Back home….for 14 months =^-^=

We’ve been back home for three weeks now and I’ve fallen back into the old habit of using facebook (fb) more regularly…I need to end that trend. Whereas fb is good for keeping up with friends, it’s also a hotbed for drama, which no one really needs in their life.

But, I digress – I don’t want this blog to be about anything with negative aspects.

In the time that we’ve been home from our holiday in Japan, we have; decided to holiday there next year, adopted two new kittens – playmates for our two cats, worked at getting rid of unnecessary items from our house (and my wardrobe), decided to start up my own business, and (with fingers crossed) I will be starting up a Master’s degree program this year. All within the first three weeks of the year! I feel like things are finally falling into place.

Japan Day 14…the last full day

Today was the day that we needed to get everything ready for departure. It was bittersweet for me because I really didn’t want to leave…but I had too. I did miss so many people back at home but I found myself feeling more and more at home in Ikebukuro.

Originally we had wanted to get to Central Tokyo, visit the Imperial Gardens, and just walk around. However, the Gardens and Palace area were closed and we didn’t feel like venturing out of Ikebukuro…I think we were beginning to feel ‘home sick’ for Tokyo.

We left the hotel around 9:30am and made our way to Tobu. Since most of the stores didn’t open until 10am we found ourselves sitting at Starbucks talking about our next visit and what we needed to pick up before we left. Monkey wanted the Chocolate Brownie Mocha, Mom wanted a Matcha Frappacino, and I wanted a nice hot latte. I had also wanted to try the cute little cookies that they sold so I took one of each – chocolate, raspberry, and almond….delicious!!!! Finally 10am rolled around and we were done with our tasty breakfast so we set off.

We needed to pick up another carry-on bag as well as a nice sturdy suitcase. To our defense, we packed heavy as we weren’t certain on how winter treated Tokyo..not to mention many of the items we bought are breakable and needed to come on the plane with us. Keeping this in mind, we headed to the Hello Kitty store! What can I say, the store is awesome! We poked around the store to see what new merchandise they had gotten in, bought a few items and left for the other side of Ikebukuro and Sunshine City!

On the way there (which takes maybe all of 10 minutes) we got hungry…since our breakfast was really only 3 small cookies. The first time we had been to the east side of Ikebukuro we noticed a small restaurant with these amazing looking deserts displayed in the front window. I had promised Monkey that we would stop there sometime during our visit and today was the day. We got a great booth in the back  and started to look at the menus. The great thing about menus in Japan…well, at least in Tokyo, is that every dish has a picture…which is greatly helpful when the rest of the menu is in Japanese and much of the staff doesn’t speak English. Thankfully I can pick well, and we all shared a delicious meal. Oddly enough we didn’t get any of the fancy amazing looking deserts. Mom got a small seafood pizza, Monkey got seafood pasta with a cream sauce, and I got a seafood pasta with tomato sauce. After eating all that delicious food (which wasn’t really a whole lot…the portions are considerably smaller than what we get here in America) we decided to walk over to Sunshine City and check out the stores!

First place we hit up was Animate. Monkey wanted to check out some more stuff and see if she had missed anything. If you know her at all, you know that if she’s looking for something and it’s sitting right in front of her face….she won’t find it. This, however, proved to be different at Animate. It’s as if she had innate honing devices or could smell out what she was looking for….frightening really. We picked up a few inexpensive items and were on our way to Sunshine City.

Finally back at Sunshine City we headed for Build A Bear…yes, Build A Bear. Monkey wanted to see how much the animals were to make…especially the Hello Kitty and the Kimonos. The prices for the stuffies are comparable to here…however…the kimonos, which were amazingly gorgeous, were priced more than her cosplay outfit. Needless to say she opted out of the stuffy. We roamed around that mall for a bit. There was a kimono store that we looked at….gorgeous…absolutely gorgeous kimonos…fairly inexpensive as well…and then the suitcase/bag store. We had looked at a hard sided case at the Hello Kitty store but wanted to shop around first. Thankfully we didn’t buy it. Granted, the Hello Kitty case was black and all sorts of awesome, however, it was a little more than what I had ideally wanted to spend. Monkey picked out a nice case….metallic purple/pink and a few thousand yen less than the Hello Kitty one.

