Sunday, November 18, 2012

Shibuya Meet-up! ヽ(*⌒∇⌒*)ノ

Wow another post, I'm on a roll here! No guarantee when you'll be seeing this though!

Continuing where I left off a while ago, on the first day of arriving Tokyo with YK and after checking in, we took a much-needed shower then decided to head off to Shibuya for a bit! Trust me, our schedule was so packed we couldn't afford to waste any second no matter how tired we might have been. One week is surely not enough to explore Tokyo and its vicinity! Anyway when we got there it was a weekday and just as packed with people as one would expect on a weekend.

I think this is the first time I visit Shibuya during day time and it felt so amazing - exactly like in the movies where the traffic light turns green and an organised chaos ensues! Everyone walks so confidently like they know exactly where they're going and while nobody complained when we walked at a relatively slower pace (to take pictures and just look around at everything!), it certainly felt kind off odd. Plus, everyone's so fashionable on Japan omg I would love to sit somewhere and just stare at everyone! Apparently the Starbucks across the street (it's impossible to miss it) is a great place for that, so take note.

Cari makan dulu hehe! So on my first trip to Japan in March, while purchasing my Arashi CD at Tsutaya, I asked the cashier if she has any recommendations of good places to eat nearby. It was a late winter night then so she suggested a ramen place that she frequents nearby, and wrote down the name for us while pointing in a general direction where the restaurant is. We searched and searched but couldn't find it so I asked a promoter girl nearby but she didn't know either so we walked around the area again looking for it and as we passed by the promoter girl again, she came up to us excitedly and told us she found the place!

Perfect example of how incredibly kind and helpful the Japanese are! Apparently she asked her colleagues and she proceeded to lead us to the restaurant - all this while in the middle of work, promoting another restaurant wtf. That's the story of how I came to know this place, and brought YK here for dinner on our first day in Japan together! (^ω^)To order, you'd have to first pick what you want from a machine at the entrance and masukkan your money into the machine. Thank goodness for pictures because only a few words are in English hahaha the machine will then issue you a little receipt and you can pass it to the friendly staff while you pick a seat. Up to you if you want to order drinks because they'll serve you mineral water!

YK's charsiew ramen meal. Look at the eggs gosh so good, and the portion is huge!

Mine. Beef rice thing. The beef were so tender and flavourful! 

As much as I'd love to have a steaming bowl of seriously good ramen, I was still full from all the snacks I had previously (dammit!) plus this was the cheapest at about ¥500 (RM20) so I had this beef rice thing instead. The ramen costs about ¥1000 (RM40) so don't say I didn't warn you. In Japan though, a ¥1000 meal for one person would be considered quite affordable already wtf but this restaurant is so worth it lor! I stole quite a bit of YK's ramen because she couldn't finish it and it was so yummy. Can never go wrong with a local's recommendation!

Space was limited (about 20 pax maximum) so we sat at the bar!

My picture got screwed up when I uploaded it so had to awkwardly crop it

Highly recommended restaurant! Don't ask me how to go though because I don't quite remember unless I'm there. So it's either you bring me there teehee or you write down the name and ask the locals who work there yah. Sorry I absolutely cannot help in the directions department. Moving on - after such a heavy meal we went for a walk to explore the very busy Shibuya area and I saw this!

Facial sheet masks going for only only ¥50 (RM2) each! AND IF BUY TEN IT'S ONLY ¥400 (RM16)! Cheap until cannot explain! Knowing that some things are too good to be true plus I can't read any kanji haha, I went in to ask the store people if it's really that cheap and they confirmed it. I also checked the fine print and they're made in Korea, okay la looks like can trust so I bought ten haha now I wished I had buy another twenty ten because they're actually pretty good and so. incredibly. cheap. Friggin' everything on sale in summer!

Except Converse shoesヽ(ー_ー )ノ

They've got really cool designs like anchor prints and polka dots but all so mahal how to buy uhuk uhuk!
Fine, lupakan saja and headed to the mother of all fashion malls - SHIBUYA 109. Oh yeah!

Once we stepped it, it was war. There were high pitched noises coming from every single direction and whatever they were repeating, the word sale was surely in there. Some even stood on stools and held loudspeakers to further spread the word! No kidding, it was came as quite a surprise and a little disorienting. Every fashion shop had at least one promoter shouting at the top of their lungs (seriously, they didn't hold back) on their store's sale and I wondered how long they could keep at it and how sore would their throats be. There were bargains and sales in every single store in Shibuya 109!


There were so many floors we kept going up up and up! Prices range from ¥1500 (RM60) by the way. 
That's actually quite cheap but I was on a tight budget so none for me. Resist resist! 
Saw this kitty bag that was really cute though...but no. Walaupun sedikit menyesal now. 

Also, Parco having the new Erika Sawajiri movie, Helter Skelter exhibition! She's so hot holymama but have to pay to enter the exhibition (;*△*;) Really want to watch this movie though!


