Waiting for Gyoza

We had a bit of a slower start this morning. But eventually we got our day underway and decided to head off to find a cute little bakery that sells My Neighbour Totoro cream puffs and is Studio Ghibli themed. After a bit of a trek on multiple subway lines we eventually arrived at our destination. Then we wandered around (and asked for directions at a LAWSON convinience store) until we finally found it….and…it was closed. Damn. It looked good too.

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So, we turned around and got back on the subway and headed to nearby Shimokitazawa. A hip and funky little area of cute shops and cafes. It was already lunch time by the time we got there so we stopped at a waffle cafe and had so delicious waffles. Steve had a taco waffle, which sounds like it shouldn’t be good, but it was. B had a red velvet waffle which was delicious. It was even sunny and warm enough to sit outside and watch the people walk by.

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We wandered around all afternoon and bought a few things before heading back to Harajuku. Blainie was excited about going to the Pom Pom Purin cafe – especially after the disappointment of missing out on the Hello Kitty cafe. After waiting in line for a while we got in to the cafe. Cries of “Kawaii!” Could be heard throughout the cafe, and for good reason, as it was indeed, kawaii.

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We had some kawaii food.

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Then, after more wandering and shopping, we lined up with a whole lot of other people to eat gyoza. The wait was quite long (about 40 minutes) but it was worth it. The gyoza were fresh and delicious and so was the beer.

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Mountain trip to Japan (surprise trip to Shizuoka)

We decided to go on a day trip today as the weather has been unseasonably sunny. Over breakfast we decided that Shizuoka was the place to go. Only 1 hour by Shinkansen and we were promised views of Mt Fuji.
Of course we had to have bento lunches for our trip on the Shinkansen. Blainie had her favourite from last year’s trip – crab and ikura (salmon roe). It had been updated slightly for this season with the addition of baby squid.

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We saw Mt Fuji really well from the train. It’s quite an amazing mountain. When we got to Shizuoka we had to catch a local train and then a bus to get to our destination. Whilst on the bus, we looked out the front and saw Mt Fuji at the end of the street.

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When we got off the bus, Blainie looked at the map to figure out which way Mt Fuji was – before realising it was just in front of her.

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(Actually, that last bit wasn’t exactly true. We were looking at the map because we had to walk to find a beach)

This is the beach we found. Glorious views of Mt Fuji. This is the first time we have ever actually seen Mt Fuji in real life. Well, except for zipping by it on a train.

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Then we had wasabi flavoured ice creams.

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On the train back to Tokyo, Steve enjoyed a Whisky highball and a Mt Fuji pound cake.

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When we got back to Tokyo station, we got caught up in Christmas Eve Illuminations madness. So.many.people. We all got herded around a course to look at lights in trees and Tokyo Station all lit up. It was pretty crazy.

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Christmas markets

It was a public holiday today. The Emperor’s birthday or some such thing. In Tokyo that doesn’t mean all the shops are closed and public transport only runs every 3 hours, but it does mean that everywhere is really busy.
We decided to go for a wander around our local area down to Asakusa and Sensoji temple. But first, a trip up to the rooftop of our accomodation was in order. There is a VERY small staircase leading to the top.

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We spent the whole morning wandering around Asakusa looking at cute shops and little alleys. It was super busy near Sensoji temple.

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And people with their dogs dressed in clothes were out in force.

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Then we got hungry. Here is Steve running to the udon noodle shop. Lunch was good.

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Then time for a quick coffee whilst looking out over Asakusa.

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In the afternoon we headed off to Yokohama to check out their Christmas Markets. It was really, really busy and we had to queue for longer than anyone really should have to for a cup of glüwein. But it was good and we hung around for quite a while. We also looked in the surrounding shops and drank some local beer.

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On the way back to the train we stumbled across some more illuminations and couldn’t resist having a hot cocoa with rum. Whilst we enjoyed our beverages we watched a band called The Tote who were playing – they were really quite good.

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And then, because we needed more things to eat, Blainie could not resist the cuteness of these panda treats at Ueno station.

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It’s been a big day. Time for bed me thinks.

Sunny days in Tokyo

Nicest winter day in Tokyo we have ever seen. We could tell it was going to be good from the plane;

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The traditional Narita airport Onigiri photo;

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Took us ages to find this lunch place, but totally worth it;

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Went to a new big shopping mall in Shibuya, which gave us a different view;

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