The super awesome nice sales woman gave us each a small jingly snake ornament (it’s the year of the snake) while we were checking out. If I haven’t mentioned this before, I didn’t meet anyone who was angry, gruff, crabby, jerky, or any of those negative attributes. I’m sure that the Japanese have their off days and get cranky but in the 14 full days that we were there…going out and about every day…we didn’t meet up with any of them (and no, I’m not looking through rose colored glasses.)

So, suitcase in hand, we set off back to our hotel. I love the streets in Ikebukuro and Harajuku. Yes, they are congested with busy humans trying to get to their destinations as fast as they humanly can. Yes it’s loud with the hawkers standing on whatever they can find so that their voices can travel farther and louder through the funnels/megaphones that they use. Yes it’s amazing. I had never experienced that kind of organized chaos before. I had never experienced that level of polite fast paced respect for the other person before. (Now that I’m sitting at home…FINALLY…blogging this….I feel home sick….but I digress…sumimasen).

Ok…almost back to the hotel…on the corner of our hotel…right on the corner…at the peak of rush hour….my mom trips on her walker and falls over. Firstly…she didn’t hurt herself..nothing was broken, only a few bruises. Monkey and I were walking ahead of her and didn’t realize that she had fallen. I heard a faint…”oweoweoweowe” and glanced over my shoulder to see my mom laying on her back with her walker over her. At first I thought she had hit her head so I rushed over to her…ok ok..I would have rushed over to her regardless…it turns out that she had hit her knee and rolled over to avoid face planting. In the process of doing this, she had taken her walker with her…sort of…and was laying on top of the side of the walker thus caging her to the ground. I was trying to help her up…which was futile since the walker was over her…and she just looked at me and said, “you know you have to move the walker first….” O.o So, Monkey and I help mom up…she was a little stiff and sore but fine…and head to our room in the hotel.

Since we had the new suitcase, we didn’t stop and get food, so Monkey and I ran back to Tobu then Lawson’s for our last delicious feast of this first of many visits to Japan (my now second home.) The rest of the evening was very typical to previous nights. Monkey and I went up to the top floor to get pics of Fuji-san and to say Sayonara…and See you later before coming back down to pass out.

This visit was really the first of many. Our next visit, in case I hadn’t mentioned it before, is on April 24th, 2014 for at least 2 weeks.

Japan Day 13

Good Morning and yes I’m still behind in writing these.

Today was almost an undecided day, until I learned that the Imperial Palace Gardens were closed until January 4th….the day we leave. Today, we went to the Zoo!! Ueno is maybe a 20 minute train ride from Ikebukuro, not that it matters as the trains are AWESOME -they are clean, punctual, fast, and the riders are courteous. Not to mention that the park the Zoo is in is directly across from the train station.

We stopped at a restroom before going towards the zoo entrance cuz that’s just how we roll…however, I had forgotten the #1 rule while traveling to a ‘foreign’ country….always bring kleenex with you. Needless to say, I waited  another 3 minutes until we came across the Starbucks…cuz Starbucks are EVERYWHERE! This location, however, was extremely awesome. As we walked toward the building, I looked to my right to see a huge open area bordered by Starbucks on one side, little blocks of trees in concrete islands on the other side, the walkway to the Zoo that we were on…and on the other end…a HUGE absolutely gorgeous building (I think it was one of the many art Museums that Tokyo has). Here’s the wikiedia link to the Park area http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ueno_Park

So….I stood in line, cuz it’s Starbucks and there’s always a line, to get our drinks. It was a balmy 50 degrees outside so we sat outside to enjoy our beverages and watch the people go about their activities. There were people walking their dogs -some of which were dressed in the most adorable of doggy fashions. Parents were playing soccer with their children. Some people were just out enjoying the day.

