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Alvinology goes to Japan – Day 8 of 14

Alvinology goes to Japan – Day 8 of 14

The eighth day of our Japan tour, which marks our second day in the big city of Tokyo, we spent the entire day shopping. We visited a fish market in the morning. Much to our disappointment only a few stores were open as it seems to be their rest day.

With nothing much to look at, we headed to a sushi restaurant for breakfast. Rachel and I tried a plate of o-toro sushi for the first time.  This is the most premium grade of the tuna fish, with the belly fats literally oozing out when you hold the meat with your chopsticks. It tastes really good, but cost a bomb too.

Planning our trips for the day

Planning our trips for the day

Mind-boggling train stations map

Mind-boggling train stations map

Rachel buying our tickets

Rachel buying our tickets

Rachel writing her diary while in the train

Rachel writing her diary while in the train

One of the few seafood stores open for business

One of the few seafood stores open for business

seafood

seafood

Uncle selling dried foodstuff

Uncle selling dried foodstuff

A packet of salt which Rachel bought for her dad

A packet of salt which Rachel bought for her dad

The closed stores have beautifully painted shutters though

The closed stores have beautifully painted shutters though

More beautiful shutters

More beautiful shutters

Giant shellfish

Giant shellfish

Some weird clam

Some weird clam

Marinated live crabs

Marinated live crabs

Slimy seafood

Slimy seafood

Beancurd store

Beancurd store

All kinds of beancurd

All kinds of beancurd

We had our breakfast at this sushi restaurant

We had our breakfast at this sushi restaurant

This is a real giant fresh tuna head displayed outside the restaurant

This is a real giant fresh tuna head displayed outside the restaurant

Conveyor belt sushi

Conveyor belt sushi

Mark and Meiyen waiting for their sushi

Mark and Meiyen waiting for their sushi

Sushi chef slicing up a fresh piece of abalone

Sushi chef slicing up a fresh piece of abalone

The mouth-watering o-toro sushi - note the golden plate it was served on

The mouth-watering o-toro sushi – note the golden plate it was served on

Btw, there is an electronic tag below all the sushi plates so that the total price can be calculated electronically

Btw, there is a tag below all the sushi plates so that the total price can be calculated electronically

In the afternoon, we visited the shopping district of Shibuya (渋谷区). Rachel and I split way with Mark and Meiyen here as we all wanted to shop for different things. Mark the big kid wanted to spend all his time buying Transformers toy as usual; Meiyen wanted to hunt for bargain buys; while for Rachel and I, we just wanted to cover as many places as we can since it’s our first time shopping in Shibuya.

Rachel and I spent some time shopping at a second-hand clothing store called Bingo and I managed to buy a flowery shirt there. We also looked at some cosmetics and clothing brands, but the poor exchange rate really works against us and we find most stuff too costly. Sad.

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The two of us had lunch at a noodle store which always have a steady queue outside. We concluded that if people are willing to queue for it, the food must be good. This turned out to be true when we got in and tried the noodle. Oishi! The noodle has a strong, chewy texture to it and the soup to dip it in tasted just salty enough to flavour up the noodle.

However, we realised we did a silly thing by ordering the smallest serving of noodle as it was the same price across for all five sizes! No wonder all the other customers had such large servings and the waiter also gave us a strange look when he took our order. This is the disadvantage of not having Mark around as our Japanese translator.

Shibuya

Shibuya

Teens giving our Free Hugs

Teens giving our “Free Hugs”

Another group - this seems to be a popular pastime in Japan

Another group – this seems to be a popular pastime in Japan

Awed by all the colourful advertisement and signboards

Awed by all the colourful advertisement and signboards

Busy Shibuya

Busy Shibuya

Female skincare and cosmetic shop that regularly update and rank their products

Female skincare and cosmetic shop that regularly update and rank their products

At a second-hand CD shop

At a second-hand CD shop

Vintage Pinochio vinyl record

Vintage Pinochio vinyl record

I bought the flower shirt from a second-hand clothing store; the blue shirt was bought at Uniqlo the night before

The flower shirt I bought from Bingo; the blue shirt was bought at Uniqlo

Shibuya 109, a shopping mall targeted at fashionable young women

Shibuya 109, a shopping mall targeted at fashionable young women

Inside one of the female-targeted shopping malls

Inside Shibuya 109

Grand opening of a fashion boutique

Grand opening of a fashion boutique

Nice balloons which they were giving away

Nice balloons which they were giving away

The Japanese seems to be crazy about Barack Obama - Yes we can posters are everywhere

The Japanese seems to be crazy about Barack Obama – “Yes we can” and “Yes we do” posters are everywhere

Another shop that endorses Barack Obama

Another shop that endorses Barack Obama

Shes playing with skincare product, not food

Outside Lush! – a shop that sells natural skincare products

Blush skincare products, not food

Skincare products, not food

Rachel needs to be tied up whenever we pass by cosmetics counters

Rachel needs to be tied up whenever we pass by cosmetic counters

Look at Rachels mischievous expression whenever she sees cosmetic

Look at Rachel’s mischievous expression whenever she sees cosmetic

No smoking while walking

No smoking while walking or is it no littering?

