Long Walk into the Unknown

Exploring Idea

After having the coffee in Harajuku, I decided to explore the area. After coming out from Starbucks, I saw in the opposite side few department stores. I decided not to go inside them, instead I decided to walk a little bit and look at that ‘hidden’ area of Tokyo.

After coming out from Starbucks, instead than going back from the same way that I came from, the left and turn the corner, I decided to go right and follow my instinct. I crossed the road ignoring the department stores and kept going right. At the first big traffic light I turned left and walked along a long road.

Ginza Number 2

I could see straight away that the road I took was going to be a long one, but not that long. At first there was nothing really interesting that is worth writing in this blog. After about 10 minutes walk, on the left side of the road (my side) started appearing high end shops, the same sort of shops that I found earlier in the day at Ginza: Luis Vuitton, Armani and so on. And because I am not really into those kinds of ‘posh’ shops, I ignored them, I didn’t even take a single photo to them because I was not interested, even though I should have taken a couple just to put on this post (or page, whichever you are reading right now).

I Love the Adventure

Around half way of that road (I didn’t know at that point that I was half way through that road) I found a sign mentioning that by following that road I was going to reach Shibuya. I didn’t know about Shibuya, and looking at my train map that I had in my pocket, Shibuya was marked in bold and in bigger characters compared to those of most stations, indicating that it was one of the major areas in Tokyo.

Nearby I found a station, I really cannot remember right now the name, but it was going towards a different direction from the line that link all the major areas of Tokyo like a circle, it is similar as the Circle Line in London. Anyway,

“I was by myself in the middle of Tokyo and I couldn’t care less where I was going, the most important thing is that in which way I was going I would still find my way round and probably find places where tourists don’t go. I love the adventure.”

2nd Stop

I kept walking into the same direction, that road was actually long. After I completed 100% of that road (it took me more than 30 minutes), another sign was directing Shibuya on the right. It was another long big road, probably bigger than the other one that I just completed.

I crossed the road and went to Shibuya direction. After few minutes I had a very short break, guess what? I stopped for another cappuccino at a nearby Starbucks that was on the same side of the road where I was walking. After grabbing the coffee and leaving the coffee shop, I carried on walking.

UN Uni

I could see a large selection of restaurants on both sides of the road, the most of them were Japanese and a handful were American large chains such as Pizza Hut and so on. By that time, the sky was already getting dark and after about 30 minutes walk on the other side of the road I saw a the ‘University of the United Nations’!!! I didn’t know that the UN had universities. I learnt something new that day that is nothing to do with Japanese culture, but about the world security or safety or whatever you want to call it.

Reaching the Destination

Not far from the University of the United Nations the road started to divide in 2. Following my sense of orientation I kept walking on my side of the road rather than crossing the road and following the other path. The road soon after crossed with another one that if I was going left the road was going up-hill, however, I decided to go down-hill and few minutes later I reached the final destination: Shibuya Station. Yeahhhh!!!!!!!

Cosplay Hunting in Harajuku

Harajuku Destination

As I mentioned in my previous post, I was really willing to go Cosplay hunting and the best place to go was Harajuku. I got on the train from Akihabara in order to reach my next destination. When I arrived in Harajuku and left from the main exit, I looked around and I saw a foot bridge on my right. At the time I didn’t across that bridge, I just acrossed the road at the traffic light. I looked around a little and then saw a street where a large number of people were walking into. I decided to go there and see what that street was all about.

Shops….shops…..shops…..

That street was packed of people and at the entrance of that street there was a sign telling the name of that street: Takeshita Street (or it can be called in Japanese ‘Takeshita-Dori’). Takeshita-Dori seemed very exciting, even though there were many ‘gaijin’ (foreiners), however, the most of the people were still Japanese.

Picture 1 - Entrance of Takeshita Street (Takeshita-dori)
Picture 1 – Entrance of Takeshita Street (Takeshita-dori)

Walking down that street I saw a moltitude of clothes shops. I didn’t enter in any of the shops there but I could see that some shops were more specialised in cosplay costumes, but only a handful of them. The most of them were just normal shops selling just normal clothes and shoes, and of course there was also a McDonald’s.

