woensdag 26 april 2017

Japan 2017 day 5: Mt. Fuji / Kawaguchiko lake and karaoke

After days of being in a crowded metropolis, we were really excited to see something else for a change. and of course when you think of a tourist place to go in Japan it is easy to think of Mount Fuji, yet we did not visit it last time, so we planned to go this time, depending on the weather.
We didn't know in detail how many times the trains would go. At the Shinjuku station ticket office we discovered the train only went once every 1,5 hours or so and that you still had to wait about 40 minutes for a transfer too.
We just bought the tickets but googled stuff while waiting and then discovered that once a month there is a rapid line between Narita, Tokyo and Kawaguchiko station and while we had to wait a little longer, the journey would cost less effort. Luckily, JR will give you a refund for your ticket on the day if you haven't used it yet and so we changed the plan!

At least the station looked cute!
The view from the train was stunning ofcourse, there are lots of hills and smaller towns. I have to say, the landscape did look a bit 'dead': it was mostly very sand/amber/brownish-colored, which of course has to do with that it was still kind of cold outside and Spring only started, but even then it just did not look as fresh as nature in The Netherlands does I guess. It's always nice to see new things though, and it was very beautiful! One stop before the final station we could finally see Fuji-san (how Mt. Fuji also is known as) and it was amazing!

We chose to go see Mt. Fuji from Kawaguchiko Lake, since it is one of the most popular sighting-spots in the Fuji-5-lake-area and would be beautiful if the cherry trees were in blossom. But they weren't. At the small station it was really chaotic, since there are lots of tourists and lots of ways to travel and there isn't an easy explanation anywhere so we did go to the small tourist center and they told us that walking around would take way too long and we better take the bus.
But it didn't take that long at all in the end. Then we searched for a way to buy a ticket for the bus but then discovered that you just pay in the bus itself and had to wait even longer, also it was really unclear which bus was which because they just switched the locations, not the bus itself. I was so glad that we could finally sit down in the bus, pfff.

Walking back from the panorama spot was really nice, it was pretty quiet if you walked near the water and the view was just really stunning. One thing is that it can be quite foggy in the air and as such it might be hard to see the mountain, so I'm sorry that the photos look a bit vague, but that was really how it looked:

The trainride back was also interesting: a station assist bought a ticket for us so we had no idea if that was actually valid for the transfer-train as well, but we just tried and apparently it was. Finally back at Shinjuku, we hoped to find a yakiniku restaurant but failed and just went to one of the many small restaurants near the station. There we had some fried food, for example fully fried garlic (and yes it was utterly soft and delicious!).

With regained energy I thought it would be a nice night to try karaoke. It was so much fun to do, but it took a long while for us to figure out how everything worked with reading romaji (Japanese written down in the western-way) and what songs to choose, but we managed in the end and prolonged our stay for some times even. It was kind of awkward to order drinks by the phone though, haha, but it was a really great experience and I hope I can do it again!

zondag 23 april 2017

Japan 2017 day 4: Ikebukuro

On this sunny saturday March 18 we planned to go to Ikebukuro, but Nick wanted to visit the shops under Tokyo station first. It was really 'interesting' to visit Tokyo station on a saturday-morning, and by that I mean it was very busy everywhere and I had to hold hands with Nick so not to lose each other. After seeing all the character stores (and only buying something from the Pokemon shop), we took the train to Ikebukuro.

First off, we went into one of the thousands of arcades before going into Sunshine City and saw some different kinds of catchers there. I wanted to try one where a Pikachu plush was laying on two sticks and surprisingly catched it immediately, haha, did not expect that.

Don't know if it was before or after but of course we went to Closet Child there and it's quite a big one. After seeing the main pieces, I looked at the accessory/misc-shelves and immediately saw this cute yellow Tokimeki dot heart bag and it's been honestly one of my favourite bag-designs by Angelic Pretty but I never saw one for sale. It did have a little scratch on it but you don't see it that well and it was only about 30 euro so I bought it!
Then I also came across lavender socks from the Stardust Fantasia print by Baby The Stars Shine Bright, and they perfectly fit with my Twinkle Constellation jsk.
And as if that wasn't enough I also spotted the 'eat me' donut ring from AP. I guess it was my lucky day!

