Saturday, April 12, 2014

Travel Diary: Time-Out in Tokyo

PJ and I arrived in Tokyo on a chilly night, and our first order of business was to heat up our tummies with some ramen. It was late, but good thing there was a corner eatery right outside our hotel in Akihabara. We chose from the food photos, fed the machine with money, got our meal tickets, and gave it to the lone cook inside the restaurant. In warp speed (like, 30 seconds -- no exaggeration), our dishes were in front of us! This first meal was one of the best we had during our trip.
The next day, we met up with my cousins Ralph, Noelle and her son Kai, and Ate Ria and little Amelia. They had all been in Japan for a few weeks before we arrived. We walked around Yoyogi Park (which is huge!) and propped down on the grass to take a break before heading to lunch.
All photos during this trip was taken using this Canon G15! The camera strap is the one I designed for Punchdrunk Panda.
Collected fallen flowers and pressed them!
From Yoyogi Park, we walked to Takeshita Street.How cool is Kai?? And Amelia loves Tito PJ!
 We chanced upon Design Festa Gallery, a multi-storey apartment that houses exhibitions, installations, and art space for young artists and students.

We had lunch in Sakura Tei Harajuku, a super cool restaurant with super yum food!
DIY okonomiyaki!This was so delicious!!

We took the metro to Azubujuban, and walked around some more in the afternoon.Blue and White had lots of pretty Japanese souvenirs and textiles. There's also a crafting station at the back of the store!

We chanced upon this vegetarian cafe called Eat More Greens, where we had afternoon tea + vegan green tea donuts and pastries. This was actually on my to-try list! 
Next day, we all met up in Daikanyama. Kicked off the day with some black sesame bread and pan au chocolat! I love the wooden furniture at Lotus Baguette.
And then we hit the shops, starting with Saturdays NYC.Wish we could all hang out in their outdoor seating area!
And then we spent a few hours in T-Site, the Tsutaya Books complex.
Comfy shoes for walking over 12 hours a day: PJ's high top leather Nikes, and my 7-holed sneaker-type Dr. Marten's Leytons!
There's a really cool lounge on the second floor of Tsutaya. Too bad they don't allow kids to sit/eat there!
So we headed a few blocks down to Bombay Bazar for some curry.A bowl each for Papa bear, Momma bear, and Baby bear. Haha :P

Right next door is this shop with no name; just a yin-yang heart for a logo.
Will definitely go back here to shop next time! It was just our second day, so I was holding out. Chambray is my weakness! PJ, you really should have gotten those boots on the far left!!!
Around the corner, there was a little cafe with a looooong line. Just like many other things in Japan, this was so random: giant stuffed toys sitting outdoors, waiting to be petted or hugged. Haha!

Next day, we moved to a hotel right by the Shibuya station.
We had a view of the famous Shibuya crossing!
One reason I was so excited to go back to Japan was because of all the craft stores!
Here are a few of my favourites:
Wrapple on the 4th floor of Parco
- Tokyu Hands
- Loft
We also spent a night walking from Harajuku to Omotesando, and then back to Shibuya.All their stores have amazing interiors and they all have mastered the art of visual merchandising.
We also visited the Mori Art Museum in Roponggi.Love this interactive wall!

Andy Warhol's 15 Minutes Eternal was on exhibit. I saw this exhibit a few years ago in Seattle, but this is the first time I've seen the pop-up Andy Warhol Cafe! We couldn't resist, and just had to order something, haha. PJ had the burger, and I had the banana cake.I want that floral ottoman for our house!
In the afternoon, we headed to Koenji. It's a small, non-commercial area speckled with independent craft stores. I met up with Ros of Polkaros in this cute little cafe called Hattifnatt. We talked about crafting in Japan and in Manila, and exchanged some gifts after!
In the evening, we walked around Nakameguro.I ordered a vegetarian meal at Potager, and accompanied PJ to a random sushi house, where he claims he had the best Salmon Sashimi ever.
I have a thing for ginger, and can never resist a ginger drink when it's on the menu :P

On our last full day, we went to the Tsukiji Market for brunch.Chirashi for PJ and Tamago for me. There was this whole strip solely occupied by tamago chefs!
After that, we took a train to Shinjuku-gyoen, where I died and went to craft heaven in Sekaido. It was a bit of a challenge trying to figure out the items on display because the tags are all Japanese, but the staff were really helpful. I was able to get more watercolor paper, brushes, and paint!
We visited the nearby park to check out the sakura trees, but they we just beginning to bloom during that time.
Went back to the hotel and found some blossoms in the lobby. I took some and tried to press them! :PAdding them to my journals!

Seems like we all know someone who visited Japan recently, right? But what's awesome about the city is that each one is bound to find a unique reason to love the place. I personally can't get enough of the craft shops. :P And if only we had more time, I would have loved to meet up with more crafters there, or have a picnic in the park. In the meantime, I'll be daydreaming about (and saving up for) our next trip there! :)