Monday, June 8, 2009

Day 9: Tokyo Te Amo

One of the main attractions of Park Hotel is its location.  It is fifteen minutes' walk from Tsukiji Market, the world-renowned fish market.  Unfortunately for us, the market closes on Sundays.  We didn't find out till we were actually there at some godforsaken time; we had forgotten to check the market's schedule.  Anyway, that meant that we were up and about and walking around the Shiodome area bright and early, which was when we chanced upon this:

a Ghibli-designed clock, clearly inspired by Howl's Moving Castle

Sundays are Harajuku days.  The plan was to spend the day wandering around the neighbourhood.  This required a change of trains at Yoyogi, so we decided to have breakfast at the Tully's there.

coffee, cheese and egg toast, and plain toast

this boy was doing work - heh not so different from Singapore

Then it was back to Yoyogi Station for a quick ride to Harajuku.

Yoyogi Station

what we didn't have for breakfast - cream-filled hot dogs omg

Harajuku was, as always, a feast for the eyes.

wow, no smorking indeed

cute t-shirts - too bad the material was not to my liking

doggy outfits

we grabbed a Harajuku crepe

one of these

the hordes poured in

mostly young women

the latest (and hippest) craze

ice cream from Hokkaido!

yes, the Hanabatake ice-cream chain

another queue for something sweet - entrance to a food court selling nothing but desserts

Then there were these fun murals:

We turned into the back lanes of Harajuku which are lined with an eclectic mix of fashionable boutiques and themed eateries.

punk lolitha brand

food & fashion - how Japanese

typical of Japanese obsession with the foreign & the exotic

Jindian cuisine, anyone?

of course the colonial Indian cafe is next to a knitting shop

another hip Japanese brand

ok that's so wrong - the Japlish or the concept, I don't know

oh look pink flamingos!

the peasant look - only in Japan

Unlike previous visits to Harajuku, we had no destination in mind this time.  Without an itinerary of must-visit places, we were free to go where our fancy took us.  Which was how we came across this place:


it looked nice and inviting

a trendy nook

filled with local denizens

This was our chance to be part of an oshiare neighbourhood scene and we didn't hesitate.

brown (!) rice, salad, miso soup & pickles

the chicken set

the pork set

The set meals were delish and cost only 1000¥ (SGD$16) each.  We were most pleased with our little find.

This flyer lay on our table at Omamori...

... and then we passed by the shop.

hip ne

We had just a little bit of the Harajuku stroll left...

yup, they do lei it on thick

mobile kakigori

We emerged from the backlanes of Harajuku, onto the main drag of Omotesando where window shopping is de rigueur.

the latest trend - organic produce

next door to Kiddyland

ooh macaroon art

or is that macaroon sculpture?

we didn't forget to pop into the ever-fascinating La Foret for a dose of funky creative fashion

this place was new to us, so while HM was busy browsing...

I was busy people-watching.

entertainment provided by WeGo

gyarus galore

not above being tempted

anything to catch the eye

We decided to walk to Shibuya.

amazing, a Gundam gallery

my favourite t-shirt shop

pseudo-Bohemian chic

Finally, we ended up at Shibuya 109 and Shibuya 109-2 (yes, there are two of them).

everything a lolitha would want

the secret to every gyaru's perfectly coiffed head

looking for the perfect match

plenty of choice - cute or sexy

not the perfume

trends never die, not in Japan

40% flying off

how could a gyaru resist this?!

didn't that look go out in the 70s?!

Deep Roy?  Is that you? 

Tired out from all that walking and not keen to venture out into the rain, we settled on dinner at Shibuya 109 itself.

Chirico Di Napoli (Spaghetti House)

Inside the restaurant

It seemed like a nice cheery place and the Japanese do make a decent al dente pasta.  And it had a view of the Shibuya streets.

our view

We opted for the set meal which comprised:

a standard soup starter

spaghetti with Chinese spinach, prawns and crab meat

spaghetti with mozarella cheese, ham and tomato sauce


We hadn't gone out of our way to eat at any critically acclaimed restaurant nor sought out any must-eat food joints, but we were pretty pleased at our choices for the day.  That was what we liked about Tokyo - that we walk into almost any eatery, like a local would, and be reasonably satisfied with the quality and presentation of the food.

Back at the hotel, we enjoyed the view from various vantage points before turning in for the night.

Tokyo Tower, emulating the Eiffel

Tokyo - a city like no other

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