Tag Archives: Akihabara

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).

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>>>

 

 

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).

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.

Akihabara: The Electric Town

While walking around, Mari told me that Akihabara was also called the ‘Electric Town’ because there are a lot of shops which sell electrical stuff such as computers, phones, televisions and so on. In few words, it is an heaven for people interested in those things. Once we were walking, Mari showed me a big colorful building which sells electric stuff. From the outside, it looked like a building different from the standard building. This is because you could see the escalator path way from the outside that looks like a pipe. Something that seams come out from the video game ‘Super Mario Bros’. I do not know if the two main characters (Mario and Luigi) ever lived there, but one thing I realized was that the building surprised me.

Mari asked me if I wanted to have a look inside and so we did. On the ground floor they were selling phones. I was interested to buy a ‘pay-as-you-go’ phone because I knew that I would need it (11 months is a long period and I was planning to make some friends and having a phone would be very convenient to me to get in touch with them). Mari then told me that in Japan they do not sell pay-as-you-go phones and all the phones were with a contract, but we decided to go to the phones department to enquire about the options they were doing. We asked a man there and that man told us that they actually had two phones which are pay-as-you-go. They had one which cost ¥7,000 and another one which cost ¥10,000. The were not fancy phones, apart from calling and messaging it could also take low quality photos and get access to emails. They were not touch screen, but like a shell which when open there is a screen in the top part and a keyboard (not qwerty) in the bottom part, which included a button to access Yahoo! Mail and other buttons for few other functions. I did not buy it because I wanted to have time to think about it and at that point I had only few friends in Japan, all of them Japanese, Mari from Tokyo and Miki and her sister Chise from Nagoya. I had another friend, Noriko, from Kagoshima in the South of Kyushu, but she had been living in Canada for a while and married a Canadian guy and that was it. The phones in Japan differ from those found in the UK, they have a much wider selection of Japanese brands, such as Sharp Aquos, NEC, Toshiba as well as a wide selection of Sony. After looking at the phones we went to have a look around the store and I was surprised at the laptops because they look thicker and much heavier than those found in Europe. I do not know why they are like that, but it is interesting. We stayed in the store only for a short time before leaving to go to Tokyo Tower.

‘Meido Kissa’ experience

Kawaii!!!!!!!!!!

After we left the shop she asked me ‘Shall we go to a Maid Cafe’?’. I remembered she mentioned about the Maid Cafe’ when she came to London earlier in the week, I did a very brief research in London before heading to Japan but I did no go deep into the details because I wanted it to be a surprise. While we were walking on one of those streets of Akihabara we met a cute (‘kawaii‘ in Japanese) girl dressed as a maid and handing out leaflets about ‘Maidreamin‘ maid cafe’.

Then Mari asked me if I wanted to go there and I said that anywhere would be fine. That girl pointed where that maid cafe’ (or ‘Meido Kissa’ as Japanese call it, ‘Meido’ is how traditionally Japanese people pronounce English words by adding an ‘o’ at the end of each word and ‘Kissa’ is the short for ‘Kissaten’ that in Japanese means cafe’/coffee shop) was. It was just inside the building behind where that cute girl was standing. So we decided to head there.

Japanese Videogame/Manga

To get there we had to go through a short corridor and get the lift (or ‘elevator’ for American English or ‘erebeta’ for Japanese pronunciation) to the 4th floor. As soon as we arrived there I was surprised for two reasons. The first is that when we reached that floor with the lift there were no corridors or doors, just the erebeta’s door and the Meido Kissa was just there, the entrance of the Kissa was the erebeta’s door. Secondly, I felt very weird at  being at that place because it seamed like being inside a Japanese video game or a manga. The atmosphere inside was weird, I felt strange and I was wondering how can such places exist. This was just my first impression. As soon as we entered, a kawaii maid came to us and shown us where we could sit. The Meido Kissa was not big but had many people inside and all of them (or almost) were Japanese male customers.

Childish?

As soon as I went inside the Meido Kissa I realized that the girls were speaking with an accent that to me resembled how children talk, that made the experience even more weird and strange. After seated, a kawaii girl came with the menu on our table with different options and different set menus. The selection was not wide, they had three choices of food, three different kinds of cocktails, including one that is non-alcoholic, and the third option that included having a photo taken with one of the kawaii maids of my choice, a plastic folder with Maidreamin printed on it and something else which I forgot. We opted for the set menu. I had Japanese style rice omelette (omorice), one of the alcoholic cocktails and the photo. Mari instead had Japanese curry, alcoholic cocktail and the folder.