This picture shows how crowded is Harajuku and Takeshita-Dori.
Picture 2 – McDonalds and crowd inside Takeshita-Dori

I did not manage to see a single cosplayer in costume. I was a little disappointed by that but I was still pleased to be in Tokyo, and I soon forgot about looking for cosplay.

Nice Atmosphere

Even though I didn’t see any cosplay, the street itself was crowded with people and made me feel good. It had a nice atmosphere. This is probably because I wasn’t used to quiet places and I always loved been in busy places.

The street was not even. As soon as the ‘Takeshit Street’ sign is passed, the street goes down hill for a little while and then goes flat again. Some of the shops were owned (I think) by foreigners (even though I’m not Japanese myself), however, the street still have that Japanese atmosphere.

Pamyu Kore is written in pink with Japanese characters
Picture 3 – Japanese Feeling
Picture 4 - Feeling in Japan
Picture 4 – Feeling in Japan

I walked up and down the street few times because I liked it and there was a shop that attracted me from the outside because of the clothes they sold, some kind of 17th/18th century costumes. I didn’t go inside that shop, I don’t know why, maybe because I was a bit shy to go inside.

Picture 5 - Body Line, the shop selling 17th/18th century clothes
Picture 5 – Body Line, the shop selling 17th/18th century clothes

Cross Over

At the end of the street there was a large road and I could see across the road some big high street apparel brands. The shops seemed quite new. On the right, without acrossing the road I noticed a Starbucks and then I decided to stop for a few minutes, bought and drunk a cappuccino and then left for my next adventure.

*Photos 2, 3, 4 and 5 have been taken on the same day but later in the evening when I went back to Takeshita-Dori from Shibuya for taking more photos.

Akihabara ‘Super Mario’ Building

Not yet, Harajuku has to wait!!!…

After Ginza and before going to Harajuku, I decided to go to Akihabara by myself to have a look around and have lunch there. I wanted to take some photos at maid girls that were handing out leaflets for the maid cafes, but they told me that I was not allowed to do that. So I decided not to take photos in case they think that I am a stalker. After a short walk I decided to move away from the ‘maid area’.

Electric Building

Leaving the ‘maid area’ didn’t mean leaving Akihabara, but going to discover something different. As I mention in the ‘Akihabara: The Electric Town‘ post, I entered the building that has stairs that, from outside they look like Super Mario Bros’ pipes, but this time I decided to discover what was hidden on the other floors.

It didn’t take long to reach that building from where I was, to tell you the truth, I was there within 5 minutes.

Funny Looking Laptops

Once entered into that building, I took the ‘ pipe escalator’ to the other floors to see if they were going to sell items different from those found in UK. The most of the things are the same or very similar, however, what impressed me a lot was the thickness of the Japanese laptops. The screen part was about the same, however, the block of the laptop that holds the keyboard was much thicker.

I was really surprised about that and I was wondering why they were as thick. However, the thing that impressed me more than anything else was the design of the laptops. The design was far from futuristic, surprisingly, the design was very static, more similar to the old laptops that used to sell in the early 2000’s. For a country like Japan, where everyone think is ahead of the times, this has surprised me a lot.

Raw Egg

After a thorough investigation of the store, I decided to go nearby for a lunch. I found somewhere cheap where to eat, one of those places that can be found anywhere throughout Tokyo.

After choosing something from the vending machine, I went to look for a seat and waited for the waitress to come with the food to my table. The food I order was below the 600 yen mark and it included a bowl of rice, some sliced pork on top and an egg still inside the shell, I thought it was a boild egg.

