Sunday, June 01, 2014

Tokyo ’14, Day 4 – Asakusa and Akihabara


We had decided to go to Asakusa and Akihabara on Friday. We woke up, got dressed and went downstairs to have breakfast. Every morning (or even the night before) I really looked forward to breakfast! It’s so nice to just wake up and go downstairs to eat the things you like, already prepared for you. You don’t have to do anything but choose, sit and eat. So nice! *_*
After breakfast, we went upstairs again where I took a shower and got properly dressed this time. My time in Tokyo has taught me that I really need a blow dryer, especially for Lolita days. My hair takes ages to dry otherwise!
Around 10 am, we went on our way to Asakusa! But first, we took some outfit pictures.

Asakusa Outfits
My mom and I happened to match quite well that day!

We walked to Shinjuku station and went through the gates, after which I immediately had no idea where to go anymore. I had brought my metro map, but somehow I wasn’t awake enough yet to determine where to go. After some doubting and walking up and down, I planned a route for us and we continued our way.

Lost in the Metro
Where to go now..?

A little after 11 am, we arrived in Asakusa!
We arrived at the first gate with the big red lantern, but it was partially under construction. So a part of the square in front of it was hidden from sight by fences and plastic. It wasn’t a very pretty sight unfortunately. Luckily, there is another one on the other side of the Nakamise shopping street behind the first gate, so we decided to walk on. We did, like many other tourists since it was quite busy already, take pictures of the lantern itself.

Red Lantern
Pictures taken in Asakusa often contain a lot of red. :)

We walked into Nakamise street and my mom jumped into the first cute shop she could find. I decided to wait outside, still trying to wake up. While my mom was browsing I watched a couple of tall Western guys being jumped by Japanese school girls to take pictures together. It was very funny. XD

Asakusa Beauty
Cute souvenirs in Nakamise shopping street.

Although my mom and I keep telling ourselves to not buy key chains every time and everywhere, we can’t help it! We love them too much! My mom quickly ended up buying two cute ones to attach to her new bag.

Asakusa Souvenir
My mom with her first purchases of the day!

We also visited the tiny kokeshi doll shop. This shop had the size of a post stamp, but still had three people working there! Typically Japan: shop staff to the maximum. x) My mom liked several dolls, but none were worth buying it in the end.
We passed so many shops with different items for sale! Fans, parasols, key chains, t-shirts, fake food… Name something touristic and they had it! *_*

Asakusa Shops
Some items we passed by that just had to be featured on my blog. :3

After some more walking, we arrived at the dog shop. It still fascinates me to find a shop where they sell stuffed animals, dog costumes and other cute dog-related things in the middle of a very touristic street. But then again, why not? Besides, the shop is amaziiing!

Dog Shop
My mom, taking pictures of some of the cute dog plushies.

My mom took a look at some of the dog plushies, but despite liking them a lot, she didn’t buy one. While we were looking, three school girls were standing next to us and whispered a bit with each other, glancing at me once in a while. I asked them if everything was ok and it turned out they thought I looked cute and asked for a picture! I didn’t even wear Lolita! I was honoured and said yes of course. ♥

Asakusa Pictures
These girls were just so sweet! ♥

My mom bought some cute dog items and we continued our way, passing several amazing shops with souvenirs, food stalls, ice cream stalls and a more key chains! Finally, we reached the other end of Nakamise street, passing a beautiful kinder garten in an old, temple-like building. We arrived at the square in front of the gate and there were so many beautiful things around us! The temple, the pagoda, the lanterns! And two women with a super cute little girl all dressed in beautiful yukatas passed us by! We just stood still to take pictures of everything we saw! *_*

Sensoji Temple
Posing in front of the Sensoji Temple. We took quite a lot of ‘touristic’ pictures in Asakusa.

We walked to the gate and took some pictures of this lantern as well. My mom’s dress matched so beautifully! ♥

Lantern Picture
I took a similar picture of my mom during our previous trip in the exact same spot.

Taking pictures around the lantern was really difficult. We tried to get as few people on our pictures as possible, which required a lot of patience since it was a very crowded day. We continued our way and took some pictures in front of the beautiful pagoda.

Pagoda
I love how this picture came out!

We walked around the big square for a while, just taking pictures of flowers, fish-shaped flags (I forgot the official name for them) and other pretty things.
In the distance we saw two girls dressed in beautiful yukatas and I asked them for a picture. Luckily they agreed. ^^

Yukata
Don’t you think these girls look super pretty? ^^

At this point, it’s a little hard to describe all the things we did. Basically we just walked around, taking pictures of little temples, little shrines, bridges, waterfalls, koi fish… We took sooo many pictures! It was a lovely day and there was just so much to see!

