Saturday, December 5, 2009

Japan Day 1

Konnichiwa minna-san! Hikari*san is back erm, for a week now!! And her blog is finally alive erm after a week now!!

I can't wait to tell you all about this whole trip I planned on my own along with the broken Japanese, getting lost and wearing shorts in winter.

The very first day, after spending more than 30 minutes looking for our hotel in Akasaka and sleeping only by 12+ a.m., we left at 5.30 a.m. to Tsukiji Fist Market. We were hoping to catch the Tuna Auction which lasts from 5.30-6.30 a.m. According to what we heard, it is a must-watch.

Metre-long/ 300kgs-tunas are displayed and examined by restaurant owners, wholesalers and retailers before bidding commences. Sadly. We missed it. We all reached there by 6.30 a.m., I swear. And after asking someone, we realised that the auction had already ended :-(

Luckily, some of the tunas were not filleted yet hence we managed to get a few pictures of the giant delicious-es!

The Tsukiji market is a wet market with almost 400 kinds of seafood. From sea urchins to octopuses and seaweed to pufferfish (which we ate on our last day!). But a case of too early, too disappointing became a morning of too hungry.

So we headed out to Daiwa Sushi which is popularised to be the best and freshest sushi place in Japan (?). But it had a long line of people waiting and the shop was really small. We remembered someone in the market mentioning that there is a better sushi place called Okame located right next to Daiwa. So we all decided to charge in.

We ordered the sushi course (4000 yen) and shared between the two of us. I must say that was the best sushi I have ever eaten. The sashimi were really really fresh - there was some kind of sweetness and chewiness to them. The sushi rice was fantastic - sour-ish, sweet-ish. Pure yumness.

With a full tummy, we went to the nearby Honganji temple which means 'long-cherished wish'.

All four of us went into the temple, threw in a coin and made our 'long-cherished wish'.

Nearby the market, there are a number of small shops selling traditional looking ceramic bowls, Japanese chopsticks, colourful sweets and Doraemon's favourite snack, Dorayaki! Look at the beautiful Japanese sweets! They have different designs for each season *swoooon*
We then headed to Shiodome for the Hamarikyu Garden. This is a public park surrounded by the tall buildings of Tokyo. The weather was extremely good on that day, a very good day for a walk around the garden in the middle of the city.
But before that, we had to take a picture with this Ramen vending machine (we tried using it a few days later!).

Oh and before that we had to go to ANA Intercontinental Hotel in Akasaka to collect my camera. Why, you ask?
Well, I left my camera in the bus I travelled from the airport in. Har har. So I called them bus company. They said they will help me find it and asked me to call back in 30 minutes. I called back at 11.40 p.m. The manager said . . . . . ,"White Sony? Found, yes". So they asked me to go collect it on the following day :-D
But my camera was the biggest case of bad-luck throughout the trip. I'll leave the juiciest part to the last.

In the hotel we saw the first hi-tech toilet of the trip (definitely a highlight for John and Ray). In fact, the GUYS came out of the toilet 10 minutes later than us complete with high-pitched laughs and gleams in their eyes.
Okay, finally about Hama Rikyu Garden. Photos do the talking.
It was the first awakening to us that we were indeed in Japan. But time for food again. For lunch, we went to Carne Station mm-mm for an all-you-can-eat lunch course! Shisamo-freaks, Jess and John had close to 15 and carnivorous Ray had almost 5 kgs of meat. I just sipped miso soup (to maintain my fitness).
After that, we went to Ginza ooh-la-la. Saw the famous Ginza Wako (Ginza clocktower) as soon as we stepped out of the subway station, immediately I thought, "Shopping!!!!" Saw the price tags, immediately I thought, "......!!!"
Louis Vuitton. Burberry. Chanel. Gucci. Prada. *Exhale*
Amazing buildings. Amazingly stylish people. Amazingly sky high prices.
All the shops had such amazing displays. The fake food make you want to buy them all. The clothes make you want to buy them all. The hillarious toys make you want to buy them all. Sigh.
I don't know what these rolls are but a lot of people were lining up for this and I sure want to buy them all (and eat them all).
After a few hours of strolling around, we headed to Tokyo Tower. Behold.
Finally for the night, we went to Tsukishima for monjayaki! Monjayaki is similar to okonomiyaki but it is more watery and its ingredients more finely chopped. Tsukishima is like the central of monjayaki. You see almost 4-5 monjayaki restaurants on every block of shops.
The restaurant we went to have this really cute waitress, by the way. She showed us how to make it the first time. It seemed really easy. Then it was our turn.

This was our end result. Erm, a bit bigger, spread out, uncontrolable but still as delicious as ever.

Here's the proof! The whole heat pan licked clean (was it not hot!). It is really fun to eat. You use this little metallic spoon thing to scrap from the pan and you can add all sorts of sauce - seaweed, chilli flakes, soy sauce, etc.

Hence ended out first night in Tokyo.

For the record, we were out from 5.30 a.m. and reached out hotel room by 11.00 p.m.

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