Japan 2010: Day 13

December 8, 2010

in Japan,Travel

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.

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Derek was fascinated by this ice cream packaging.

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Dude and tiny mayonnaise and bottle of sauce

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.

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I don't remember which line but they had one of those "fences" on the platform.

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

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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.

Joe’s Shanghai in Chinatown

Joe’s Shanghai in Japan

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. :D

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Appetizer: Chicken and pickles - The chicken was soooo soft and juicy!

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Appetizer: Chicken and pickles - The pickled radish was very soft (because of the way it was cut, probably) and a little sweet.

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Soup: Egg drop soup - Good consistency

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Xiao Long Pao: crab and pork - They looked bigger than the one they serve in NYC. It was sooo juicy that we had to put it in a tea cup to eat it.

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My main course: Ebi Chili (spicy shrimp) - Shrimp wasn't big but considering how much food we were getting, it was right portion. And it wasn't too spicy either.

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Derek's main course: Spare ribs with vegetables - It doesn't look much but a lot of meat on the plate!

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My rice: Chicken and egg sauce over rice - The egg sauce was seasoned perfectly!

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Derek's noodle: Spicy miso ramen - Nothing too special but decent

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My dessert: Annin tofu (almond pudding) - It was super rich and creamy.

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Derek's dessert: Mango pudding - We've never had such thick mango pudding before. It was delicious!

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.  They all come with an  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 ~  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.

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Sunshine City is a HUUUGE mall with a lot of stores and restaurants.

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.

Totoro figures! set of 16

Oh. My. God.

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 :P ) 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.

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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.)

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In front of Donguri Kyowakoku (You can see me making a phone call to other stores in the background. Check out how serious I look!)

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. :P

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.

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The monitor on the train shows you where the stairs, escalators and elevators are on the next stop.

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Komaneko themed vending machines! (Komaneko is a cute stop motion animation series of a cat. You can find bunch of videos of Komaneko on youtube!)

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House is also big in Japan (as Dr. House). It's funny that this poster is also an ad for an actual Medical Call Center.

Shinbashi Yakiton (yakitori place) in Nerima
We ate: a LOT of food
We drank: a LOT of drinks

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We forgot to take a photo of the place, so I found this one online.

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Assorted sashimi

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Shiny mackerel

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Assorted yakitori

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Kinpira gobo (burdock root, carrot and other veggie stir-fried and glazed with soy sauce, sake, and sugar)

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Satsuma Godai (sweet potato shochu)

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Head of tuna!

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My brother's friend was very good at taking the fish apart.

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Liver pate and toast (I don't who ordered it but it was delicious.)

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Ankimo (Monkfish liver) I LOOOOVE ankimo.

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Cucumber marinated with miso and sesameseed oil (I did not order this, and I did not eat this, of course.)

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Satsuma Shimabijin (sweet potato shochu)

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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. :P

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!

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And we were back here again.

We visited Hyoutan on the very first day we arrived in Japan, the day we got engaged, and this was the third time. I think its homey atmosphere and home cooked dishes just keep bringing us back to the place.

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Beerlau (Thai beer) and Hoppy

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. :P

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Rice crackers

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Fried skin of something. It thought it was squid or octopus but Derek doesn't think so... It was delicious nonetheless. If anyone knows what this is, please let me know!

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Juicy fried chicken

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We had such a great time there. The waitress there was crying when we left.

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.

Continued to Day 14…

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!

Japan 2010: the most awesome trip ever!

** The comments have been very buggy on wordpress, and sometimes it won’t let you leave a comment. If that happens, please email me at annathered[at]gmail.com! **

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

NongtipaNo Gravatar December 16, 2010 at 5:14 pm


Thank you thank you thank you for posting your Japan trip on your BLOG!

IT was WONDERFUL to be able to follow you on this ramen foodie, everything foodie, ghibli/gundam GAHHHH, Japanese culture explosion trip!

My good friend is currently in Japan on study abroad and this gives me another reason to want to go back to Japan!!

I’ve only visited once, for around 10 days, and I went to Tsujiki & studio Ghibli & Akihabara, but only for around 45 min each! D: (Alas, it was a school trip, and we were only in Tokyo for 4 days…)

I’ve only hiked up to Nikko or gone hiking in a winery in Oizumi ….
I want to go to Joumonsugi and Nara and Taiko Iwa now!

I Def. want to go back and eat yum yum ramen….and sashimi, the crepes, arrrr the baked goods! GAHH…and conbini onigiri!!!! nom.

In any case, I just wanted to mention that (JIC you did not know/realize) the Beerlao that you drank is actually Laotian beer and not Thai Beer…The words at the top of the label are actually Laotian, although Thai and Lao look incredibly similar….Some people get offended when you mistake the two but -_- its all in the past…sigh.


That aside, was it tasty? the beer? The only Thai Beers I know are Singha beer and Beer Chang (I hear good things about Singha Beer, but I think it also depends on what kinds of beer you like. e.g. dark, light, whatever)

Both my parents are from Thailand (and I LOVE going to Thailand as well !! :) if you guys like Thai food I would DEF recommend a trip to Thailand with Derek <3 the (Thai food there is INCOMPARABLY NOM)

That Thai Ikazaya food looks so tasty right now…gotta go try it as well!

In regards to that mystery food you were eating at the ikazaya….it looks a lot like…maybe some sort of crispy fried fish?

We like to eat fish whole, bones and everything, esp. if the bones are small enough…

you can make it fresh but heres what it also sometimes looks like


or it could very well just be fish skin?

Maybe? Maybe not?

INANYCASE! Thank you once again for sharing! I LOVE your blog for not only your recent posts but your amazing craftsmanship in kyaraben and nuigurumi!

Also need to try making those totoro cream puffs…..(:9)


AnnaTheRedNo Gravatar December 18, 2010 at 11:25 am

Thank you for leaving a comment and feel free to leave as long a comment as you want! I can tell how excited you are from reading my trip posts, and that makes me glad that I wrote them!

If you have a friend living there, you should definitely go visit them! Ah yes, Beerlao is Laotian! (It even said so on the Hyoutan’s website) I used to have friends in Thailand (I met them in the school in the U.S.) but I lost touch a long time ago but maybe I should look them up… I can only imagine how delicious and cheap the food would be there! Just like you, I miss the convenience stores in Japan because you can get so many yummy foods there and they’re so convenient! I think I miss the food in Japan most, and maybe the cleanliness of well, everywhere!

Thank you for the links to the fish chips! They look very similar to what we had. I just remember they were fishy and delicious! I might try finding them in a Thai grocery store in NYC!


NongtipaNo Gravatar December 16, 2010 at 5:15 pm

Pardon the long post….-____-…I summed up all my feelings for your 13 blog posts about your trip into one big post….


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