Asakusa Sights
Some general, nice pictures. :)

Finally, we walked up to the Sensoji temple, where we decided to sit down on the stairs to rest a little. My mom and I just talked for a while and watched the people passing by, which was really nice.
After a while, we briefly went inside the temple and exited it from the front, giving us a lovely view over the square and gate. We walked down the stairs and walked up to a tiny ‘house’ with incense sticks in them, where people were waving the smoke towards themselves. I didn’t want to do this myself, since I would smell like smoke and incense for the rest of the day, but it would make an interesting bit for my video (I tried to film a lot this time).

Sensoji Square
The square in front of the temple with the incense ‘house’.

We walked up to a water fountain where people were using pan-like spoons to wash their hands. I have seen this at many temples and I think it is a beautiful ritual! Whenever I got the chance to do it, I took it. It so happened that two girls with beautiful, flowery yukatas were standing there as well. They looked so pretty!

Water Spoons
One of the girls stood right next to me, resulting into this picture. ♥

My mom and I decided we really needed to drink something and quickly found a vending machine. I decided to try a can with a peach on it that said ‘nectar’ and my mom chose another peach drink that said ‘Teas Tea’. My drink was absolutely delicious, my mom didn’t like hers so much (it was super sweet).
We decided we had spent enough time in Asakusa and slowly walk back to the metro station. Instead of walking through Nakamise street, we took a parallel side street. Suddenly, I spotted a small restaurant where they sold food that looked a lot like dango! I had wanted to try dango for ages, so I asked the man behind the counter what the food was. But then he started to tell me a huge story in Japanese about what it contained and I had no clue what he was saying, until I heard the word ‘dango’. ‘Ah, so it’s dango?’ ‘Yes, it’s dango!’ That was enough for me. XD I was glad I understood at least what he was telling me about the different kinds (sweet and non-sweet. Good thing I know ‘ama’ is ‘sweet’, thanks to Lolita).

Dango
With my dango! Please don’t mind the ‘whoosh-hair’. XD

My friend had told me he didn’t like dango at all, so I was prepared for anything. But I actually really liked it! I admit it’s like eating really sticky jelly, but the sweet sauce made it a very nice snack. :3 My mom liked it too.
We continued our way through Nakamise shopping street after all, since there was more to see there. My mom went to check out some kokeshi dolls one more time, but didn’t buy one after all.

Nakamise Street
My mom in Nakamise shopping street.

We took a side street with more modern food shops and ended up back at the station. There, we took the metro to Akihabara.
When we arrived at Akihabara station, I got a bit confused. It was hard to find the ‘Electronic City’ exit and when we did, we ended up someplace I didn’t know after all! It turned out we were on the wrong side of the station and after some walking around and through it, we finally arrived at the Electronic City exit, where I immediately spotted the well-known Labi building.

Labi
Even though the store itself isn’t that interesting, Labi really is a typical Akihabara sight
to me! ^^

It was still lovely weather, which was really great for my mom. She had only seen Akihabara in drowsy weather, so she got to see a whole different side this time.
We entered the Sega right across from the station exit, to absorb some of the otaku atmosphere. The first few floors had all kinds of catcher machines, there was a floor with two purikura machines and the upper floors were the guys floors; there is no other way to describe it. They were filled with gaming machines and there were only guys playing on them. It was quite funny!
We left the Sega again and my mom put her camera away. I had promised her we would visit a Maid Café together, but when you carry a big camera around some maids that distribute their flyers run away. We walked through the street from the station, where we looked at the surrounding buildings and posters. I especially liked a big poster of the famous girl group AKB48 the big. We walked underneath the metro bridge and entered Chuo Dori. There, we walked into the first maid of the day! We immediately took her flyer: we needed to choose a café to visit and I just really like their colourful flyers. :3
I really like walking along Chuo Dori. The buildings are so colourful and screaming for attention! It’s amazing. And there are so many posters for manga and anime. Akihabara really is the place for Japanese animation fans.