Finally we were done with our drinks and headed toward the Zoo. Right before the Zoo entrance, off to the side, was a little amusement park with some a very cool looking carousel. The other side was a little outdoor restaurant…that had huge3 writing on the roof…advertising…”COFFEE PIZZA”…and damn if I wasn’t full from Starbucks… O.o

We waited in the line to buy tickets, the whole time I kept going over and over in my head what I was going to say…or try to say when purchasing the tickets. This, however, was futile as I soon noticed that I was in the line to buy tickets from the machine…not a real human. Thankfully I have impeccable watching/replicating skills and watched the people in front of me buy their tickets. It was really a no-brainer…besides, there were pictures that helped me.

The first thing we did upon entering the zoo was, aside from finding all the restrooms on the map and start taking pictures, was to get in the line for the Giant Pandas!!! Because Mom has to use her walker, we were – again – treated like royalty and ushered to the very front of the glass where only the workers are allowed to go. It was AWESOME! Pandas in generally don’t do much but sit and eat so I wasn’t really disappointed when that’s all they did. However, OMG…the cute overload! They are so big, fluffy, and look so huggable!!!

Eventually we had to move along and check out the other areas of the Zoo. There were some animals that Monkey really wanted to check out and I wanted to get some pictures of the five story Pagoda. We walked around and looked at so many different kinds of animals. One of my favorites was the female rhinoceros. She was so lively and active! At first we thought she was agitated, the male was in the next area walled but had a ‘door’ that could be opened to let them ‘mingle’. At first she would pace back and forth, but then she changed and started to run while shaking her head around…sort of what horses do. Then she came down to the little pond that was in her area and she started rolling in the mud! I took so many pictures of her. Everyone that was watching was laughing and have a great time just seeing her do what rhinos do. It was great.

We finally decided to move along and check out the other exhibits. The red panda had finally come out so I took some pictures of him/her on our way to the exhibit that Monkey really wanted to see…the squirrels. Yes, a squirrel exhibit. At first, especially at home, I thought that this was the weirdest exhibit ever! Then, after being in Tokyo for only a couple of days, I re-thought it as there were no little critters running around. Even while we were in the Meiji Shrine gardens did I see anything that did not fly. So, yes…squirrels. To Monkey’s dismay, the squirrels were snoozing inside their little homes and we didn’t get any pictures of them. Ueno zoo was really nice. I would compare Ueno to the Madison Zoo. Most of the animal’s homes were indoor/outdoor areas large enough for them to roam about and/or hide. There were even areas that were under construction to improve the animals living conditions.

Finally we left the zoo. Since we hadn’t really eaten anything we decided to go into the Sweet Shop. We came to find out that the shop had been there for at least 100 years. The tea was so refreshing and the Dango that we ordered was OMG delicious (Dango are little dumlings made from rice flour – mochiko usually served on a skewer. Ours, however, were served on a plate – one green tea, one sweet white bean, and one sweet red bean. They were so good…I really need to learn how to make them.

After we were done eating, Monkey and I headed into the Shrine area. Mom couldn’t make it up the stairs – not that there were many of them, only three actually, but the steps were TALL…about two step heights per step. The main shrine was being renovated so we couldn’t go in there to pray. The buildings were old and beautiful and very well taken care of. There was a little area off to the side that was newer. It had been constructed to house a flame from the eternal flame from Hiroshima…just reading the description and being there got me a little teary eyed. And then guilt for my relatives had been there and what we did to that country. (Please no comments about what was done to us first.)

Finally we had to leave and go back to the hotel. It had been another full day almost non-stop walking and Mom need to rest. Of course I chose the wrong direction for the train again, and we were treated to another long view of areas of Tokyo that we we wouldn’t otherwise have seen. Monkey was again, not amused.