What am I saying? (Embarrassed)

When the food came, and given me the omorice, the Meido that was serving us came with two different kinds of sauce and she said to me that she was going to draw a picture on the omorice with the sauces. She did it in an entertaining way and she drew a kitty on my food. Then she said that we had to say a magic phrase (in Japanese of course, I didn’t have a clue what I was saying and if I was saying right) to make the food taste nicer. But we had to say it together otherwise it would not work. At that point I felt embarrassed but I played along because it felt funny and interesting.

Learning Experience

This place was probably the only place which I encountered culture shock throughout all my 11 months in Japan, but at the same time I found that experience as a part of learning about the Japanese culture. I did not dislike that adventure at all, I really found it very interesting and amusing at the same time, and also the way that the Meido were treating the costumers was just unbelievable, something that you cannot find anywhere else in the world outside of Japan.

Magic Cocktail

As for the cocktail, we had to say again the magic phrase. But at that point I was starting to get used to the experience. When we finished the meal and the drink, the Meido came with the folder, which Mari gave to me, and asked me to have a photo taken. They said that I could take the photo with two of the Meido of my choice, so I chose two of the most kawaii that were working there. We took a Polaroid photo together in a funny pose, I was in between of the Meido. Our overall experience lasted for about one hour, they gave us a Maidreamin Loyalty Card called Dreamin Passport (just before leaving) and then we left.

Anyone can go

That was the most unique experience I had all my life. I really enjoyed that experience and I suggest everyone to go to a Meido Kissa in Akihabara if you ever travel to Japan. I am sure that you will love it. Also children and girls/women can go there because is not an erotic place even if though the girls wear a sexy costume. It is a place where to have fun, at least once in a lifetime, with good humor and nothing rude!!!

 

First Time in Akihabara

How can a Japanese person could possibly speak Italian?

When I went back to the Ryokan at around 2.30, the lady that owns the Ryokan was there and after saying hello (she could speak English very well) she asked me ‘Are you Italian?’. I was surprised that he knew where I came originally from, I asked her how she knew my country of origins and she said she saw it from my passport, which I gave to her when I first entered the Ryokan in the morning. The biggest surprise was when she started speaking to me in a very fluent Italian and she told me that she learnt Italian while she was working for Alitalia, she has been working for the airline for 30 years.

Waiting for Mari

At the moment I felt a bit tired and sleepy so I soon went to my room resting while waiting for Mari. It didn’t take long for me to fall asleep. At around 4 PM someone woke me up by knocking my room door. I found it difficult to wake up but I managed through my hard effort. Was the lady at the Ryokan that told me that my friend Mari had arrived. I got changed and went downstairs and I greeted her just in a normal way. This was not because of Japanese culture, but because I had seen her 5-6 days earlier in London because she was there for business. Every time she came to London, either on business, holiday or living there, I kept telling her about my wish to go to Japan. And that was the day.

 

First destination: Akihabara

I was very pleased to have met her there and she also told me that I finally made it to go to Japan. After the greetings she asked me what I wanted to do and what I wanted to visit. At that point my mind was blank because I knew I didn’t do any research or what so ever about Tokyo or Japan in general. This was not because I was not interested in Tokyo or Japan, but because I know for experience that if I do a lot of research before travelling, everything I visit is not interesting and therefore I do not get surprised. At that moment I said to Mari ‘I do not know anything about Tokyo, please surprise me!!!’. I have to tell you that she actually did!!! She then said ‘Let’s go to Akihabara’. We went to get the train together at Yotsuya train station and we headed to Akihabara.

AKB48 & Gundam cafe

 

After coming out from Akihabara train station she took me to a square and she showed me a building with two shop on the first floor (ground floor for European people, from now on I will tell the floor number in Japanese style) and then she said ‘That one is ‘AKB48 cafe & shop’ and that one on its left it is ‘Gundam cafe’. 

I knew about Gundam was a popular manga and I was surprised they had a cafe’ but about AKB48 I never heard them in my life. Mari then said that AKB48 was a very popular group of singers in Japan. Then she took me for a walk inside the AKB48 shop just to look around for a minute. After that we left and decided to visit a ‘Maid Cafe‘.

 

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.