I started eating the sliced pork and the rice first, then when the waitress came along, I asked how to eat the egg. The waitress she said to open it on top of the rice and so I did. When I broke the egg, I realised that it was still raw. I have never eaten in all my life a row egg. I thought if I was going to mix it with the hot rice, the egg was going to cook by itself. I was wrong but I decided to eat it anyway. Half a year later I found out that eating raw egg was part of the Japanese culture, in fact, Japanese eggs would not harm the health due to its freshness. ‘Tamago gohan’ is the raw egg served on top of a bowl of rice and then eaten, usually with a bit of Japanese soy sauce and a pinch of salt.

Really Hentai
After finished eating, I went to walk around the area to see what other things the place was offering. I turned into a narrow street and to my surprise I saw a 6 storie building ) that was selling exclusively only school girl uniforms. The six floors include the ground floor (in Japan the ground floor is considered as first floor unlike western countries) and in addition had the basement. Either that depato (department store in Japanese romanised) was selling uniforms for schools, or more probably it was selling uniforms mainly for cosplaying, or for the maids that were working in Akihabara, or maybe for certain men in order to satisfy their hentai fantasies, or maybe for all of those reasons. I could see on the windows some of the school uniforms displayed and on the ground floor there were some kids’ size anime stickers of school girls and magazine pages.
I was really surprised that a department store so big was selling just schoolgirl uniforms. I was really tempted to have a look inside but I decided to go against my temptation just in case people thought I was a hentai. Even though I was in the country famous for hentai (perverts, at least Japan is seen this way by westerners), I still didn’t know much about Japanese culture to consider to enter that store.
Hentai Building?
Hentai Building?

Tokyo never stopped fascinating me. Tokyo is a really marvellous city, even though many people think that Japan is a very strange country. At the end of the day I respect their culture and I would never change is because is so different from the west and I was sure that Japan was hiding more fascinating things and my staying in Japan had just started. (Next).

Hot in Ginza

Quick look at Ginza

After visiting Mitsukoshi and the sorrounding area I decided to go to Ginza. I went there because the train map highlighted Ginza as one of the main areas in Tokyo.

Once I got out from Ginza station, I realised straight away that the area was posh. In fact, as soon as I went on the pavement from the station, I saw a massive department store called Matsuya Ginza

Picture 1: Matsuya Ginza Department Store
Picture 1: Matsuya Ginza Department Store

By the look of it, it looked like it would contain very expensive products, similar to those seen at Mitsukoshi department store. I decided not to enter that building on that occasion.

Other main shops

As I walked along the pavement, I could only see big expensive department stores and designer stores ranging from Tiffany to Gucci to Luis Vuitton and so on. I had to save money because I had to stay in Japan for 1 year without a job, so I decided not to buy anything. That was not the only reason why I didn’t buy anything. The other reason was because I could buy the same exact items back in London and there is no point to buy them there on my first day in Japan. I wanted to fully dive into the Japanese culture, that was one of the reasons why I choose Japan as my destination for my year abroad.

Tiffany Shop in Ginza
Picture 2: Tiffany Shop in Ginza
Picture 3: A little bit of Ginza
Picture 3: A little bit of Ginza
Picture 4: Japanese Style too
Picture 4: Japanese Style too
Picture 5: Better view to the Japanese style
Picture 5: Better view to the Japanese style

33 Degrees!!!!!!!!!!

The temperature on that day just before the middle of September was very high and I felt very hot even thought I was wearing a t-shirt and shorts.

I just had a quick look at the area. And while I was approaching the train station to go to my next adventure, I saw almost on the top of a tall building a display indicating the temperature at that moment, the time was around 12 o’clock and the temperature was 33 degrees celsius. Surprised, I said: wow!!! I remembered that when I left London for Japan a few days earlier the temperature was about 10-11 degrees celsius. That was a massive difference in temperature dividing 2 of the greatest cities in the world set apart by thousands of miles.

