Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Last EPIC Journey Pt 3: Edo Museum, Sensoji & Abercrombie Flagship Store

The Last EPIC Journey Pt 3: Edo Museum, Sensoji & Abercrombie Flagship Store

Sat Feb 6/10

Edo Museum
I had told Chris to let me know if there was something specific she wanted to see and she mentioned going to the Edo Museum. In planning some of the things we would be doing I noticed four of them were clustered in the east end - Edo Museum, National Museum, Akihabara and Asakusa. We are in the west end of Tokyo. Well we got Akihabara out of the way yesterday, so we decided to try to see the rest.

We arrived at the museum at close to 10am. Our initial plan was to go through on our own, but I noticed there were volunteer English guides at 10am and suggested to Chris that we get one. Sayoko was very nice and was quite impressed with our knowledge of Japan and our great interest in her culture. We learned quite a bit about Edo and took pictures mostly without flash. The kabuki theatre was quite impressive. When our tour ended, we thanked Sayoko and gave her a small thank you gift. We exchanged business cards and she welcomed us to visit her home when we came to visit again. After this museum visit, Chris regained her great interest in studying Japanese and says she hopes to come back on foreign exchange if possible.

Nabe and Tompeiyaki
By the end of the tour, we were sooooo hungry! We ended up at a restaurant and ordered the same thing as the table beside us. They were eating nabe. It came in a small pot, similar to hot pot. Our stuff was pre-cooked so we just needed it to boil before we ate. We had one of my favourite dishes as well, which is tompeiyaki (omelette like dish filled with bacon, cheese and some other fillings). It was extremely good. I managed to order us water and tea, but they only gave us one glass of each. I ordered again and they brought two more glasses of water hahaha...oh well, I tried! The food was delicious and we got some great pictures of the dishes. Yes, everyone knows I love taking pictures of food!

Sensoji Temple in Asakusa
I was excited to take Chris to one of my favourite places in Tokyo. We walked around Asakusa and shopped in a few places there. Chris took photos as we walked. We headed to Sensoji Temple where we made offerings. We wafted incense on ourselves for good health, she drank from the fountain and did her fortune. She got the best fortune YAY! I got a fortune which was supposed to be a medium luck type fortune, but it sounded more like a bad fortune...the call will not come, etc...sounds I tied it up like everyone else who didn't get a favourable fortune in hopes that the fortune will improve. We also bought some temple fortunes.

Manju & sweet sake
I had Chris try manju which is deep fried and filled with redbeans or different fillings. She got pumpkin and I got sweet potato. I also had ume ice cream from my favourite ice cream place near the temple. I can't remember the name offhand, but I took a photo of the front of the store. They have 30 different flavours. We also drank sweet sake and had these glutinous rice balls on a stick covered in brown powder. It was so good! There was a rule, however, that if customers bought the sake they had to finish it beside the store. Makes one wants a lot of people walking around with hot sake...

Rice Crackers & other purchases
I'll confess to you know that I went kinda nuts with rice crackers. I've never really cared for buying rice crackers, but I tell you, the rice crackers here are amazing! So I bought a lot of them! I can't even guarantee they'll make it home! I bought original with nuts, chocolate with nuts, ginger, soya sauce and assorted. I also bought sweets and some other things. I bought a kendama (Japanese toy) for my cousin and a dharma doll (it's a doll that consists of a head with no eyes - the eyes are drawn in once a goal is made and accomplished).

Washi/Chiyogami Paper!!
WOOHOOO! We found a paper store beside the Ghibli store in Asakusa. Chris is a saint for waiting for me as I rummaged through the paper drawers like it was boxing day. I bought a lot of paper! I knew that if I came here and found the stores, I would buy a lot, thus I brought a poster roll. I just didn't expect to find it today, but it was fine because the nice lady that helped me rolled and wrapped them very nicely. She also cut the large sheet I bought into manageable pieces. I looooove the paper I bought!

Asakusa Tourism Office
We dropped by the Asakusa Tourism Office to inquire about the tickets to Nikko and Kinugawa Onsen. We are planning to go there Tuesday and stay overnight. The ladies were very helpful and also gave us info on the Winter Campaign for tourists. We knew about this campaign but it is difficult to figure out, as there is no print-out of what businesses are participating, etc. We gave the Laura Secord lollipops to thank them for their help and also some to the other staff members. The head of the office gave us a gift back in thanks. We got some free postcards :) They were really nice and helpful.

Ginza, More Paper and Abercrombie
We called Mellers and she asked us to meet her at her store. We used our 2 day metropass as we wouldn't be able to refund those ones anyway. As we exited Ginza station we walked by another paper place. I only bought three sheets. I wanted to buy more, but that would mean I would have to buy a whole roll of would be hard to transport it. I still might, depending how much money I have. With the not so stellar exchange rate and buying the camera and film, my budget is smaller than I would have liked. Oh well!

We finally went to Abercrombie and I'm telling you right now people, that the place is CRAZY! 11 floors of shopping and only two floors with cash registers. Line ups of several floors, attractive guys greeting at the entrance/exit, topless models posing for polaroids with customers, attractive guys manning the elevators, etc. It was a madhouse! Chris and I ended up on the 7th floor and walked back down asking people where we could find Melody. It was a mission I tell you. We ended up leaving and calling her from a public phone. We walked around for a while and when we were coming back, we thought we heard her yell my name but couldn't spot her. We finally found each other. She changed, met us again and then forced us back inside. She really really wanted us to take a photo with the shirtless model. Chris and I felt awkward, but we did it anyway. You gotta see those pics hahaha. The interior wall mural is apparently the largest mural in the world (i'm not sure if they mean in a store, or in general), every floor is filled with young, attractive staff - some of whom are dancing around. The prices are expensive, but then again it's the first asian flagship store for Abercrombie.

One of the BEST salads EVER!
Mellers took us for dinner at a restaurant, but I can't remember the name. We ordered a number of things, including tompeiyaki again, glazed fried wings, rice dish similar to bi bim bap and one of the BEST salads EVER! Since it was named after the restaurant, we figured it must be SUPERAWESOME and it was. It had lettuce, crispy strips of wonton wrappers (?) and seafood filling.

UNIQLO and Kinugawa Onsen planning
After eating, we went to UNIQLO. We shopped around and they opened another section of their change rooms so we could all be beside each other. We all bought stuff. We could have shoppped more, but the store was closed. I had to give up some of the things I wanted. I hate it when I can't just recklessly spend my money hahahaa. We paid for our stuff and left. We talked to Mellers about Kinugawa onsen and she said she would come! YAY! I was going to make the reservations myself through an English site, but they required 5 days notice prior, so I asked Mellers to make the booking on the Japanese home site. Because she's superawesome, she worked out a nice plan :) We will be staying in a Japanese style room on the top floor and we also have 1 hour access to the hot stone spa. I'm excited for Tuesday!!

Are you guys getting through these?! Hahaha I know they are long! Is it really windy at home?

-Sam ^___^

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