The restaurant where we had our lunch

The restaurant where we had our lunch

Inside the restaurant

Inside the restaurant

Lunch is served - this is the smallest portion of noodle available

Lunch is served – this is the smallest portion of noodle available

Yummy!

Yummy!

A performer hired to draw crowd to a newly opened pachinko store

A performer hired to draw crowd to a newly opened pachinko store

Another performer on the saxophone

Another performer on the saxophone

I think this performer is a guy in drag

I think this performer is a guy in drag

Sumo wrestlers

Sumo wrestlers

Flower shop

Flower shop

Beautiful flowers

Beautiful flowers

Hand bouquet

Hand bouquet

After lunch, we went to Mandarake to check out anime and manga-related stuff. We spotted Mark there, sweeping up Transformers toys and Meiyen looking very bored beside him. Rachel and I bought a book each. I bought an illustration book by one of my favourite manga artist, Naoki Urasawa (浦沢直樹) while Rachel bought the storyboard book for Hayao Miyazaki (宮崎 駿)‘s blockbuster anime movie, Spirited Away (千と千尋の神隠し) .

We spotted a poster of Hard Gay!

We spotted a poster of Hard Gay!

Neon Genesis Evangelion - giant figurines

Neon Genesis Evangelion – giant figurines

Look at the amount of manga books!

Look at the amount of manga books!

A pity I cant read Japanese

A pity I can’t read Japanese

Theres an entire section devoted to Hentai anime and manga!

There’s an entire section devoted to Hentai anime and manga!

The two books Rachel and I bought; a Son Goku figurine I bought

The two books Rachel and I bought; a Son Goku figurine I bought

Next, we headed to every otaku’s paradise – Akihabara (秋葉原)!

Again, we went separate ways with Mark and Meiyen as Mark continue his Transformers buying mission. Rachel and I had fun shopping the area, intrigued by the vast amount of anime, gaming, electronics and manga-related products and services in Akihabara. There’s also quite a bit of pornography businesses. We stumbled into a few buildings which specialise in only pornographic material.

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As pornography is illegal in Singapore, I was quite amused by the open nature of how such products are sold and displayed. Japan has a wide range of porn of all genres – neatly categorised into various sections like anime; fetish (sub-divided in second-level categorisations like public nudity, pregnant woman, woman peeing, etc); under-aged; old ladies; etc etc… Crazy shit man! You name it, they got it.

Moving away from porn, Rachel had a good time looking through products spotting designs from anime master, Hayao Miyazaki’s various movie releases. The prices were not cheap; as much as Rachel wanted to go on a buying spree like Mark, she settled for just two hair bands in the end.

Being an avid manga reader, I had a good time in Akihabara just window-shopping and spotting products related to some of my favourite manga like Dragon Ball; One Piece; Ah! My Goddess!; 20th Century Boy; just to name a few.

Tower Records used to be cool too in Singapore before HMV came in

Tower Records used to be this cool too in Singapore before HMV came in

crowded streets of Akihabara

crowded streets of Akihabara

Rachel Chan @ Akihabara

Rachel Chan @ Akihabara

Alvinology @ Akihabara

Alvinology @ Akihabara

The Friend Sign from the manga, 20th Century Boy

The “Friend Sign” from the manga, 20th Century Boy

Whole buildings selling otaku stuff

Whole buildings selling otaku stuff

More such buildings

More such buildings

IT products for sale

IT products for sale

This shop sells just second-hand porn DVDs

This shop sells just second-hand porn DVDs

Gum ball machine

Gum ball machine

Taro Aso, Japans current Prime Minister who is a well-known, big manga fan

Taro Aso, Japan’s current Prime Minister who is a well-known, big manga fan

More otaku products featuring Taro Aso

More otaku products featuring Taro Aso

In Japan, its okay for adults to be manga addicts

In Japan, it’s okay for adults to be manga addicts

Kimono dolls

Kimono dolls

Giant Belldandy figurine, a character from the manga, Ah! My Goddess! ((ああっ女神さまっ)

Belldandy, a character from the manga, Ah! My Goddess! (ああっ女神さまっ)

Figurines of manga character, Yotsuba

Figurines of manga character, Yotsuba from Yotsuba&! (よつばと!)