Picture 6: Building recording the temperature
Picture 6: Building recording the temperature
Picture 7: Clear display of the temperature
Picture 7: Clear display of the temperature

Due to the high temperature in that place, I felt my body sweating and became hungry. By the look of the area I thought if I was going to buy something to eat there I was going to break the bank so I decided to change destination and to leave Ginza after a short walk. (Read my next adventure)

Walking Around Mitsukoshi

Other World

As soon as I left Mitsukoshi I decided to have a quick walk in the area surrounding. To my surprise, I managed to find traditional shops and restaurants (picture 2) along the way, and the shop that impressed me more that all the others was a traditional ‘calligraphy’ shop. That shop was small but was selling everything from brushes to calligraphy papers, in other words it was selling everything about calligraphy (picture 3 and 4).

Picture 2: Traditional Style Japanese Restaurant
(Picture 2: Traditional Style Japanese Restaurant)
(Picture 3: Calligraphy Shop)
(Picture 3: Calligraphy Shop)
(Picture 4: Man Walking Past the Calligraphy Shop)
(Picture 4: Man Walking Past the Calligraphy Shop)

Edo Lifestyle

It was nice to find Tokyo so diverse, everywhere you go there is something interesting to see and visit, so I decided to move on to the next adventure and went to get the subway (or underground for British-English speakers like me?).

Once inside the station, before going on the platform I noticed on the wall some traditional paintings, probably made during the Edo period. Tokyo used to be called Edo before becoming the capital of Japan. At that time Kyoto was the capital, and before Kyoto was Nara the capital (Nara is not too far from Kyoto, it is in Kansai area and I suggest the readers to visit it if you travel to Japan).

Edo Period Painting
(Picture 5: Edo Period Painting)
(Picture 6: Closer look at the Edo Period Painting)
(Picture 6: Closer look at the Edo Period Painting)

Those paintings probably represent the everyday life of the Japanese people during that period and are totally different from the western paintings during the same period or even during any period. It is very interesting to compare the Japanese and western style of paintings.

Difference between Japanese and Western style paintings

Usually the figures of the people in the western paintings are big, in Japanese paintings the figures are much smaller and this style makes it possible to show the whole community in those large paintings. Yes, those paintings were quite large and probably have been drown using a different tissue and a different method of drawing and painting.

After taking a few photos to keep as my memory of Japan and to use for this blog I went to the platform waiting for the train that led me somewhere else. (Next…)

Mitsukoshi Nihonbashi

Evening planning

When I went back to the Ryokan from the pub on my second day in Japan, I got internet connection in my room through ADSL phone line. This was because the Ryokan didn’t offer wi-fi. I did a bit of research on internet where I could go the day after because it was going to be Monday and Mari had to work. I had to pass 2 full days in Tokyo by myself and meet Mari for dinner on Tuesday evening before leaving Tokyo for Kyoto.

I was willing to see if I could manage to see some cosplays and my research told me that I should go to Harajuku and looking on internet I found some other places to go, such as Mitsukoshi Nihonbashi department store and Ginza. After the research, I switched on the TV and watch a little bit of anime before going to bed. I had the whole night to think where to go first and how to plan my day, even though I really don’t like to plan in advance my travelling experience because I know that I can still find amazing places even without doing any research.

Monday morning travel

Looking at the train map in the morning, I realised that the best thing to do that made me waste less time, it was to visit the places that I had in my mind through a specific order, this would also allow me to visit more areas of London.

I decided that the first destination on my third day would be visiting one of the most imposing department stores in the world: Mitsukoshi Nihonbashi. Therefore, my first train stop would be Mitsukoshi Mae (or Mitsukoshimae) in the Nihonbashi area (‘Mae’ means ‘in front of’, ‘Nihon’ means ‘Japan’ and to be honest, I don’t know what ‘bashi’ means).

The travel has been a pleasant journey and looking outside of the window that monday morning, where the high rising building ended, the green of the Imperial Palace Garden started to show. At that point I realised that Tokyo was not only a city made from bricks and steel, but nature was also present in that amazing city. To make the journey more pleasant, the train that took me to destination was not crowded because I had just missed the rush hour so I could seat and relax on the train.

Imposing Building

I came out from the train station as soon as I arrived at destination. The exit was next to a big junction and in front of me, on the other side of the junction, I could see an imposing building, it was:

  • Mitsukoshi Nihonbashi department store!!!!