Finally back at Ikebukuro we bought food from Tobu, came back to the hotel, ate, and proceeded to pass out.

 

Japan Day 12 – NEW YEAR’S DAY 2013

After little sleep, we all got up early, got ready, and headed down to the hotel restaurant for breakfast. We had forgotten to buy some extra food for today.  With our bellies full of deliciousness (the buffet was HUGE with a great mix of Western and Japanese cuisine…Mom had Brioche french toast…that had been soaked in maple syrup) we made the trek to the train station. The streets were eerily quiet with only a few people scampering past. Even though we had previously visited Meiji Shrine, today of all days was the day to go. The sun was out and there was only the faintest chill to the air.

The train ride seemed shorted today and were back in Harajuku before we knew it. The quiet of Ikebukuro was shattered with the hustle and bustle of Harajuku. The shrine entrance is literally right off the train station so the walk isn’t far. We re-traced our steps from our earlier visit…this time with Mom following us every inch of the way. The only exception was at the well, as the steps are too big for her to manage. Mom finally got to see the whimsical faces of the koi as they slurped up the surface of the water. Some of the koi living in the pond are HUGE! Finally, the labyrinth path of the gardens led us back to the main path headed toward to the Main Shrine.

I have never seen that many people in one place! We had to be three amongst a sea of at least a couple thousand. Thankfully we were all swimming up stream! As we patiently took five to fifteen steps at a time I noticed that not a single person surrounding us was impatient as we waited to enter the shrine. A make shift font had been set up just to the south of the actual font to accommodate the thousands of visitors. The slow low drum beats could be heard over the cacophony of countless languages and jovial laughter. This is what I had written during our wait:

I wish I could put into words the everything of waiting to get near the Meiji Shrine. The sun is shining so bright. There’s a gentle breeze. The temp is around 50 degrees. The smell of incense, perfume, and humans fill the air. Loud speakers boom out directions in Japanese. People from all over the world wait so patiently to offer up a few coins to the deities along with their prayers for a prosperous and healthy year. The echo of drums is felt deep in the chest. I get teary eyed just writing this.

And then finally, we were inside the main area. We aren’t permitted into the Shrine building itself, but I was able to capture a few photos of the drums behind the thin veils. We each threw three coins across the ‘barrier’ and onto the white tarp that covered the stairs. I had found another coin on the ground which I included in my offering. Prayers were said, quietly and squeezed our way out of the crowd. There were some tables set up to the left of the Shrine and I was curious as to what they were for. I accidentally confused a young guy….a Shinto monk maybe. He informed me that the paperwork was for ‘admission’ to beat the shrine drum once and for specific prayers. The ‘admission’  cost was 10,000 Yen…which I did not have on me at the time. The confusion came in when we started to fill out the paperwork after I told him that I didn’t have that much money on me at the time. I feel bad for confusing him and taking up so much of his time. He didn’t seemed annoyed with me when we left, so I don’t feel all that bad.

Our next stop was the food area as we were all starving! We all shared some soba and melon soda before venturing into the gift shop area to see what they all had. We bought a few bags of really good crispy ginger cookies before leaving the shops.

On our walk back to the  hustle and bustle of Harajuku, we came across two very kawaii girls dressed in amazing kimonos. They were gracious enough to let us take of picture of them and then I took a picture for them….they were having a hard time trying to take a picture of themselves. They were so nice…as was everyone that we’ve met so far.

Back on the train again….and heading in the opposite direction. Yup, we got on the wrong train…well it was the right train, just going all the way around and not the 15 minutes it takes from Harajuku to Ikebukuro. Monkey was so tired that she fell asleep on my mom’s shoulder while I looked at all the sights that we hadn’t seen. Tokyo is HUGE and every small section is so different. I was so wrapped up in looking around that I forgot to take pictuers!