Akihabara
The buildings along Chuo Dori look like a rainbow! *_*

At some point we crossed the street and on the building there (the Sofmap) was a giant poster of some anime with overly happy girls stuck to it. I had no idea what anime it was, but it looked so cute and colourful!
In the meantime we had collected some Maid Café flyers and I told my mom she could choose one to visit. With my dad I had visited a café from the ‘MaiDreamin’ company, so initially I suggested to go there, but we ended up going to the ‘Heart of Hearts Café’. The maid outside was super sweet and told us it was a school-themed café, so well… why not? =D We had to walk around a big building first (which was a bit strange), until we found a sign that said to which floor we had to go. We stepped into the tiny elevator that took us to the right floor and we got out right in front of the entrance to the café itself (there was like 1 meter of space between the elevator doors and the entrance XD). I was a bit nervous to go inside, but we were quickly welcomed by a jumping maid in a school/maid uniform and the rest of the present maids quickly followed her example. The café was warm but cosy, completely decorated in classroom style. There were small tables and chairs like in a school and the decorations on the walls were in school style as well. The big windows on one side of the café was covered in a big Maid Café picture from the outside, creating a soft yellow light atmosphere in the café inside. In front of the windows was a small platform that served as a stage. On one wall there was a big tv screen that showed videos of the maids performing in little concerts, but the music playing in the café itself didn’t correspond with the video. Not that it made much difference: the cute maid dances fitted the music nonetheless.
We were seated in school chairs and tables and the maid explained to us (in wonderfully broken English) that there were three rules:
1. There is a standard hourly fee you have to pay.
2. You cannot take pictures of the café or the maids, but of your food is fine.
And I forgot what the third one was, sorry. ^^’
My poor mom couldn’t follow it at all, but I did and when we agreed, we were seated in the middle of the café on a small table. Besides us, there were only a few guys sitting on other tables, including one Western man who seemed more interested by his iPad. Suddenly the maid we had seen in the street entered the café and she was very happy to see us!
We received ice water, but before we could drink it, our maid had to ‘cutefy’ it for us with her special magical maid words! I believe this is very typical for Maid Cafés, since it happened last time too and I read about it in manga. My mom didn’t really understand it at first, but liked it anyway. :) After that, we received the menu and our maid explained there were special ‘sets’ you could purchase. For example, one set included a meal, a picture with your favourite maid, a little game with your maid and a performance by your maid. Although I liked the sets, they were a big expensive, so after some trouble with communication I ordered us two cute ice creams and a picture with a maid.
While the mysterious cook in the kitchen close to us prepared our ice creams, our maid went up to the stage. Apparently one of the other guests had paid for a performance, because suddenly she turned on loud music and started dancing and singing! My mom was so surprised and positively shocked! x) While the girl was performing, the other maids cheered her on and gave some of the guests musical instruments like a tambourine or a samba ball. The guys were shaking them so awkwardly, haha! XD
After the performance, everything returned to normal. While we were waiting for our ice creams, the two guys behind us went to take pictures with their preferred maids with a special Maid Café polaroid camera. They went along with their maid’s cute poses, it was
so sweet!
My ice cream was ready (my mom had to wait a few minutes longer) and my maid needed to cutefy it of course, but this time with me! She showed me how to make the special hand signs and we went ‘Moe moe kyun!’ and then I could eat my super cute ice cream! ♥

Maid Café Ice Cream
My super cute ice cream! ♥ Let’s ignore the fact that it seems like my little ice cream chick is crying, okay? XD

My ice cream was not only pretty looking, it also tasted amazing! Sometimes, when a dessert looks really pretty, I get disappointed by the taste thanks to poor quality of ingredients. But every time I’ve had ice cream in Japan, the quality was so amazing!
Then, my mom’s ice cream was ready and she could eat as well.

Heart to Hearts
This picture gives you a bit of the taste of a Maid Café’s atmosphere! ^^

We sat, talked and enjoyed our ice creams for a while. Some of the guests had left, new ones walked in. This time they were girls, which shows Maid Cafés really aren’t only for men. One of the girls really looked like a Japanese version of one of my friends at home. It was almost eerie! 0_0
After a while, one of the maids showed me the pictures of the maids who were present at the moment, so I could pick my favourite to take a picture with. I chose the cute maid who had served us all the time. Our picture turned out quite cute, although my maid looks 10x more charming than I do. How do they stay adorable all the time? :0
She also drew some cute things onto our picture, but one thing really made me laugh: in the ‘Heart to Hearts’ logo, the A’s are replaces with hearts, so the maid had written ‘Hert to Herts’ onto my picture! So cute! XD
Finally, we asked for the bill, I paid and we left again. It had been a wonderful experience! My mom had enjoyed herself a lot too. It had been her first time in a Maid Café. Another experience to add to the ‘been there, done that’-list! :3
By the way, you can find the Heart to Hearts website here.
We went on our way to Don Quijote, a big store that sells the randomnest things: from make up to squids on a stick and from costumes to phone cases. On the top floors you can actually see live performances by AKB48. I would love to see a performance from them
one day! *_*
We walked around Don Quijote for a while, making sure not to lose each other in the stuffed corners. I especially loved the costume department. A lot of the costumes were quite slutty, but there were also cosplay costumes like Attack on Titan, cool masks and even Barbie-themed clothes.