From the outside it looked impressive and perfect in design with its rounded front (as seen in picture 1).

Mitsukoshi Nihonbashi
(Picture 1: Mitsukoshi Nihonbashi)

Due to the large volume of traffic and waiting for the green traffic pedestrian light to come out, it took me few minutes to across the road (including the minute used to take the photo above).

Posh and Perfection

Once acrossed the road, I entered the building from the front door. Irasshaimase (welcome to our store) was heard from the people working as receptionists at the entrance. At that moment I realised that the interior must have been very posh. The receptionists were wearing smart and professional clothes.

Passed the reception, I decided to have a quick look at all floors. I didn’t get the chance to visit everything due to time constraint, however, I still managed to reach the top floor.

Everything inside the store seemed to be in the right place, if I have to name 1 or 2 department stores that can be compared, I would say Harrods and Selfridges in London. I didn’t really feel very comfortable to be inside a place like that and therefore my visit to the store was very short and I left soon after.

Next: (Walking Around Mitsukoshi)

Japanese Style British Pub

I miss England

While leaving the Ninja Restaurant, Mari told me how she missed England. At that moment I told her that near the Ryokan in Yotsuya I saw a British pub and if she wanted we could go there to have a pint of beer before going back home. She liked the idea and we headed to Yotsuya. Yotsuya was just 1 train stop away from Akasaka, so we headed to the train station and few minutes later we were there. Once we were in Yotsuya we walked on the pavement on a busy road that leads Yotsuya to Shinjuku.

British or Japanese?

We arrived at the pub few minutes later. Inside, the pub was very clean, it had tall tables and high seats where people can enjoy their beer. Inside there were only few Japanese people drinking plus the 2 male bartenders. Thinking about British pubs, the first thing that came into my mind was to go at the bar, order the drinks and pay there. Instead, we headed to one of the high tables, sat there and one of the bar tender came to our table to take our order. I found it a bit unusual but I got used straight away. The athmosphere was quiet with some music on the background (I cannot recall what music they were playing). Then the bartender came with the two pints, one for me and one for Mari, and we had a chat. We stayed at the pub for about half an hour, paid at the end then left the pub and went our separate ways.

Pubs in Japan

The athmosphere in the Japanese pubs is different from their British counterpart. That pub was very relaxing and people don’t have to go to the bar leaving their friends sitting alone lonley while ordering and therefore making the experience more intimate. Also the pub itself was much cleaner and not as noisy than those found in UK. The whole experience was different, even going alone, there are more opportunities to befriend to people never met before, especially if you are a foreigner in Japan. It is an experience that is worth trying.

Dinner at Ninja Restaurant (The Food)

Menu Please (?)

Usually, when going to the restaurant, the food is chosen from a menu, or in case of a canteen, the food is chosen by pointing or naming the food that people want to eat. That restaurant was different. The only option that we were given was if the food we wanted was either vegetarian or meat!!! What? Yes, just that!!!!! We were not given any opportunity to choose the food. This is one of the reasons that the restaurant is special, because the food that we were going to get had to be a surprise. In fact, if we knew what food we wanted, the food that was going to come to our table was not going to be surprising.

Ninja Starter

Nobody probably knows what Ninjas used to eat during their periods, however, the Ninja food found in that restaurant is as fascinating as the whole experience in the Ninja Restaurant and in my experience in Japan so far. The starter was absolutely unique, and really gives the impression of being inside the Ninja soul because of the look and taste of the food and because it has been served by Ninja waiters.

I was surprised when the starter came. Actually, instead than having the feel of being inside a Ninja restaurant, when the starter came it felt to be inside a ‘Ninja garden’!!!

<Ninja garden?> you might think. Yes, Ninja garden.

<What’s so special about that starter?> Oh well!!! The starter looked like a plant with its special fruit.

<What are you talking about?> As I said, the starter looks like a plant. The fruit is the ‘Shuriken’, you know? The star weapon used by the Ninja. I mean, they were not real Shuriken, they were edible black shuriken that taste like crackers.

