Thursday, May 17, 2012

GW 2012: Stupid Junk I Bought

Rule: There is a Hello Kitty for everything in Japan.

Some of the more obscure examples:

1. KISHIDAN x Hello Kitty

KISHIDAN (psh like I can read that kanji) is the band of another incarnation of DJ Ozma. I find his other alter-ego in Yazima Beauty Salon problematic (for a while I didn't realize the group was essentially doing blackface), but I didn't know this was the same guy who dressed up in a Nazi-esque uniform a few years ago. Maybe I wouldn't have bought it with that many strikes against him, but too late. HK with that hair is pretty hilarious.

2. Solar Eclipse Hello Kitty

We're gonna have a full solar eclipse soon, so OF COURSE there's HK stuff! I'm gonna get up early next Monday and look super fly with these on while I witness the majesty of the universe without going blind.

3. Daibutsu Hello Kitty

Picked up the strap and washcloth in Kamakura. I left the towel on some homemade soap my brother sent me and now it smells good~


Domo-kun isn't nearly as ubiquitous as HK, but I see him enough that I know his brand is doing all right. In fact I see A LOT of One Piece and their token "cute" animal character, the reindeer Chopper, at all the major tourist sites around Tokyo.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

GW 2012: Alice in Wonderland Fantasy Dining

My dear friend Marissa was an English major in college, so she's very well-read and knows all sorts of literary things that I never will. I have an epic to-be-read list of books that always gets longer and she's already conquered at the majority of the classics on that list. I feel like a doofus around her sometimes because it takes me effing FOREVER to finish a book, but it's nice to be able to ask her if I should read something and getting a firm yes or no in response. And then an extensive list of reasons why.

Anyway, she likes Alice in Wonderland. I forget at the moment if she liked the book or not, but it's one of her favorite things evarrrrr. She heard about the Alice in Wonderland cafe in Ginza and has been trying to get us to go since... last summer? We never got around to it until the end of our work holiday.

Similar to the chain that owns the Mysterious space-themed bar and The Lock-Up, the owners of this restaurant have a bunch of themed restaurants in Ginza. When they say "fantasy dining," they mean it.

The elevator opens up to a small reception area with scrolls and playing cards on the walls. The Disney version is pretty much the only version that exists in Japan, so all the waitresses were dressed up like characters from the cartoon. The music in the restaurant was an eclectic mix of foreign language Disney songs, Beauty and the Beast in French FTW, and music from less famous soundtracks like the original Parent Trap film from the 60's.

We were led to our table in a nice secluded booth with pink and purple striped walls and blue couches. Basically, we ate inside the Cheshire Cat.

I felt like this restaurant was very well decorated and thought out. It bordered on cheesy without crossing the line into looking overdone. Around the corner from our booth was an open dining area that looked AWESOME.


No flash


A tea party in a tea cup??? Why it's mad!

Our menu was a cube with a diorama scene and a clock that didn't work. Details around the table, like the playing card coaster and Alice call button, were nice touches.

Okay yeah enough ambiance, let's get to the food!!! Every guest to the restaurant has to order a drink and a food item, and the total for our meal came out to about 3000yen per person.

It's a caterpillar roll!

We always get fries.

Some sort of croissant shrimp thing in Cheshire Cat form. DELICIOUS.

Clock margarita pizza.

Salmon in white cream sauce.

Dessert trio with the Caterpillar, Cheshire Cat, and Mad Hatter.

I thoroughly enjoyed my experience in this fantasy dining establishment. We got there early on a weekday, like half an hour after they opened, so we didn't need a reservation but this place fills up fast. By the time we left around 7:20pm, most of the tables around us had been seated.

This chain also owns a vampire cafe but... lol vampires.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

GW 2012: Sensoji and the Most Delicious Melon-pan EVER

I took Ma and Pa to my favorite temple in Tokyo, Senso-ji! I'm not sure why this is my favorite temple, it's certainly a pain to get to and it's always freaking crowded. I do have a lot of good memories here from my days as a student, including eating fugu for the first time. Fugu's not that great, don't waste your money.

It was a little busy.

'Sup, Sky Tree.

I came here maybe a month ago with my buddies and we saw lots of people in line for this shop selling melon pan. It was way at the back near the main building of the temple and you wouldn't find it if you weren't wandering around or purposely looking for it. I'm always a bit skeptical of Japanese people waiting in lines, they'll stand politely in lines for all sorts of crazy things that aren't worth waiting for, but DAMN that melon-pan was amazing! I made it a point to make my mom stand in line for a loaf haha.

They also sell soft cream.
Ma enjoyed the chocolate and milk flavor.

The shop is near these two.

ASK FOR THIS STUFF WARM OMG. It's light and fluffy and just sweet enough asldkmf ;asl I NEVER RAVE ABOUT BREAD LIKE THIS. I want a loaf RIGHT NOW.

We did the usual temple things of lighting incense, washing hands at the fountain thing with the cups on sticks, bought some fortunes. All three of us managed to pull bad fortunes, but I was somewhat contented with the fact that they were all different bad fortunes and not the same stuff printed for different numbers. Mine notably stated that I would not advance forward in my current state and that I must return to my homeland where I will not meet any crisis. WELL, you can bet your bottom I tied that to the blessed wires to send up to the gods so I can get a better fortune next time.

Ma also finally got a baked potato with butter, since she always drools over the ones I post here, and I got more meat on a stick! HUZZAH!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

GW 2012: Deli & Baking, Co.

I spent this past Golden Week not doing anything particularly important with my parents. We didn't have a set agenda, so I had the opportunity to take them to some of my favorite spots.

One place I absolutely adore is this little bakery/restaurant in Shimokitazawa. This town is known for being the Japanese hipster capital; everything is really kitschy and unique. This place could very well be a chain for all I know, but PSH like it matters.

I stumbled across Deli & Baking, Co. last year sometime after the earthquake. I love this place in part because atmosphere is relaxed and comfy - you can grab a table and mosey on over to the counter to order when you're ready. It's like a cute little country cabin with lots of natural light and white-washed or wood furniture. A lot of restaurants and cafes in Tokyo are really cramped and dark, which might be appealing to some but I like the change of scenery here. The menu isn't fancy or extensive, though it is reasonably priced and a step up from a family diner. 

Lots of pancakes with a variety of syrups and butters OMG I'M GONNA GET FAT.

Herb chicken with ratatouille over rice and salad.

Mmm muffins.

Not a bad place to visit, assuming you can find it. I think I always take the west exit out of Shimokitazawa station, turn right at the gate, and follow the road that is opposite the side with Lawson. You'll pass the Village Vanguard diner along the way. Go eat there, my ma and pa enjoyed it.