After a short 30 minute train ride, we were back at Ikebukuro. I wanted to get some more pictures of Fuji-san and also have a drink in the Lounge. The view was stunning, Monkey’s ice cream soda was awesome, Mom’s tea was delicious, and my sake was intoxicating….a little more than what I had anticipated. It took me a while to finish the mini bottle and when I did…yeah…a little tipsy. We were all hungry…and I needed the food, but there wasn’t anything at the hotel that we wanted. We set off for Italian Tomato Cafe Jr. a little restaurant a block away from the restaurant. Mom sent me to order the food…so I pointed at the menu in hopes that I ordered good! Apparently I ordered the Japanese version of Mac and Cheese…it was GREAT, spaghetti with shrimp and mushrooms, and rice with a white sauce and mushrooms and shrimp….all very delicious.

The food helped me considerably and as Mom went back to the hotel, Monkey and I headed to Lawsons to get foods for tomorrow morning breakfast. Mom wanted to hang out in the lobby and wait for us to return with the goods. We bought the usual fare and as soon as we got back to the hotel we retrieved Mom and headed to the second floor. As I had promised Monkey that we would have coffee/hot chocolate/tea at the hotel before we left I thought what better time than now.

The hot chocolate and coffee were good, but the mini cakes were even better! Mom had a slice of apple pie, Monkey had a mini strawberry cake, and I had a chocolate owl. All very delicious! We sat there weighed down with the days food barely able to move. Finally we unglued ourselves from the seats and made our way back to the hotel room to pass out~

 

Japan Day 11

I blame the fact that I’m so behind on my blogs on sheer exhaustion. It’s also because we have been going non-stop since the moment we got here. I can’t complain, however, this has been the best vacation that I’ve ever been on. To date, we have had the best experiences ever.

Ok…enough blathering about the trip in general….onto Day 11!

NEW YEAR’S EVE!!

We all woke up early and excited to see what the day would bring. Of course we had no set plans so after we were all showered and dressed we headed out the door.

Our first stop was Starbucks inside of Tobu. While we were sitting there enjoying our drinks an d quiche (because Jess made me super hungry for it) we all started talking about our next trip. So, over that wonderful cup of coffee with milk (me), chocolate brownie latte (Monkey), and Matcha frappacino (Mom), we decided the dates for our next visit here! I’m so excited that we’ll be back here from April 25, 2014 – May 9, 2014 🐱

Finally we were done with our breakfast….and the espresso had kicked in for Monkey, we were on our way to Animate.Monkey wanted to go back to there and see if she could find a few things that she had missed during our first visit.

The walk to the east side of Ikebukuro wasn’t nearly as busy as the first two times…probably because it was New Year’s Eve and most businesses were closed or had shortened hours. I can honestly say that the crowds haven’t really bothered us yet. The only time Mom had problems was in Harajuku…and that’s because she was so cold that she couldn’t get comfortable outside. I also felt bad that she couldn’t go into most of the stores because there were steps going into 95% of the establishments or the ‘aisles’ were microscopic thin.

Monkey did not find the little items that she had wanted to pick up. Rather she found the Project Diva game for (my) PSP and, what we soon found out, was the box set for Du Rarara, an anime series. Needless to say, she now has her birthday and xmas gifts for the next couple of years.

Once my wallet was done shopping at Animate, we decided to take a nice leisurely stroll. Eventually we found our way back to Seibu where I noticed a sign for Tower Records! I was over-joyed and now on a mission. There were some things that I wanted to find and thought that out of everywhere in Japan, Tower Records would have these items. After getting lost in a completely different shopping store complex and being steered in the right direction by a very kind man, we found the Parco Building (where Tower Records is located.) Up to the 5th and 6th floors we went!