But then we still had whole Sunshine City to visit ...aaaand Otome road with its cheap anime shops. It was really kinda crowded everywhere, but yeah it was saturday so expected.
Of course we visited the big Pokemon center, they had lots of cute stuff there. Oh and there was a temporary Card Captor Sakura shop at the base, but they actually didn't sell that much interesting things, though it was really nice to see more CCS things (and they had a photo-place with huge-ass clow cards (too bad Nick didn't take a picture with the whole other cards though). And yes, we bought like ten new kinds of tea at the Lupicia shop, hihi.

After entering the actual mall we were really hungry and had delicious burgers at a Hawaii-themed restaurant. Also, there was an interesting balloon-event going on in the middle of the mall and it was really cool to see! We were totally done with the super-annoying voices of shopgirls screaming nasal 'Irasshaimase' and other things after a while though. Why can't they just let people 'shop in peace'? This is the other part of the Japanese 'welcoming culture'. Especially when I was at Axes Femme and wanted to try things on, it's every 30 seconds or so of annoying voices and I can honestly not imagine that customers actually feel it is a nice thing at all.

We took a break at a very silent park next to the building after seeing the anime shops, got back in for the last shops in Sunshine City I wanted to see and then left to eat in Akasaka again, at a random place where we were the only customers and it was superawkward. At least they had a robot, which was kinda interesting. When we walked back to the hotel we finally caught a Farfetch'd in Pokemon Go. Yay!

Loot of the day >>> yes we bought lots of that Easter Pikachu stuff,
it's sooo cute. And the Ah My Goddess box was a bit of a guess, but I knew that there would be pretty prints in it and some of them are hanging in our house now!

Also, I saw some lolita's while we were in Ikebukuro too, it's good to see that people still just walk around in the fashion during their free time. It was a nice day again, especially shopping-wise but after all the crowded places we were happy to NOT go shopping on sunday!

woensdag 12 april 2017

Japan 2017 day 3: Harajuku, Kawaii Monster Cafe, Shinjuku & Genki Sushi

After the long long first day (or two days), we woke up in our nice hotel on a sunny day and had the awesome breakfast for the first time this vacation. I was too shy to take a picture of the buffet again, but it was as luxurious as the last time with choice between Western egg, meat or spaghetti (!), Japanese fresh fish and rice + toppings, different kinds of salads and just a little bit of bread (okay, for western standards the bread was actually kind of disappointing ..but then again we're not in France..).

Wearing my own Lucky Star
Dreamland JSK!
This second morning, while still being a bit exhausted, I really wanted to go to Harajuku, so it took some time to prepare myself (while Nick could rest a bit longer) and then off we went.
It was not too crowded yet when we arrived, but certainly around 12 o clock or so, it got more busy.
For this second time being in Japan, I was making sure to take my time, but it's honestly still a bit hard when your partner is just waiting outside and you can't really share your enthusiasm on the same level. Now I get why people go shopping with fellow J-fashion lovers, I wish I could take my friends here, it would be so much fun!

Okay, so for Takeshita street, I did go to:
-  Wego...still as loud as the last time, they have some interesting stuff but I didn't buy anything
- Paris Kids, where I bought some accessories, but more about that later
- a shoe-store called Cs T&P,  where I found amazing light-yellow platform shoes! Yesss!
- Bodyline, bought a short brown jacket and some wristcuffs there.
- Swimmer (in the ALTA building), they have soooo many cute things it was sooo hard to choose! But I bought some hair-clips, rings and buttons
- Disney Jewelry store, where I bought a Rapunzel scrunchie and a cute Easter button.
- Closet Child: Very tempted to buy a yellow cardigan, but I'm just really more after a bolero. I did buy navy otk's from AP though!
- Etude House (make up), but it was waaaay to crowded so I wasn't feeling like browsing
- Listen Flavor, where the shop girl was really cute and trying to sell to me. I am one of those persons who doesn't like that too much :P rather just browse without being disturbed..but I did buy a sweater and some hair-clips in the end. To be honest I've been watching Listen Flavor clothing for a while now but still think it was expensive, but in Japan I was more in the mood of ' enjoying life while you can'  (aka: just spend money on what makes you happy). And yes, actually was really happy with it!