GeGeGe no Kitaro (ゲゲゲの鬼太郎)

GeGeGe no Kitaro (ゲゲゲの鬼太郎)

Watch that can tell train arrival timing

Watch that can tell train arrival timing

Hollywood movie DVDs

Hollywood movie DVDs

The two hair bands that Rachel bought

The two hair bands that Rachel bought

Totoro in an acorn

Totoro in an acorn

The cat from Hayao Miyazakis anime movie, Kikis Delivery Service

The cat from Hayao Miyazaki’s anime movie, Kiki’s Delivery Service

Hayao Miyazakis Ponyo

Hayao Miyazaki’s Ponyo

Dodomo - Tokyo edition

Domo – Tokyo edition

Tokyo edition of Doraemon

Doraemon – Tokyo edition

Stitch - Tokyo edition

Stitch – Tokyo edition

Maid cookies

Maid cookies

More maid cookies

More maid cookies

Special flavour Kit-Kats, exclusive in Tokyo

Special flavour Kit-Kat, exclusive in Tokyo

Hot Lemon C juice - damn shiok to drink this in the cold!

Hot Lemon C juice – damn shiok to drink this in the cold!

Ultraman-shaped chocolate

Ultraman-shaped chocolate

Figurine toy for pedophile

Figurine toy for pedophile

Domo soft toy

Domo soft toy

Fist of the North Star (北斗の拳)

Fist of the North Star (北斗の拳)

Gajira Gatchan Norimaki (則巻ガジラ) from the manga, Dr Slump

Gajira “Gatchan” Norimaki (則巻ガジラ) from the manga, Dr Slump

The dragon from Dragon Ball

The dragon from Dragon Ball

More Dragon Ball figurines

More Dragon Ball figurines

Baby Son Goku

Baby Son Goku

Rugged-look Dragon Ball figurines

Rugged-look Dragon Ball figurines

The fat samurai boy in Dragon Ball

The fat samurai boy in Dragon Ball

Caveman Goku

Caveman Goku

Figurines of characters from the pirate-themed manga, One Piece

Figurines of characters from the pirate-themed manga, One Piece

Dragon Ball and One Piece crossover

Dragon Ball and One Piece crossover

The two lead characters

The two lead characters – Son Goku and Monkey D. Luffy

Beach volleyball babes

Beach volleyball babes

All kinds of plastic figurines, all over

All kinds of plastic figurines, all over

Shop that specialises in vintage cards

Shop that specialises in vintage cards

I wonder how much is a box of these figurines

I wonder how much is a box of these figurines

Vintage porn collectibles

Vintage porn collectibles

Hentai stuff

Hentai stuff

Freaky life-size doll

Freaky life-size doll

Idol collectibles

Idol collectibles

Lots of adults milling around to buy toys

Lots of adults milling around to buy toys, collectibles

Toys are everywhere

Toys are everywhere

Takeshi Kitano billboard

Takeshi Kitano billboard

Our next stop following Akihabara was to head for dinner at an all-you-can-eat buffet restaurant called Mo-Mo Paradise which serves Shabu-Shabu hot pot. Rachel and I found the food average here. The price was reasonable but the service totally sucks. This was the first time we encountered horrible service in Japan. The girl serving us was one of those heavily dolled up Japanese Ah Lian who probably sleeps around with old men for extra pocket money. We assumed she got dumped by her sugar daddy on that day as she was in a bad-ass mood.

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To get her attention, we have to call out to her a dozen time as she kept avoiding eye contact in order to skive duties. When we do managed to get her, she will just say “hai” and not carry out what we asked her to do. We were not even making special requests, but just asking for simple things like an extra ladle or to take orders.

When she serves us, she will throw the plates loudly on the table and we even caught the little bitch rolling her eyes on some occasions. She did the same to other customers too. We wanted to complain about her to the restaurant manager, but Mark was too meek while the rest of us can’t speak Japanese. In any case, at least for Rachel and I, we will never ever return to this restaurant again and would recommend everyone we know not to go there if you are on a Japan tour.

The horrible dinner experience dampened our mood for an otherwise, fun and purposeful day.

