch spot. on the way, we found the sign to our next attraction after lunch which we are very excited about.

info! there is an information kiosk with english speakers (a rarity) near nakamise street located in a big brown building (i can't remember the name...sorry!) where you can ask the guide how to get to your next destination near the area. there is also a money exchanger in the building which we had difficulty finding on the streets of tokyo. so if you find a money exchanger and you need yen, use it instead of going in search for others! 

armed with my trusty map and also help from the information kiosk, we found our restaurant, sometaro. and for what? okonomiyaki!

it is such an authentic japanese restaurant with a vintage feel that i was drawn to it. however, since it was  in the mid-summer, we were uber sweaty cos it was so hot and it didn't help that each low table on tatami has a hot plate. the additional standing fans were somewhat helpful but not really in cooling the place down.

a painting of the front of sometaro!
note no shoes in the restaurant! before entering the restaurant, remove your shoes and deposit them in a proffered plastic sacks by the door. 

one of the reason why i wanted to try this was that our lunch would be prepared by ourselves! even if you have no clue how to do it... have no worries, there are instructions in english to accommodate tourists such as us!

we ordered two dishes to share: one was gomokuten (¥680) which consist of steamed cuttlefish, steamed shrimp, egg, cabbage and minced meat. 

the other was tonten with a plum taste that includes pork, cabbage and shiso plum (¥630). 

the way to cook it is to mix the dough then pour it onto the hot plate. then play the waiting game.

once it is done, all you have to do is brush the sauce and top it with mayo. i'd recommend using the mayo and sauce cos it makes these japanese pancakes taste better. overall, i'd say the cooking and eating experience was a lot better than the taste itself. i was done after a few bites and the flavors were a little bland - somewhat one note. it could be that there was too much batter that it made me wish that {rmc} and i should have shared one.

as planned, we wanted to visit the latest attraction added to the tokyo must do list : the tokyo sky tree tower! we decided to walk there instead of taking the train just as a way to experience and appreciate the streets of tokyo. 

with no directions in my travel book, we used the tallest broadcasting tower in tokyo as our guide. we were always in search of the tokyo sky tree tower up in the sky as we guessed our way to get there and for all i know, we could have been walking around in circles but we managed to get there without much issues. 

i was so ecstatic when i saw the entrance to the place because i'd be able to see an aerial view of tokyo and the possibility to see mount fuji since we decided skip the visit to hakone due to time constraints. :)

there are many entrances/exits here at this the tokyo sky tower town that it could get overwhelming just trying to find the main entrance to get tickets to go up the observatory deck. but fear not, there is an information counter that will direct you to the right direction. when we got in line, the sign displayed that there would be a 30 minute wait which we agreed to anyway since we were already here.  

the tower depicted in an arts-y replica

while waiting, i was entertained by the informative animated feature on the long screen - sharing snippets of japanese culture which i thought was a really neat idea.

i was so happy when i got my ticket! i was finally gonna see the whole city of tokyo!

much to our disappointment, the weather was a little hazy that day and could barely see the tall buildings in the distance which only meant that we could not even spot where mount fuji was. :( but it was still interesting view as i noticed how close the buildings are to each other and the lanes were really narrow.

currently the tallest building in japan, as of time this was written
purchase your ticket from the 4th floor for the 1st observation deck (tembo deck) at 350m for ¥2000 and the ticket for the 2nd observatory tower (tempo galleria) at 450m for an additional ¥1000 is purchased on the tembo deck itself. 
closest access: oshiage station

after such a long walk that i guessed we may have burned most of our calories from lunch, i wanted a snack to cool me off on such a hot day and we opted for a sweet treat. i don't remember why i didn't take a picture of the tower cafe menu and worse, i forgot what the name of the snack was. 

however, what i can tell you is that i enjoyed this seemingly simple and basic dessert - vanilla soft serve on top of corn flakes which was surprisingly addictive - sweet, cool, soft, creamy and crispy in a bite. something this simple that it made me wonder why this combination has not crossed my mind. or why i haven't had more of this something simple but yummy dessert.

for dinner, i had plans with one of the girls i met from the korean recipe competition with super junior, yuiko :) she's such a sweet girl and promised to meet us after work. we planned on meeting over a good bowl of ramen and while i had a place in mind, i asked for her recommendation and one of her favorite places which happens to be located at tokyo station.

tokyo station is not only one of the central train stations in tokyo, it also houses a shopping mall and two big food courts with many various selections that you will not go hungry. i told her that i wanted to try shoyu tonkotsu (soy sauce pork broth) ramen and we found the restaurant (updated: ikaruga) she wanted us to try in the midst of what they call tokyo ramen street. 


as we we walked up towards the white machine, i was amused by the fact that we had to order and pay for the ramen here at this vending machine. 

everything was in japanese and there were no english translation so i wouldn't have been able to tell what to order if it wasn't for yuiko. well i suppose, you could just look at the pictures, try your luck and hope for the best. i asked her what i should try and she recommended the soup noodles that had everything on it - pork belly and marinated egg for (¥980). in fact, when we returned here for a second time without yuiko, {rmc} wanted to order a drink and we both had to compare the characters to a poster of a drink posted by the side of the machine and managed to order the right thing! haha

the decor in the restaurant leaned towards the darker hues with dark wooden tables and walls. there is a communal table in the middle to accommodate more customers and a few smaller tables on one side of the room.

the chefs were hard at work making delicious ramen that it got to our table in no time at all which was perfect because i was starving. plus, i really wanted to try japanese ramen in all its glory.

i think it's official - my favorite japanese ramen is shoyu tonkotsu. the broth is rich, silky and full of savory deliciousness and the noodles were cooked to perfection. the marinated soft boiled egg were a perfect addition to richness. i have to admit it was a tad rich and preferred to have had some vegetables to cut through the heavy-ness but we loved it that we returned the next night for an encore.

so basically the concept is simple : 
o1 purchase your meal ticket from the vending machine. i'd recommend taking the shoyu tonkotsu with the marinated egg and pork belly slices. 
o2 queue up in line and wait till seats are available. 
o3 once you've found your seats, (sometimes they ask for your ticket before you get a seat) pass your ticket to the staff and wait for your food to be served.
o4 enjoy your meal and slurp up! :)

i'm ecstatic to meet up with yuiko again plus she recommended such a fantastic meal to both of us. double plus for sure :) i would really love to see her again in tokyo, if possible!

it has been such a long day that as soon as i got back to the hotel, i fell asleep almost immediately. also, it was in preparation for another wonderful day in tokyo! well, third day entry will be up but not before another entry that i have planned!

so please anticipate for it! i'll try not to take three weeks next time to put up new entries k? hehe.

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