Well, I couldn’t find what I wanted, so I decided to ask this very nice looking young guy behind the counter…who didn’t speak a word of English. After about a 15 minute long ‘conversation’ (Thank you Matt for the English – Japanese dictionary!!) we both came to the conclusion that I wasn’t going to find anything that I wanted there. They had one Malice Mizer cd….that I already had. Being in the Mother Country, I thought that I would have problems finding something to do with Mana (aside from the Gothic and Lolita Bibles.) No dice. Ah well….maybe next year I’ll have better luck.

We were all tired, so we decided to get over to Tobu to buy a few special food stuffs for our NYE dinner feast. The hotel also had a special Soba dish that we planned on also getting. I had wanted to try these special black soy beans that are eaten for NYE as well as sushi and some chicken and veggy tempura balls. The beans tasted exactly like corn pops! I love them!!! I love them so much I don’t know what I’ll do without them! It’s sad really….but I’ll live if I can’t find them anymore. But, I digress…

One of my Mom’s goals while we are here, is to see Mount Fuji. We did catch a glimpse of Fuji-san on our way to the Studio Ghibli Museum….but that doesn’t really count. Well, our hotel has 25 floors and I was sure that we’d be able to see the splendor of this dormant volcano. After putting our food away, off we went to the elevators….excited to see Fuji-san. I didn’t want to go into the restaurant or bar so we headed down the hallway where the ballrooms are located…all of which were locked. Sad that we couldn’t see the mountain, we headed into the bathroom just to see how spectacular it was. HOLYMOTHEROFALLGODS! Windows….an entire wall of windows greeted me as I turned the corner. Windows overlooking the west side of Ikebukuro…and there in the south west corner….in all of her splendor and beauty…was Fuji-san…with the sun setting behind her! Granted there was a cloud hanging over her top, but still! What a fantastic gift to receive on this last day of 2012.

Once the sun had finally set we were all on our way back to our room. Before, during, and after our dinner we watched this tv show that highlighted some of the current rising stars of Japanese music. I took pictures of each performer with the exception of the first two or three acts…so of course I totally missed Golden Bomber…fail. The show ended at 11:45pm with all the performers singing Auld Lange Syne in Japanese. For the last 15 minutes of 2012 we watched assorted temple bells being rung, other celebrations, and then at the stroke of midnight….fireworks were set off. One set was from the roof of Sunshine City 60 with a clear view from our hotel room. The other set of fireworks was too far for us to see clearly, but we still had a great show.

Exhasuted we finally passed out.

Japan Day 10

It was over-cast today. The weather report promised periods of rain. In actuality, it was more one long steady drizzle. This, however, did not keep us indoors for we had sights to see! Today it was back to Harajuku…but not to shop. Instead, we headed to the other side of the train station…towards the Meji Shrine.

The walk seemed endless as we tried, mostly, in vain to keep Mom under one of the umbrellas. I payed the small fee for us to walk through the Gardens which, even in the rain were amazing. I think the rain made it more magical too. We meandered along the path that led to, among many other magical places, Kiyomasa’s well. The well was amazing. A small bubbling area at the end of a little stream guarded by a kind and gentle man that feeds birds out of the palm of his hand. We could go onto carefully placed stepping stones in the stream to soak in the energy and take pictures looking into the stream for good luck. Monkey was apprehensive of standing on the stones so I went down to experience all that awesomeness.

Since there were more people waiting to experience the well, we went for food…also because we were all getting a little crabby. The food was amazing and so cheap! I had beef curry, Mom had soba, and Monkey had tempura udon. We all had melon soda…the best soda on the face of the planet!

Then…we made the pilgrimage to the Main Shrine.

Awe. Pure unfiltered awe.

Peace. Love. Bliss. Serenity. All these things can be felt entering through the Torii of Meiji. We each wrote a prayer and offered a few coins. We humbly went up to the Main Shrine and prayed. We bought a few amulets for 2013. And, then we made our way back. We stopped at the gift shop and picked up a few items before heading back to the train station.

