15 June 2012

Japan Day 6: Leaving Dizunee Randuruu, Akihabara & Harajuku

Today was our last day at the Disney Ambassador Hotel. Even withe the blackout kaataans closed, we were up at 4:30 again.  We took our time waking up, posted on the blog and uploaded our photos.  Then, we had the task of packing.  We have about a quarter of a suitcase full of toiletries from the hotel and the two popucorn bucketos.

Amazingly, everything fit in easily and we didn't really have to expand the suitcase, though we did anyway.  By 11:30, we were checked out (we stopped at the desk to tell them and the girl did something on the computer before saying, "ok, baiiii!").

A porter walked us to Ikspiari after we told him we'd be taking the subway with all our junk.  We added more money to our train cards; more to break our giant ¥10,000 bills than because we needed to, and got on the train.  A few stops later, we changed trains at Tokyo Eki (Tokyo Station).  Having heard this might be arduous, we were expecting multiple long tunnels, but were pleased to find the experience very do-able (especially with our fantastic spinner suitcases!).

Our stop was Akasaka-mitsuke on the Marounochi line.  It was easy enough to get there, but what about the four exits from the station once we arrived?  We'd read that the hotel is visible, right across the street from the proper station exit, so we picked one and went for it.  The gods had listened to us and our first choice was the right one!  In addition, the person who checked us in spoke English and told us how to get wifi in our room as well!  Even though check-in is not until 3:00pm, and it was just past noon, he gave us our keys and off we went to our room!   More luck from the goddesses!

We found our room clean, but significantly smaller than the Ambassador.  About half the size in every respect, except the queen bed, we can see why Americans visiting Tokyo proper take issue with the rooms.  Where we had three separate bath rooms at the Ambassador, here we have a smaller than American average single bathroom.  Still has a washlet toilet though!  Later, we discovered the shower does not have the awesome super water pressure as the Ambassador, but the mirror has a magical spot that stays un-foggy after you shower!

Once we found places for our luggages and such (I was glad to have packed in such a way that one suitcase will only need to be opened to add omiyage (souvenirs)), we set out in search of some lunch.  The bottom of the hotel has a little 7-11, which is quite convenient.  Different from the ones in the States, there are no Slurpee or other giant drink dispensing machines.  Instead it is more like a little convenience store only, though they do have some hot food options; a variety of bao, meats on sticks, and plain breads.  We selected two onigiri, hoping T's didn't have salmon, along with a little cup of red bean paste with 5 little mochi balls on top.  Oishii ratings: !!! for all three.

On the to do list today was really just Akihabara and maybe Roponggi if there was time.  We took the metro to Akihabara, which is actually back in the direction of Ueno, where we were yesterday.

Once in Akihabara, we were amazed by all the intense anime stuff along with the many multilevel electronics stores.  We ventured into a few but soon decided we could not adequately appreciate this area due to our lack of knowledge about anything anime.

It was only about 3:00pm, so instead of visiting Roponggi, we decided to check out Harajuku.  Home to one of the largest Daiso ¥100 shops, we figured that would be a good stop at least.  Finding ourselves on Takeshita Street was fantastic after the semi-disappointment of Akihabara.  Full of shops for all kinds of cuteness and ghetto fab garb, we found lots of interesting places to stop in and have a look.  I found an underwear store, called Tutuanna, with 3 for ¥1050 leggings/tights and socks where I bought more leggings for wearing under shorts and a crazy cute pair of toe socks where each toe becomes an animal.

Turning down a little side street, lured by a weird food stand selling some kind of filled balls (T wanted to try, but I thought they looked too weird), we found more ultra cute stores.  We visited one called Fancy Pocket where they sold an incredible variety of mobile device decorations which you glue onto your device/hair pins/nails/whatever.  A news crew was there filming a segment on the store and asked to interview us/me.  The Japanese reporter lady asked me questions in a British accent and translated for the male shop owner.  They explained that here in Japan, the shop is extremely popular amongst the teenage girl crowd.  I told her I thought the stores would do well in the US also.

Tiny stickers and other cute little things in hand, we headed back to the main drag.  We'd seen people walking around with enormous and delicious looking crepes and finally found the source: a bright pink stand with a huge variety of crepe offerings displayed as fake food and photos.  There were two seemingly identical stands, but one had a line that was about 10 people deep.  Not seeing any obvious differences, we walked up to the line-free stand and picked a chicken Cobb salad crepe.  Good enough for us!  Oishii rating: !!!!  (Sorry, nommed too fast and forgot to photo.)

Re-fueled, we reached the end of the street and found ourselves on a more urban looking one which was wide enough for a few lanes of cars in each direction.  Walking in what we assumed to be the general direction of the Metro stop, we spotted an awesome looking, many leveled department store.

Inside, it was like a super high end, everyday costume wear heaven.  Little clothing shops are set up like the cosmetics departments of American department stores.  Each one has it's own little area, but no real walls to divide them.  We perished the many floors and stopped at a Havaianas cafe for a marshmallow/cake/banana/kiwi kebab that was drizzled with caramel and chocolate, sprinkled with nuts and served in a cup of whipped cream.  Oishii rating: !!

After seeing everything, including the again immaculate and high tech bathroom, we decided to call it a day.  We headed back to our new hoteru and were engrossed in our photos so we missed our change-point stop.  Not phased, we got off and switched trains and made our way back with no further issue.

Bed time: 8:30...

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