That's about it for the first time, we decided to head back to the hotel early to catch some rest because we're meeting some of my friends in Shibuya too the next day! Another awesome feeling when we set up the place to meet and were told to meet at Shibuya's Hachiko, which is the doggy statue raised in front of the Shibuya station to commemorate the legendary loyal Akita doggy who faithfully waited for his owner years after the owner's death. Also known as meeting spot for everyone in Shibuya. Really, everyone seems to be waiting there! So off we go again to Shibuya on our second day in Tokyo! (*⌒∇⌒*)

We got there a little earlier than the meeting time so we explored Shibuya again while waiting for time, which somehow ended up with food. More precisely, my favorite food. Bread. Bread from Les Deux Magots. Les Deux Magots as in Paris. As in featured in paintings, books and films. Okay had to go in! Damn pandai spend money on unnecessary things kan?


YK was craving for coffee, I got this Kyoto Macha Latte at a convenience store instead.
Thanks Jacqueline Khoo for that one Instagram that made me remember this haha!

After our little food adventure, we met everyone in Hachiko and headed off to get more food - lunch! I let these people take over because obviously they know the place better hahaha the Tokyoites brought us to some sort of maze that led to some staircase and tadaa we're at the restaurant! It's pretty near to the Loft, that's as far as I could remember haha don't ask any further.

Got them Malaysian postcards as souvenirs! That's Momoa, Tsuguto and Haruko ♥ 

Awesome huge mirror behind hahaha but everywhere's so narrow! Rina and YK looking so happy there ♥

Salmon avocado on rice. One of the best food I had in Japan for real! Okay maybe bias because I love salmon and I also love avocado like mad. This place was so cheap, don't remember how much but for a set lunch with refillable drinks and soup, choices of main courses which includes this salmon and avocado, really cheap! Would love to go again someday haha it was so good I ate slowly so that it wouldn't finish too fast wtf the hamburg seems to be quite good too, portions just about right!

Hama-chan briefing us before a video shoot haha his anchor pants damn cute ♥ 
Maybe you can try to find this restaurant based on what's outside the window?

Group shot, whoots! Love this picture, love this funny bunch! (*⌒∇⌒*)

Aaaaand that's the abrupt end of our Shibuya adventures, but surely not the end of the day. More to come!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Shinagawa Prince Hotel, Tokyo

Hullo! Here's presenting the hotel I stayed at the first time during the first trip and the second time during the third trip 
- Shinagawa Prince Hotel. Confused? I surely hope not? :D Why did I choose to stay here again?

  1. Location
  2. Location
  3. Location
  4. Location
  5. Location

I can't begin to emphasize more on how amazingly awesome the location is. This hotel, Shinagawa Prince Hotel, is located in Shinagawa. The Shinagawa Station is a mere five minutes walk from the main hotel building. Basically you get down to the lobby, you walk a little, stop by 7 Eleven to get some snacks, walk a little more, stop by McDonald's to see what they have while waiting for the pedestrian light to turn green, walk across the main road and there you are smack in Shinagawa Station - all in less than five minutes!

The hotel is quite huge actually, they have their own bowling alley, restaurants, food court, cinema and even an aquarium wtf and of course, quite some shops for some souvenir shopping whoohoo! So basically when you're walking all the way to McDonalds, you're actually still within the hotel vicinity!

Shinagawa Station is also one of the stops on the Yamanote JR Line, plus several other lines running through. I have to clarify though - I haven't stayed or explored accommodation around more commercial areas like Shibuya and Asakusa so this is by no means the best of the best hotel recommendation in Tokyo.

The picture  below is exactly what greets you when you open the door to the room. It's much more narrow than hotels in Malaysia, but it's expected dah. I went through lots of hotels/business hotels/dorms/budget hostel in Tokyo before booking this one, which I think it's a pretty good deal despite the slightly higher prices. This is sort of middle class I guess? 

The one thing about really cheap accommodations that put me off - communal bathroom. I'm not talking about those in your university hostels where you get a cubicle each to shower. I'm talking about those let-it-all-hang-out  while you shower next to random strangers in one huge room that has a large hot bath to soak in as well. Yeahhh, not exactly my ideal situation either. Like, I wouldn't mind, but I'd rather not la haha plus, this hotel has got its own tiny bathtub in the en suite bathroom so yeay! Bathtub! :D

Here's a look at  the bathroom - clean, compact and heated toilet seat zomg best invention ever!

Keperluan berguna juga disediakan. Save on luggage weight and/or space! 

View from the other side of the room. A little closet/cuboard is right behind the TV, by the way.

Oh the joys of lying on the bed after a nice hot bathtub soak and watching Arashi Japanese variety shows!

Arashi hahaha you've no idea how many literal screen shots I took of them whenever I see them on tv, 
which is pretty much every. single. day. Happy!

Ooh look, they even have a pakai-dalam-rumah yukata/bathrobe for you!

Here's another major plus point that made me go back to Shinagawa Prince Hotel the second time - if you officially decline room service (maximum two days in a row), for each day you get a ¥500 (RM20) voucher to be used in Shinagawa Hotel shops which includes the convenience store! This is so awesome because you can accumulate the vouchers and use it to buy souvenirs at the end of your trip at pretty much no cost at all! When you enter your room, there'll be a green form somewhere on the bed/table for you to fill, just pass it to the frontdesk before the next day and at the end of each day you can collect the vouchers from the frontdesk. Super great or what! It's also a great effort to save on resources seeing as the disaster last year affected both the economy and the environment.

Yeap, so that's my take on Shinagawa Prince Hotel! 

Feel free to pop in a couple questions if you need more non-Internet-searchable information!