Exhausted and wet from our day’s adventures, we made our way back to the hotel. Upon entering our room, we were greeted with another gift from the hotel…three bottles of water and three mini cakes – which we decided to save for NYE! I love this hotel!!

I was sent out again to retrieve food from Tobu and Lawsons. The regular foods were bought again. I was tempted to buy more as I wasn’t sure if the stores were going to be open tomorrow – New Year’s Eve – but I threw caution to the wind and bought only enough for the night and tomorrow morning’s breakfast.

We ate, played some Scrabble, and then passed out 🐱

 

Japan Day 9

Today was another very low key day. Mom was tired and just wanted to hang around the hotel so Monkey and I ventured back to her favorite area – Harajuku.

I had given her the promise of crepes so as soon as we left the train station the first stop was at a crepe shop. With the exception of the fried soup balls, I have yet to be disappointed by the food here. Monkey had strawberry, chocolate, and whipped cream wrapped up nice and neat in a golden crepe, while I had warmed apples and cream cheese nestled in toasted crepe…YUM!!!!

We savored our morning treats as long as we could but it’s hard to eat and walk through a bustling street the size of an alley. Once the crepes were resting firmly in our bellies and our hands were free we browsed our way through Takshita Dori until we came to the street leading to the temple. We had been there once, but I didn’t take many pictures. Feeling a bit ballsier, I opted to try again.

The foot traffic cleared as soon as we came to the walk way. The area quieted down considerably and a peaceful bliss gently engulfs you as you enter the sacred grounds. Monkey and I poked around a bit more than before and I captured the moments with some pictures. I did however, respect the temple area and if there was a roof over my head or if I was close to the temple itself, I did not take any pictures. The pictures in mind far surpass any pictures taken by camera.

Eventually we had to leave the sacred grounds and ventured back into the throngs of people. Monkey wanted to nose around some of the shops that we didn’t see during the first visit. There are so many wonderful, interesting, head-tilting, and down right bizarre items/shops down Harajuku Dori and Takshita Dori.

We walked until we thought we wouldn’t be able to take another step, but then something would catch our eyes that we JUST had to see. Monkey had wanted another dress from Body Line, so we went there. The prices can’t be beat so she got another outfit that can be worn as one or two dresses.

My goal was to get into the ‘fancy’ shop. Words can not do this store justice. Flashy cabaret or showgirl outfits mesmerize the curious shopper while a jovial employee beckons you through the front door. A cacophony of colors blind you while leather, pleather, and vinyl tempt you. Sequins kimonos, mirror ball cat suits, feathers, platform heels, pictures of the latest Japanese heart-throbs bedecked in the latest shiny shirts are compete for your gaze. Honestly, there is so much to see jammed into two small rooms with labyrinth aisles. I could go back there every day and see something new. I did however, buy a gorgeous black dress for Anna’s wedding ^-^

Once our curiosity was satisfied, at least for the moment, Monkey and I decided it was time to go home to the hotel. She desperately wanted to show off her new outfit to her Mamo and I wanted to show off my new dress.

Finally we were off the train and back in the Ikebukuro train station. For some reason Monkey and I took a wrong turn and ended up on the other side of Tobu. This gave us a chance to explore the other food stuffs that are sold here. However, we both a bit tired and anxious to show off our new outfits so we headed back to the hotel.

Mom really liked both outfits and was glad that we had the chance to get them. She was a bit antsy though, so we all headed back. We walked a little around Tobu checking out the extremely high end merchandise some from designers I had never even heard of…but should.

Satisfied with our walk, Mom and Monkey went back to the hotel leaving me to do our evening meal shopping. Were as this could have proved to be dangerous – I like to experience new food items – I did not buy anything that was too outrageous. The fare was typical…fried rice, chicken and veggy tempura, sushi, and egg rolls.

Dinner eaten, room cleaned up, jammies on and make up off….I passed out!

Good job Japan!!

We hung out at the hotel for a bit before deciding that we needed to walk some more.