Iron Man
‘I am Iron Maaaan!’

We didn’t stay for long and went downstairs again. Outside, we decided to walk back into the direction of the station and just enter shops when we felt like it. After a while, we walked into our maid again, who was now flyering. I thanked her for the wonderful time and she thanked us too! I forgot to ask her (maid) name unfortunately, so she shall remain ‘unnamed cute maid-chan’.
We crossed the street and passed many loud and colourful shops. We went into another Sega because I wanted to look for a purikura machine, but there weren’t any there.
We walked into the street which I thought lead to the station, but apparently it was one street too early. I got completely lost for a moment. ^^’ We walked around for a while until we got back at Chuo Dori and we turned out to have walked in a circle. Let’s say I was tired and didn’t know what I was doing. -_-
This time we took the right street to the station and went into the Sega there, where I knew were purikura machines. But the floor they were located at was so noisy we couldn’t even hear each other, so we ended up doing no purikura after all.
We decided it was time to head back to the hotel and we took the metro back to Shinjuku.
While sitting in the metro, I looked around at the posters and the little tv screens with commercials. It’s these little things that become part of your life for the duration of your holiday, but that you easily forget about when you return home. There was a poster, for example, for a coffee brand called ‘black’ with on the left side the face of a man and on the right side the face of a black panther. The slogan of this product was ‘Good Coffee Smile’, but the man looked really pissed off! Interesting. Furthermore, on the tv screens were commercials without sound and since the texts that could tell you what the commercial was about were all in Japanese, we had no idea what the commercials meant. One commercial had two men, one old and one young, sitting in a park on the grass talking about something. But they were both wearing dog costumes with wagging tails! Fascinating.
Another commercial was about some place where they harvested kelp and cut it. Then some woman boiled it in hot water and it magically went from muddy brown to bright green! Then they chopped it and put it on rice, but the kelp had turned so slimy and snotty I couldn’t imagine it tasting only a tiny bit nice. Disgusting.
We arrived at Shinjuku station, where we realised we were in for something sweet (as if our ice creams hadn’t been sweet enough). So on our way back to the hotel, we stopped at the convenience store and got some ice cream and candy! :3 Then we went back to the hotel, where we rested for a bit and tried our sweets.

Japanese Candy and Ice Cream
Everything tasted so good!

After a while, we discussed about what to do for dinner. I had read that there is a special dining area with tiny streets in Shinjuku, called Omoide Yokocho, and we really wanted to go there. So we decided to combine it with a visit to Closet Child Shinjuku. ^^
Around 7 pm we went on our way again. We walked along the outside of Shinjuku station, when I suddenly spotted the entrance to the Marunouchi line. I was glad I had noticed that, since it was the line we had to take the following morning really early to get to Tokyo station.
We arrived at the big crossing close to Closet Child, where a demonstration was going on. I had no idea what it was about, but I did notice it was very orderly organized. We crossed the street and soon arrived at the almost hidden entrance to Closet Child. We walked up the super narrow stairs, passed the Vivienne Westwood floor and arrived at the Lolita floor. I held my breath for a moment and stepped inside. I quickly noticed that, just like in Bodyline, they were playing the same (Disney) music as last year! I wonder if the poor shop girls every go crazy from it? Or was it just a coincidence?
I started browsing the Angelic Pretty dresses and my heart skipped a beat for a moment, since I spotted Miracle Candy! But it was the one piece and I am looking for the jsk. I also found a brown Musée du Chocolat princess one piece, but it was incredibly expensive. I soon realized none of the dresses hanging there were dream items unfortunately, although I did find Royal Poodle in pink, which is pretty cute. There were also no real beauties among the Baby, the Stars Shine Bright dresses, but I did want to try one simple dress with small white and red checks. While browsing the skirts, my mom held up a very simple, plain pink, quite old school Baby skirt that she liked, so I decided to try that one on as well. Both the Royal Poodle and the Baby dress ended up not worth buying, but the skirt was a surprise! Despite having an elastic waistband, it didn’t squeeze in any way; it fit perfectly! So while the dresses at Closet Child Shinjuku were disappointing, I ended up finding a beautiful, simple skirt. I also chose a cute red Angelic Pretty bangle from the accessories cabinet, so I didn’t leave empty handed. ^^

Closet Child Shinjuku
The only two pictures I managed to snap in Closet Child Shinjuku.