Now let’s talk about the taste. I have already said that the taste is like crackers and the food has been colored probably by using the ink from the squid and because the environment was dark and the shuriken were black, it was actually difficult to see them. Their taste was actually nice and crispy and I have to say that the experience so far was just unique and I was pleased to be there to feel that surreal experience.

Smoking Hot Main Course

After having eating the lunch, the ‘Ninja Waiter’ brought us the main course, and what a main course!!!!!!! This restaurant was never running out of surprises!!!!! When the Ninja waiter brought the lunch, he came into the room with a wooden pot with a stew inside. The waiter said that it was a chicken stew and the stew was cold. Along with the stew the waiter brought a stone. Yes, a stone.

What’s that stone for? I asked the waiter. He said that the stone was extremely hot and its temperature was 300 degrees!!!!!!!!

Wow!!!!!!!! I said.

Then he put the stone inside the chicken stew and said to wait for few minutes.

Yes!!!!! The stone was cooking the chicken stew!!!!!!!!! Amazing!!!!!

As soon as he put the stone inside, a smoke started coming out from the pot. Usually, when people cook something, the heat come from outside of the pot, of course, the only exception is when steaming the milk for making coffees where the steamer is placed inside the milk in order for the steam to heat up the milk. But even in this case, the heat come from the machine which is outside of the jug for steaming milk. But this time it was the stone that without any energy from the outside was cooking the stew from the inside (even though the stone, in order to reach the right temperature, has to be heated first).

When the stew was ready, we poured it inside our wooden bowl. The temperature of the stew when eating was high. The stone did a great job in heating up the stew. This is a great invention that few people in the world came up with, simple and effective idea. The taste of the stew was amazing and had a creamy taste. I will never forget that experience.

Smoking Stew heated with the 300 degrees stone
Smoking Stew heated with the 300 degrees stone

The side dish was made with Black Shiitake mushrooms and some vegetables above them (asparagus, broccoli and something else). This side dish looked absolutely gorgeous and was really tasting amazing.

Shiitake Mushrooms
Shiitake Mushrooms

Ninja Sweet

The sweet was probably the most Ninja food I had in the restaurant. This is not because of the taste, but because how the sweet looked like. Actually, more than a Ninja sweet, it was a ‘mini-Ninja’ sweet. The sweet had a sword!!!!!! A mini Ninja sword. The top was white and was made in two spheric parts, the top and the bottom part and it was probably made with the white part of the egg. It had eyes, arms and at the back it had a sword made with chocolate. The mini Ninja was standing on two pieces of peach and a blueberry in front of it. Everything was on lifted by a stand made with sponge bread. I really didn’t want to eat it because it looked so cute and pretty!!! However, I decided to eat it and it was tasting very nice.

My beautiful Ninja Sweet
My beautiful Ninja Sweet
Mine and Mari's Ninja Sweet
Mine and Mari’s Ninja Sweet

Final Show (Hide and Seek Card Game)

After eating, another Ninja came into our dark room. This time was not to surprise us with exceptional food, but to surprise us with something that will stay in our memory forever.

This Ninja was holding some playing cards. He mixed them and asked me to choose one. I picked the card and with a black marker he asked me to write something and then fold it. After doing all that, I put the card back in the middle of the bunch of cards that he was holding. Then he started mixing the cards again. Finished to mix them, he removes a closed envelope from his pocket. He told me to open it and inside I found the card marked and folded that I chose for the game. I was surprised. It was the first time that I witness something like that in real life. I saw different times magicians/illusionists on TV, but this was the first time that I witnessed something like that in real life. It was impressive. To tell the truth, the whole experience was impressive.

Tokyo is Impressive

Going to the Ninja restaurant was one of those adventures that has to be experience once in a lifetime that stays with your memory forever. I will never forget about that. I just loved the whole experience. Tokyo is great. I love Tokyo because it is a unique city with unique style with endless things to do, see and witness. It is probably the most amazing city in the entire world. Who’s never been there, I suggest to visit it, no cities in the world come close to what Tokyo has to offer. You will love it.

