Sunday, 3 October 2010

Tokyo Adventures

Ever wanted to know what your dog is saying to you? Well, now you can - as long as you can speak Japanese, instead!

This is just one of many interesting things that I found in Tokyo last weekend. Given Thursday or Friday off, I had a four day weekend in which to go and play.

The first thing I did was to attend Caroline Pover's book launch for Ask Caroline - a bilingual book in which she answers 10 of the questions that Japanese women most want to ask Western ones. It's a nice, entertaining book, which answers questions from "Do Western women want to try wearing a kimono?" to "Why do Western women want to be sexy, while Japanese women want to be cute?". The book launch was free for everyone with a copy of the book, and contained fun things like a free yoga lesson, free hair styling and art classes, sex toys and a raffle! It was great.

The next day I went to lunch with some of the Being a Broad ladies, followed by a careers seminar in the evening about Coaching. I met some amazing, fascinating women, many of whom have set up their own businesses in Tokyo. If you're interested, Being a Broad is a community for foreign women living in Japan - if you are one, it's worth joining! It was inspiring to see some of the many options available for foreign woman in Japan besides teaching English. Many of these women don't even speak much Japanese, but they're still working as entrepreneurs. Hmmm, maybe Hamamatsu isn't the best place to realise my dreams!

So, here are some photos. I decided that I had to visit Tokyo Tower, seeing as it was my fourth time in Tokyo, technically. I imagine that it's much more magical at night, as Tokyo is quite gray in the daytime.

As always, I found some gems in the random shops I visited:

Super creepy money boxes...

Spartan Barbie?

Coma incense, anyone?

Sex toys... worryingly close to the Pikachu masks and other cute characters... erm, welcome to Japan!

So, Saturday morning, Saba and I found a....

Cat Café!

So, what is a cat cafe? Well, in Tokyo, people don't have the living space for pets. So, some genius decided to open a café where people go and pay to hang out with cats. This particular one, in Akihabara, was 500 yen for 30 minutes of cat-petting, although you had to buy a coffee too.

This cat was possibly one of the biggest cats I've ever seen... more like a lynx, or something!

If you want to find this cafe, walk down the main street of Akihabara (where all the shops are centred), on the left side of the street, away from the station. When you reach Mos Burger, turn left. Walk down the street until you reach the next main street (with cars) and turn left again. You'll see Neko Jalala on your left, look for a window with pictures of cats! Here's a map link, and here's the official website!

Alice in Wonderland Restaurant
On Saturday evening, we went to the Alice in Wonderland restaurant in Shinjuku. I reserved beforehand, as I'd heard that it was hard to get in without a reservation.

Waitresses are dressed as Alice, and all the food comes beautifully presented.

The menu was a book of stories, with pop-up illustrations!

It was pretty expensive, though. We shared a few side plates and starters, a main course and had a dessert each. With two drinks, the total was 4200 yen each... eeek!!!! However, if you want to splash out on an interesting dining experience, it might be with it. Perhaps the original Alice restaurant in Ginza is more impressive... still, if you want to go here, here's the website.

Other than that, we visited Sinsoji temple in Asakusa:

We also went on a boat cruise, which would have been more relaxing without the constant announcements about menus, rules etc over the speakers...

Pretty city views, though!

Pokémon centre! This took a while to find, so I'm going to tell you how to get there. You take the train to Hamamatsucho. Take the main exit out, cross the road and you should see it there, but it's hard to see. It's under Berlitz and above a combini (I think it's Family Mart)! Here's a map.

I also went to Harajuku, in order to find the mythical Harajuku girls. Last time I went, I failed to see ANY crazily-dressed gothic lolitas or cutesty baby costumes, but this time I managed to snap a few!

Yep, you can definitely spend a good while here. I stood on a balcony outside a very cheap shop (well, 2000 yen for one of these dresses, which is about £16) and took photos of everyone who walked by in an interesting costume. Of course, if you're there, you have to try the crepes too. I had a chicken and cucumber one for my lunch, before sharing an ice cream and caramel one with Saba! Sitting on a pavement down a sideroad... I felt like a teenager again.

So, that's all for my second real Tokyo adventure! Oh, and one more thing.... remember not to clash with other people:


  1. This was really interesting! I definitely need to hit up a cat cafe the next time I go to Tokyo. Thanks for providing the maps and directions for everything.

  2. You're welcome! I found it hard to find directions to these places, so I thought I'd make it easier for other people! :)

  3. I borrowed some of your images for my blog. Thanks