And then obviously Nick and I were both very tired and hungry so I had planned to go to the Kawaii Monster Cafe...when we got to the escalators it was super-crowded... I sighed and gave up on the idea, thinking that it was fully booked. But somehow all the people were going somewhere else and we were the only ones at the entry of the Kawaii Monster Cafe. It was still a bit confusing getting a table though.
Apparently, when you don't reserve you can only get a small simple behind the Milk Stand and the Mushroom Disco (or maybe that were the only places still left for non-reserved seats?). I'm saying 'behind' because it really is not in the middle of the area's you see in the pictures. I wonder why they do this, because there was plenty space left elsewhere as far as I could see and maybe if they just asked an extra fee or so then people could choose for it, but alas. Anyway, I was still happy to be able to get inside and see the amazing restaurant.

My food: rainbow spaghetti + sauce!
I also had a fancy drink!

It's really quite big with all the different areas. The choice of food was limited, you can only choose for a whole 3-course of appetizer, main and dessert :/ . The service also wasn't great, we had to wait quite a lot. You know, I don't like complaining, I just want to give a realistic review, and you can conclude that the restaurant is mainly there for the look and show, though our bellies were filled in the end.
There was even a short show at the merry-go-round by some of the monster-girls. It was kinda funky, just as the restaurant is, but really adds up to the experience, it was fun..I made a video and hope to show it whenever I have the time again.
Here are some pictures for an impression:

 After finishing up, we walked to Laforet and had some 'fun' getting used to Japanese elevators. I took a look at all the lolita-ish stores in the basement and bought very glittery otk's at the Alice & The Pirates store (though they are actually BtSSB socks). The shop people were very kind and took the time to fill in stuff for me to buy tax-free, yay! Angelic Pretty was a bit 'meh'  though. I had a good look at all their socks as well, but none of it was fitting for the coords I had in my mind.

There was a Pokemon (Go) area??
Then we decided to take the metro to Higashi-Shinjuku to visit the Square Enix store for Nick. It's still a nice area and didn't feel like the busy city at all over there. After that we just walked through Shinjuku a bit, went to a Sanrio store where I bought a supercute Pompompurin shirt. For a while we didn't know what to do, then we remembered that we wanted to Visit Yodabashi Camera because they had lots of nice items and gachapons at their toy-section in Shinjuku. However, the store was a bit re-organized so it took a while to find it again.

Dinner Time! Really felt like going for sushi and couldn't actually wait to visit this Genki Sushi place in Shibuya where you order with a tablet in front of you and the sushi is delivered on a monorail-belt, also in front of you. Yes, it is as awesome as it sounds, you click on what you want to order and it gets there in about 5 minutes or so. The line to get into the restaurant might seem a bit long, but they write your name down so you can be sure you get a place and we only waited 20 min. max or so. You also only have a short time to eat, since it is so busy, but nonetheless it is a supercool place and I really recommend it...if only they had this in our country!

By the way, I made a video of everything that my husband and I bought during this whole trip,
you can see it here. Hope you like it!

zondag 2 april 2017

Japan 2017 day 1&2

Rocking the neck-pillow-hat look
on the airplane, lol ;)
Hi everyone! We are already back for a week now and things got a bit hectic, because our female ferret is quite ill and obviously we had to start working immediately again, but yeah some time to relax is also needed so here's the first post about our Japan vacation!