 

Dinner at Ninja Restaurant (The Restaurant)

What I am going to describe now is one of the most amazing experiences that my life offered up to date. This is not only regarding the food that I ate, but because of the overall experience in a restaurant that is nothing like anything else I have seen in all my life. Anyway, …..

Looking for the Restaurant

After taking Purikura at Ueno, we headed to Akasaka. When Mari came to London the week before I move to Japan, she told me something about the Ninja Restaurant, and I told her not to tell me anything because I wanted to be a surprise. I don’t like to be told information about places before going there because I love surprises and I love to find out by myself because it makes my experience more surprising.

Entering the Restaurant

When we arrived at Akasaka, we went to look for the Ninja restaurant. The building from outside was all black, and because of that, it was difficult to see the entrance. Once inside, everything was black and dark and there was a girl with a ninja uniform waiting for her customers and she told us to wait for few seconds to wait for ‘another’ ninja. After few seconds the other ninja came and took us through a dark short dark corridor from a hidden door. After few yards the corridor was blocked by a pond and no other way to go in front of us. The ninja at that point said that we had to say the magic word ‘ninja’ all together in order to go through. The ninja said: one, two, three….. and then all together we said ‘NINJA’!!! and a door came down working as a bridge for the pond for us to enter the……ninja village!!! and then we entered another dark room.

Ninja Village

Inside the new room was lying a small ninja village set in the ninja period. For me it was an exciting and unique experience that I will never forget for the rest of my life. Also the village was all dark. It was made by small dark stone houses and a pathway that goes in between of the houses. Each small dark house was a small private room for customers to eat. The village seemed real and gave a real impression of a ninja village. Our room was at the end of the village on a small staircase.

Dining Room

After walking up the small staircase, we entered a tiny dark room with a dark stone wall which was lit carefully in order to present the room as from the ninja period. The room had only one table that can accomodate only few customers, probably up to 4 people could sit into that room. Considering that Mari and I have been surprised along the way to our private room, the dark atmosphere of the room gave us the impression that the surprises were not over and we had more surprises to come. Apart from the room being dark, everything esle inside the room was traditionally Japanese with a short leg’s table, thin cushions where people sit on and room under the table for people to put their feet and legs inside in order for the people to sit rather than crossing their legs.

The food is on the next page>>>

 

 

Purikura at Ueno

After leaving Asakusa, we got the train to the nearby station of Ueno. Ueno is one of the main points of Tokyo, probably one of the most important. This is because it is sited on one of the main corners of Tokyo on the train line that goes round like a circle.

At first Ueno seemed a bit like Camden Town in London, because it has a market along the rail bridge, but still Tokyo style. Mari and I didn’t stay long at Ueno and because it was already getting late and we still have to go for dinner, she took me straight to an entertainment shop. Once inside the shop we went straight to a Japanese style photo boot. That photo boot is not one of the classic photo boots that are used to take classic photos, such as passport photos, but it is like being inside a photo-shop machine.

We had to stand inside the photo boot and there was a screen with a lot of different options and everything was in Japanese, and because at the time I could only read Hiragana, some Katakana characters and my Japanese was limited only to few words, I really couldn’t understand anything of what was written. Anyway, we put around 500 Yen into the machine and then she started playing around with the screen by choosing different options and then we had to pose to take photos. Mari did everything and I just had to pose when she told me to.

The machine started taking photos very quickly, every few seconds. I can’t remember how many photos the machine took, but they were quite a lot.

After taking all those photos, we came out from the machine and she started playing around with another screen attached on the outside of that photo boot. With a special pen that can be read by the screen we started decorating the photos and we started writing few things on the photos in different colours. That machine was really powerful. When finished to decorate the photos, she had to enter on the screen her phone email address. Then we waited few seconds and a set of different photos came out from the machine in the same way a normal photo boot does. Then she also received an email with the photos taken. We cut the set of photos, I took some and she took others and then we left to the next destination.