We left Closet Child again and went on our way to find Omoide Yokocho. We crossed the crossing again and soon found what I thought we were looking for, since we ended up in a street with small restaurants. We followed a sign that said ‘toilet’ and walked into a dream: tiny streets with wooden buildings, illuminated red lanterns, restaurants so small only a tiny kitchen and a few chairs along a narrow table fit into them, smoke coming from the griddles… This is what I imagined certain parts of Kyoto to be!

Omoide Yokocho
My mom in Omoide Yokocho.

The only way to remember we were still in Tokyo was to look up and spot a skyscraper or a shopping center between the roofs of the buildings, Unfortunately, we ended up not eating at Omoide Yokocho. The restaurants were so full and we were so hungry by this time that we decided to go to MyLord instead. We had been stupid again: we should have had dinner and then shop a little! Oh well… But it had been an amazing experience to just walk around in Omoide Yokocho! *_*

Tiny Restaurant
Sorry for the blurry picture, but this is a perfect example of the tiny restaurants we encountered! It really is no more than what you see. So cool!

In MyLord, we decided to go to Café Est! Est! We looked at the fake food in the window first and decided to try and find it on the menu. Unfortunately the waiter I had like so much last year (uhuhuh :3 ) was not here (meh).
We looked at the menu for a while en finally decided on what to order. I ordered the huge plate with several delicious things (I had tried it during our first trip) and my mom chose something comparable to what she had eaten last year, but hopefully this one would be less hot. I was very hungry, so I was very happy when our food arrived. :3

Café Est! Est!
Food. ♥

The food was incredibly delicious and I managed to finish it almost completely! It was so good! ♥ Since Café Est! Est! has many great parfaits and ice creams, my mom suggested to take an elaborate dessert this time. Of course I couldn’t say no (even though it would be our third ice cream of the day XD) and my mom went to look at the examples in the shop window. I thought she wanted one parfait for us to share, but I had misunderstood and then went to choose my own parfait. XD Both my mom and I had chosen a strawberry parfait, though two different ones. When the first one arrived we didn’t really recognize whose it was, but when the second one arrived it got clear. :)
Our desserts were sooo good! <(^0^)> Everything was just so perfect and well balanced. I would like to have one while writing this right now…

Parfaits
All the wonderful parfaits Café Est! Est! has to offer. *o*

We paid and left MyLord, since we had to pack our suitcases for our trip to Kyoto the next day! We bought some bread rolls for breakfast the next day and in the hotel, we skyped a little first, then we went to pack our small hand luggage suitcases. After that, we went to sleep. We had to get up super early in the morning and we needed our rest.

Purchases
Purchases of the day

4 comments:

  1. Can I just say that I always love reading your travel posts? They're always so detailed, it's great! I planned to go to Asakusa when I was in Tokyo but I ran out of time and didn't get the chance so I enjoyed this one. Also your outfit is super cute :)

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    1. Thank you so much! I am so glad you like my reports! =D I was getting worried because I feel like my reports are getting more detailed than ever, but people still seem to like them, yay!
      Asakusa is a really nice place, maybe someday you'll get a second chance..? ^^
      Thank you again! *^^*

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  2. Ah Peach Nectar! That's my favourite Japanese vending machine drink, I miss it so~
    I love maid cafes so much! They always cheer me up since the maids themselves are always so cheery and cute. A school themed one sounds interesting! I've only been to MaiDreamin a couple times, I'll have to try a different one next time.
    Haha you seem to know your way very well, even if you ended up walking in circles a few times. I'm terrible with directions myself, I just count it as an extra adventure when I go the wrong way ;) (though it does get frustrating eventually)
    Japanese commercials are always so amusing for some reason. There's someone who kindly uploads the newest ones to YouTube every fortnight, they're fun to watch (and count how many different ones Kyary appears in each time haha).
    Look forward to your next reports! However long, they're always awesome to read, and the pictures are always amazing ^^

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    1. Aaaaah really? Well I can imagine! :3 This was definitely my favourite drink this time!
      Maids are just so cute and bouncy and sweet! I have been to MaiDreamin before, I loved that as well!
      Ah yes, maybe you're right! But I felt so responsible since my mother doesn't have any sense of direction at all and my dad knows his places flawlessly! XD
      Oh really!? Hm I will look them up! Commercials from different countries are fascinating! *O*
      I will do my best! Thank you for always supporting me! ;_; <3

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