11/14/2010 (Sun) -> Lunch with my friends in Ikebukuro -> Shopping! -> Dinner with my friends and brother in Nerima
This was our last day in Japan! We couldn’t believe it but we still had a lot to do!
We went out in the morning and bought some more instant ramen at a convenience store for souvenirs and a couple of boxes of caramel candy.
After we had some breakfast, I called the luggage delivery service Skyporter and made arrangements for them to pick our luggage up and have them deliver it to the airport. I packed most of our stuff and asked my brother (who was staying home that day) to give the luggage to them when they came. Then we went out to have lunch with my friends.
One of my friends is actually a CEO of a company which my old company worked with. He, his employees and I all share a love for Gundam, so we remained friends after I left the company. Yes, you can become a buddy with a CEO, that’s the power of Gun-ota. (Gundam Otaku)
If you live in NYC, you might have heard of Joe’s Shanghai restaurant. They have a restaurant in Chinatown, Midtown and Flushing, Queens. They are very popular for their juicy xian long pao (dumpling). I’m embarrassed to admit but I’ve never been to the one in NYC, but when I heard the name, I thought it’d be like the one in Chinatown.
Joe’s Shanghai New York (Chinese food) in Sunshine 60: Ikebukuro
When we got there, we were surprised at how fancy it was. The restaurant was located on the top of the Sunshine 60 Building, so you can see an amazing view of Tokyo from there. Click on the name below to see the photos of each location on their website. It’s so different it’s hilarious.
Feeling a bit under-dressed, we walked in. He was waiting for us with two of his employees whom I also used to work with, and his wife and his adorable daughter. Each of us ordered a course, and we talked about where we went and how his business (he owns an online game company) is going. The food was DELICIOUS! Each dish was carefully prepared, and the portions were just right. I love eating a little bit of many different foods. It makes my taste buds very excited.
It was their treat, so we didn’t have to pay for it. But when I was checking the website for Joe’s Shanghai, I checked the menu (I know it’s kinda rude but I had to for my blog! >_<) but found out that their lunch is very reasonably priced. Especially considering how fancy the place was and how good the food was. They have three lunch courses, 1575 yen, 2625 yen, and 3675 yen.Â They all come with anÂ appetizer or salad, rice or noodle, two kinds of xiao long pao, an entree, dessert and unlimited jasmine tea. Their dinner courses range from 5250 yen ~Â 13650 yen, so it’s not as cheap but the food for the dinner courses include shark fin, Peking duck, sirloin steak, oyster, etc… so you won’t regret it. Besides, the view from there must be amazing at night.
After the lunch, we said good bye to them and headed down to a store called Donguri Kyowakoku (Acorn Republic) in the basement of the building Sunshine City which was next to Sunshine 60.
Donguri Kyowakoku is one of the official Ghibli stores in Tokyo. (There are more all over in Japan.) You can find Ghibli stuff in many other stores, but Donguri Kyowakoku is the only store approved by Studio Ghibli as the official store besides the one in the museum. So they have more stuff than the other places that sell Ghibli products. We browsed around, as we put a bunch of stuff in a basket, we saw “them” again.
If you’ve been to the Ghibli museum, you’ve seen the zoetrope of Totoro jumping, Mei, Satsuki and Chu-Totoro playing with a jump rope, and Chibi-Totoros running around. Studio Ghibli made a series of figures that are similar to the ones in the exhibit. One of the series is a set of 16 figures of Totoro, roaring, and other series is 18 figures of Totoro using his umbrella to make plants grow. Each figure is sold individually. Derek isn’t used to spending a lot of money on toys (unlike me ) but this was the last day to shop in Japan for us, and it was Totoro! Besides we were less likely to collect them all in the U.S. so we decided to get all 16 pieces of Totoro roaring, 1050 yen each.
We told the staff what we wanted but a problem arose. They were missing 4 figures out of 16 figures. D: It was still better than nothing, so we paid for our items including the 12 figures anyway.
Then my toy collector instinct kicked in. I knew there were more Donguri Kyowakoku in Tokyo, so I asked the staff for the other locations. They were kind enough to give us a list with the phone number and address of the other Donguri Kyowakoku in Tokyo. After we got out of the store, we checked our receipts and got the phone number of Kotobukiya and Kiddyland and called them to see if they have the missing figures. Kotobukiya only had the ones we already bought, and Kiddyland had 3 out of 4 pieces we were missing, so I asked them put them on hold. (which they gladly did.)
Then I called other locations of Donguri Kyowakoku. Two of the stores only had the ones we bought. Sighs. Then I called the one in Kamata and after a couple of minutes of holding, they told me they had all 4 figures we were missing!!!! I had no idea where “Kamata” was but I knew it was in Tokyo and we were determined to get them. I told them where we were asked them how to get there. The lady on the phone said with an apologetic voice that it’d take us at least an hour to get there. She felt bad that we were so far away… So she sounded surprised when I said “We’ll be there!” She even thanked me very politely for doing business with them on the phone.
Donguri Kyowakoku was at the building right at Kamata station so it was very convenient. We got out of the station, went up and picked up the missing four figures and some more stuff.
Our quest of Totoro figures ended happily. We were just so glad to get all 16 pieces.
To show how awesome 16 pieces of Totoro figure together, Derek made a video of it!
TIPS & NOTES: Donguri Kyowakoku
I will post a list of Donguri Kyowakoku after I finish my Japan trip blog along with other info, so don’t worry!
After that, we headed to Nakamurabashi station, which is one stop from Nerima station to meet with my brother and his friends.
Shinbashi Yakiton (yakitori place) in Nerima
We ate: a LOT of food
We drank: a LOT of drinks
After we ate a LOT and drank a LOT, we decided to move to the second izakaya. Japanese people love to do izakaya hopping (we call it “hashigo”, which means “ladder”) rather than bar hopping. I think many Japanese people, including me, prefer eating, drinking and talking with friends. In most American bars, you can only do one – drink. Or maybe yell at someone’s ears to talk. Nowadays the nights out with our friends usually starts at a karaoke booth and ends in a diner, or at a friends’ house to eat, drink, talk and play video games. Maybe we’re just getting old.
Anyway, where did we go after Yakiton? Thai izakaya Hyoutan, of course!
Thai izakaya Hyoutan
We ate: a LOT of food!
We drank: a LOT of drink!
We visited Hyoutan on the very first day we arrived in Japan, the day we got engaged, and this was the third time.Â I think its homey atmosphere and home cooked dishes just keep bringing us back to the place.
Hoppy is a beer flavored non-alcoholic (0.8%) beverage that became very popular in Japan back in 1940′s. When you order Hoppy, it comes with a glass of shochu on the side. The bottle of Hoppy is called “Soto” (outside), and shochu is called “Naka” (inside), and you mix it (1 part shochu, 5 parts Hoppy) when you drink. It’s considered a healthy way to drink shochu, but I prefer my shochu on the rocks or straight.
We ate and drank a LOT again here. We promised that we’ll be back there again when we go to Japan next time.
And the last night in Japan has ended!
We got home, took our last hot bath and went to sleep. When we went going to sleep, we still couldn’t believe that we were really leaving the next day.
We have over 4000 photos from this trip and there’s no way I can post them all on my blog. So I’m uploading photos from our trip to flickr as I write a post for each day. If you’d like to check out random photos from Japan or us goofing around in Japan, check out my flickr collection by clicking the link below!
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