Before I make kwento about my recent trip to Tokyo, I have to tell you guys what kind of traveler I am.
- I don’t take a lot of pictures (exception: Tibet. That place is too beautiful for words)
- I avoid hotels.
- I like to stay in the “local” districts.
- I linger in one city for days or weeks.
- I eat a lot.
- I shop a lot.
I’m a “pulse” traveler. I like getting the feel of the area and incorporating its vibe. If I stay long enough, I learn the language. I’m a sponge. I like blending in and going with the flow. So if you’re looking to plan an itinerary with this post, sorry but I will fail you miserably.
Usually I do a bit of research before I leave, but my punishing schedule didn’t allow me to do much reading and I was actually kampante going into Tokyo because my sister lives there. This is her. She looks like my mom. She’s been living in Tokyo for the past three years.
She lives in Machiya, a district in Tokyo she fondly refers to as “old lady town.”
It’s a quiet residential area with neighborhood stores and hole-in-the-wall places to eat, and conveniently on a subway line that easily takes us to busier areas in Tokyo.
I love this bike I saw parked outside the liquor shop. Basti and I could totally rock it. More on that liquor later.
What we ate
My sister and I are a fan of set meals. Cheap, filling and easy. There’s this place near her house where I had a gyudon-ish meal for JPY680 (PhP 250). There’s also the Matsuya chain, which is their version of Goodah. 24 hours, no nonsense set meals for cheap. This plate is about PhP165. And they’re actually pretty good, the ingredients are fresh and the meals are very filling.
My sister loves parfaits and so do the Japanese. We had these sundaes at Milky Way somewhere in Ikebukuro. There are convenience stores selling soft-serve everywhere too.
We went for conveyor belt sushi in Shibuya. Wala lang. I’ve always wanted to do it in Japan. I’ll go for a more “local” place on my next trip. This entire stack cost me something like JPY1700 (PhP 625). We ate at a slightly touristy area in Harajuku because we were on our way to Omotesando Hills so Yapi said it was a bit pricier than usual.
In a subway station in Ikebukuro lies a branch of Gindaco, my sister’s favorite Takoyaki shop. We paired it with soba from a neighboring kiosk. Someone should seriously bring this chain into the country. So good.
My sister and I also had dinner at the Shinbashi branch of an izakaya chain, Tengu, where we had drinks and bar chow.
Stuff like, chicken wings, gyoza, asparagus wrapped in pork. We couldn’t stay out too long because we didn’t want to miss the train. Lest we end up like this guy right here.
Poor man was SLOSHED at 6pm and sitting on the street with his friend who was equally plastered. It happens a lot in Japan, apparently. No one steals from you anyway.
When in Japan, must Ramen
Random ramen place in Shibuya.
OF COURSE I got the one with the butter and the corn. So good. JPY990 or around PhP365.
What I bought
My main shopping goal in Tokyo was to buy a few brushes from Hakuhodo.
These brushes are purported to be one of the best brush brands in the WORLD, so of course I had to hike it over to their showroom in Aoyama. I swear when the elevator doors opened, I heard angels sing. I walked away with these:
The three face brushes are my favorites. They are a joy to use. I regret not buying more, but then they were not the cheapest brushes in the world, so my wallet thanked me for my restraint.
Did you guys know that Japan has one of the most stringent FDA regulations for cosmetics in the world? I think that’s the reason why Japanese skin care is so nice. At Tokyu Hands, I picked up a couple of bottles of this cleansing oil that Kris loves. Me being inggitera bought one for myself too.
Here it is along with a couple of other things I bought:
From this list of Japanese drugstore products that my mom sent me, I bought Perfect Whip cleansing foam from Don Quixote. DHC cleansing oil is already a popular product among beauty junkies and I was simply not leaving Japan without it. We chanced upon a DHC store right by the Shibuya crosswalk. I forgot to take a pic of the Bioderma water mist I bought as well. I regret not buying more skincare. Lesson learned. Next time, hoard.
It’s so much fun to buy cosmetics at Don Quixote.
Shu Eumura eyelash curlers are soooo cheap.
So is K-Palette.
There’s this thing that’s too funny. Found in Tokyu Hands. Having trouble with your brows? Maybe this will help.
I paid a visit to the only MAC Pro store in Asia and bought a lip palette so I can finally lessen the lipstick stash I bring in my kit. I need more.
Clothes and Shoes
For some reason I was in a sneaker mood when I went to Japan and I made off with these three pairs.
The gold Vans were on sale at ABC Mart and they only had two pairs left. One in my size, and one in my sister-in-law’s size. It was meant to be.
The other two pairs are from GU, my new favorite clothing brand. It’s a brand under the company that also owns Uniqlo, but the clothes are less preppy and more urban, and astonishingly affordable. I bought a lot of clothes there and a few pieces at random shops in Harajuku.
Okay I have a confession. I like to drink. And when in Japan, you must buy whisky. I bought these two bottles from the neighborhood liquor store. I was supposed to buy a third one, Yamazaki, but they ran out.
Aside from the usual Tokyo Banana and mochi pasalubong (bought last minute at the airport of course), I took home boxes of Kracie Poppin for Basti.
I toiled through We had a lot of fun making these miniature, edible food figures. They actually did not taste bad!
The sushi set.
They looked more “donut-y” before Basti loaded them with icing and sprinkles.
The burger meal.
Only in Tokyo
We chanced upon this girl singing group and their fan base of middle-aged men. Explain.
A visit to Hachiko.
Do not show your armpit sign.
The madness that is the Shibuya crosswalk.
Where Yapi indulged Mr. Free-hugs-guy-dressed-like-Stitch.
In between these pics, it was mostly just hanging out with my sister. That was the main reason I went to Japan. 4 days was not even close to being enough for me. Hopefully next time I can stay longer and linger even more.
Arigato goizamasu, Tokyo. Till next time.