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.