Sunday, September 10, 2017


OK, we arrived back at the Four Seasons in Tokyo about 8 PM, after landing at Haneda.  Again, efficient Japanese transportation from air to rail, all pretty seamless.  Baggage claim was a bit slow, but there were a bunch of people on the plane, and lots of baggage. Then the Tokyo monorail to Hamamatsucho and transfer to the Yamanote to Tokyo Station.  Not too crowded, either, even though it was a Thursday evening, with the crowds of people returning home from work.

Our first walk that night was outside, looking for food at one of the numerous combinis in the area.  Of course, we were hungry!

First picture Friday AM.  I really enjoy the trains coming and going from our window.  Many online reviews of the Four Seasons are critical because they hear the trains going back and forth.  The main Tokaido Shinkansen originates here, to go west to Nagoya, Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima, and Fukuoka.  I never, ever, mind the sounds.  Not noise. It really is NOT loud at all, even though we are on the fifth floor.  It's rhythmic music.  Well, maybe not music...

The large building, seen only partially on the left, is the Marunouchi Building (aka Maru biru -- not to be confused by Yebisu biru).  In the center is the Shin Maru Biru, and the small white structure in front of the Maru biru is Kitte, the former and present site of the central Post office of Tokyo.  There is a large new indoor shopping mall, first introed to us by my cousin, Kayla.  Em loves this place.

First breakfast there was in Tokyo Station, at T's tantan.  Totally vegan.  Em and I get the Kare raisu.  Sam and Connie get tantan men and a shiyo ramen. I'll be honest, I'm not a huge fan of this place.

T's is inside the station, after ticketing, so we had to pay ¥140 to get JR platform tickets (we were later taking the subway, not a JR train).  $5 just to get to the place...

Inside the station, we see Taka, our previous night's pilot's twin brother.  Taka couldn't get into pilot's school, so he became a train operator.

We take the Tokyo Metro subway to Tsukiji, for some shopping.  There was a fire there about a month ago, in the outer market.  The fire was right on Shin-Ohashi dori, the main street where Tsukiji station and the Hongwanji are located.  They are busily rebuilding that part of the outer market.  Aritsugu, the Tokyo branch of the famous Kyoto Nishiki Market knife shop, is right there along the street.  Here you see some dumb tourist, insensitively taking a picture of the fire location. Of course, I  wouldn't be so rude.  I didn't take THIS particular picture -- I just found it on the internet somewhere.

A busy street in Tsukiji, the one that separates the Outer Market from the wholesale area.

I had wanted to go to Tsukiji Uogashi, a new building with wholesale shops but intended for tourists too, but Google maps was wrong, and we stumble into it without knowing.  There are two parts to the complex, two separate buildings.  I believe that the public is not allowed in until about 9 or 10 AM, and prior to that, only vendors and other buyers are allowed there.  In contrast to the old Outer Market, the interior lacks some of the charm of "ancient," crowded stalls.  But, it is nice and cool inside!

We coincidentally see that same tourist looking at all the food!

They also sell meat to the public.

Here is Sam, eyeing either the food, or a cute elderly lady.

Same tourist eating a manju.

There is another really nice shop in Tsukiji called Masamoto, where we purchase a small paring knife.  Here is the storefront.  About ¥9500 for a stainless knife (sorry, no picture, since it is packed up in Tokyo at the hotel, while this writer is in Kyoto at the present).  Kamata in Kappabashi is also a really nice place to purchase a knife.  These, along with Aritsugu, are the three classic kitchen knife vendors in Japan.

We then took the subway to Ginza.  Here is the interior of Ginza six, and new shopping mall right in Ginza.  All the shops are way too expen$ive for us.  So, we just used a series of seats to rest and cool off in the AC interior!

I am pushy and want to go to Katsu Midori Kaitenzushi.  Not because it was a foodie destination, but it is on our bucket list of things to do, since Mr. Tabi and Mr. Eats went there. Please see the link.

This is a classic Kaitenzushi place, with two branches in Tokyo, Shibuya and Ikebukuro.  I had heard that there would be a hella wait, but we were seated at the counter within minutes (1 PM on a Friday).  They have tablet ordering but since we're at the counter, we don't get that.  Fortunately, there is an English menu, and we stumble upon the method of ordering (paper and pen, with a number coded menu!).  A curmudgeonly chef stands and works right in front of us, and we soon learned that we could just write our order on paper and hand it to him.  We can also pick things up from the rotating counter, but those kaitenzushi lovers among you readers will know that there may be some food from the 19th century up there.  Well, I exaggerate, obviously; not that old.  Below, there is some deep fried Ika that I picked up, which, despite its cold temperature and lack of crunch, is quite tasty.  I eat practically the whole plate.  

King Crab

Uni (we've had better)

Otoro and Chutoro

Chutoro maki


All in all, I'll pass.  But I'm glad we went on this day because the next day was Iwa.  Who wants Katsu Midori AFTER eating at Iwa???

We leave the sushi joint and head to the Loft store, located in the Shibuya Seibu complex.  I only now realize why it is here -- the big Seibu conglomerate owns Loft.  And the Tokyu group owns Tokyu Hands.  Anyway, we spend three hours there (seriously).  Em says it is her favorite store in the world.  She is frugal and never spends money, and she bought a lot there!!!

The obligatory Shibuya Hachiko picture but this same tourist keeps coming back like a bad penny!!

We aren't too hungry, so we opt for a "snack."  The others want to go to Mihashi, the Tokyo Station Kakigori place that we always go to.  But I had read about Saryo Tsujiri, a similar place in Daimaru in Tokyo Station.  A branch of a Kyoto Gion Matcha place, this place didn't disappoint.  A bit more upscale than Mihashi, and with an approx 15 minute wait, it was a quiet oasis away from the din of downtown Tokyo.  

Here is my parfait!

Green tea soba (savory)

Warabi mochi drenched in Kinako.  Dango of various flavors with An topping.

Kanten, An and dango (called Anmitsu, often served with chilled candied or fresh fruit)

A happy Giants fan eating his parfait for dinner!

A happy Em

This place is at least twice the price of Mihashi too.  But we'll definitely be back this trip!

I found this place last year.  My hair was shaggy, and I didn't have time to cut my hair before our trip last year, and for ¥1080, you can't beat the price.  I didn't cut my hair intentionally this trip.  It was a Friday night just before the 8 PM closing time. So there were about six or seven ahead of me.  But 10 minutes or less, they always claim.  I know that the Giants fan above didn't look like he needed a bunch of hair cut off, but this guy does a better job than me.

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