We shopped around a while more after that and went to Cold Stone Creamery for desert. Rachel loves their ice cream. It’s not available in Singapore, but we tried it before once during our visit to Taipei last year.

We then spent some time at a bookshop near the train station. Being avid bookworms, Rachel and I usually spend a lot of time in bookshops and seldom walked out empty-handed. However, as we can’t really read Japanese, we were confined to just browsing through picture books and magazines.

It was interesting to observed the wide range of magazine titles catering to just the domestic market since they were written in Japanese. The magazine market is so competitive that practically all the titles carry freebies with them such as bags, cosmetics, accessories and even food items. Rachel ended up buying a magazine she can’t read just to have the tote bag that comes free with it.

We headed back to our hotel after that, ending our eighth day in Japan. 🙂

The night is still young

The night is still young

The restaurant where we had our dinner

The restaurant where we had our dinner

There are paid bicycle parking lots in Japan

There are paid bicycle parking lots in Japan

Outside the restaurant

Outside the restaurant

Still smiling, before the rude waitress dampen our mood

Still smiling, before the rude waitress dampen our mood

The buffet menu

The buffet menu

Beef

Beef

Pork

Pork

Cooking the meat

Cooking the meat

Remember this signboard - we wont go back there to eat ever

Remember this signboard – we won’t go back there to eat ever

A pachinko store - they are everywhere

A pachinko store – they are everywhere

KFC in Japan

KFC in Japan

Crepe min-van

Crepe mini-van

Valentines Day was just round the corner - in fact, it falls on the day of our return flight to Singapore

Valentine’s Day was just round the corner – in fact, it falls on the day of our return flight to Singapore

Valentines Day chocolate

Valentine’s Day chocolate

Cold Stone Creamery - gourmet crushed ice cream

Cold Stone Creamery – gourmet crushed ice cream

Rachel loves the crushed ice cream here

Rachel loves the crushed ice cream here

You can the wafer-type to go with your ice cream

You can the wafer-type to go with your ice cream

The Green Tea combo which Rachel and I ate

The Green Tea combo which Rachel and I ate

Mark and Meiyen ordered the chocolate combo

Mark and Meiyen ordered the chocolate combo

All kinds of magazines are available in Japan

All kinds of magazines are available in Japan

More magazines

More magazines

Rachel got this Paul & Joe tote bag free with a magazine she bought

Rachel got this Paul & Joe tote bag free with a magazine she bought

20th Century Boy manga

20th Century Boy manga

A manga featuring Buddha and Jesus Christ

A manga featuring Buddha and Jesus Christ

Heading back tired

Heading back tired

Its a good thing Meiyen was not feeding Mark with food

It’s a good thing Meiyen was not feeding Mark with food

Most Japanese public announcement posters look cartoony like this

Most Japanese public announcement posters look cartoony like this

Dragon Ball buns spotted at the convenience store besides our hotel

Dragon Ball buns spotted at the convenience store besides our hotel

Dragon Ball nuggets

Dragon Ball nuggets

Theres free fruit juice and coffee at the lobby of Cube Hotel for guests

There’s free fruit juice and coffee at the lobby of Cube Hotel for guests

Links to my previous blog entries on my Japan  trip:

Day 1 – Kansai Airport, Hokkaido

Day 2 – Skiing, Otaru

Day 3 – Asahikawa, Asahiyama Zoo

Day 4 – Sledding, Shiroi Koibito, Crab Buffet

Day 5 – The 60th Sapporo Snow Festival

Day 6 – Staying with the Asai, Shōnan

Day 7 – Ueno, Tokyo

Day 8 – Shibuya and Akihabara, Tokyo

Day 9 – Ikeda, Osaka

Day 10 – Kobe

Day 11 – Kyoto

Day 12 – Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan and Dotonbori

Day 13 – Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge and Mt. Rokko

Day 14 – Return to Singapore

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About The Author

alvinology

Alvin is a marketer by day and blogger by night. He is a 100% geek who spends too much time surfing the web.

4 Comments

  1. yongwei92

    woo hoo i gave free hugs too.

    damn japan looks so cool

    Reply
  2. Rachel

    If I were to return to Japan, I would:
    1) Go to Hokkaido in spring or autumn; and
    2) Visit Harajuku in Tokyo, Ueno Park in Ueno
    3) Optional: Eat apples in Aoyama

    Sigh.

    Reply
  3. adriane

    The strange clam is called awabi or known to us as abalone. The crabs are not marinated. They are covered in sawdust to keep them alive. and the slimy seafood is sea cucumber….

    Reply

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