At Wednesday March 15 we got up early to prepare the last things. That day the Dutch elections happened, and as you know since politics are at a critical state right now, we wanted to make sure to vote and so we did, we were the second and third people to enter the voting hall at 07.30 o clock (not even the first)!
After that we rushed back and were in time to get an earlier bus to the station, where we could enjoy a cup of tea at the pretty Groningen station Starbucks. (really, I'd love to come there again!). I won't annoy you with a boring story of travelling to and waiting at Schiphol airport, I'm getting used to it by now (never thought I'd say that). It was however quite crowded, I guess that it was because we bought the tickets at a special offer and that other flights were on sale as well for that day. However, we didn't have to wait too much to enter the plane, in fact the flight started even earlier than planned and took an hour less than I thought, yay!
A look at the middle-north of Japan
 Because we were flying east and left in the afternoon, we had a short night, even more because sleeping on the plane is hard. When we approached Japan, it was like 9 am and perfect weather so it was quite some sight. We circled around Narita airport a bit, and flew above the ocean on the east side of Japan, where you could see big waves reaching the beach, it was totally mesmerizing (I'll keep the view for a video). These things make flying an absolutely amazing experience and I love it!

When we arrived, the first thing I did was check the results of the election and luckily it turned out okay, we were very relieved. Everything went fast after that and I think we arrived at our hotel (Toshi Center Hotel, same as last time) just before lunch time. Got rid of our baggage and bought our first Japanese meal at the trusty Family Mart opposite of the hotel. Oh, Japanese bento boxes, always interesting!
The garden of the building in front
of our hotel. Pretty nice for a lunch-walk!

After that we decided to go directly to Akihabara, since Nick was so excited and we waited so long to go there again. I have to say though, once we were there for a while we sort of concluded it wasn't as exciting as the first time, haha. It was a lot of the same and we didn't come across a lot of surprisingly new things, though it was still fun.

Our drinks and food
@ the Animate Cafe
However, while visiting Animate (I think my fav. shop in Akiba), after watching all the second-hand-selling-cubes we got thirsty (literally, lol) and wanted to look for a place to drink,
 then we got to the last floor and discovered there was an Animate-cafe there (duh, obviously at Animate you have a cafe but you know after being awake for so long you just forget stuff). But, surprise-surprise, it was Little Witch Academia-themed. And that was quite amazing, because that is our favourite anime series this season, and we both didn't hear about this cafe being planned so it was an amazing surprise :D!
Little Witch Academia
Character Posters

They obviously had themed food and drinks and we both ordered different things (related to characters and parts of the story) to see and try it. But next to that the cafe was decorated with screenshots from the series, documents/books  (which you couldn't take photos off), and life-size cardboard figures, TV's and posters (and the soundtrack playing) in the background.
Also during our visit there was a small quiz being held, but it was in Japanese so we couldn't follow at all though they at least tried to explain you could give your answer by holding up a sheet of one of the characters. Our food came with randomly-given coasters we could take home and then they also sold some exclusive merchandise of which we bought a keychain.
I'm superhappy we came across this café, it's just one of the things you only have in Japan and we were lucky!

Look from out hotel window
at night :D
Let's get back to the hotel to actually settle down a bit at this 21st-floor room (yes, ff-ing awesome!) and decide what to do for dinner. As we were both kinda tired, we decided to go to nearby Akasaka, went for a comfy yaki-restaurant (yaki means grilled) for some yakisoba and okonomiyaki, which wasn't the best but satisfying and hey, there were four Pokemon Go stops in reach so for this short eve it was fine. Afterwards we went to a cocktail-bar which was honestly waaay too expensive. Sure, the bar was cool and it felt like a real treat, but you might forget that in Japan lots of places ask a fee for the table/seats and at this bar it was just crazy, too bad -.- sometimes it just happens I guess. We went to bed early and slept relatively good!
Next day: Harajuku + Shinjuku ^_^ yaaay!

Other photo's:
Some Yuri on Ice stuff ot Gamers.
Just gonna say there was lots of it.
Hell yeah I missed you Ufo machines!
And happy to find some Agrretsuko stuff!