We chose where to stay based on their mascot and price. Lisa thought the animal was a “bandit beaver” but it is a Japanese raccoon.
This place, despite having rooms the size of walk in closets, had really comfortable beds and strong air conditioning. So we were 100% satisfied and would recommend it to anyone!
It also had this amazingly efficient Sink-Toilet
Lisa always wanted to stay at a “Capsule Hotel” so we did! However, most capsule hotels don’t accept women, this may be because most of the guests are salarymen who missed their train and/or drank too much. Luckily we found one with a woman’s floor. The sleeping room is very silent and you climb up a little ladder into your capsule. They give you a locker with a “gown” (hospital gown like pajamas) and a towel. The capsules have a curtain you pull down if you are going to sleep. It felt like a futuristic sorority house sleeping-room.
There is also a TV, radio, and alarm clock. Danny fell asleep by watching women’s soccer. When I went to bed, there were at least 30 snoozing businessmen in my hallway, but by the time we woke up at 9AM there was only one left.
There was only a group shower which was a bit of a foreign concept for Americans, but it was very nice because it is the temperature of a sauna and everyone sits on a stool with their own mirror…kind of like a vanity.
FOOD & DRINK
Danny has been friends with Erica since 8th grade, but she moved to Tokyo to go to college and now lives there. She took us to all of the quintessential Japanese dining experiences.
You pay $10 for all you can drink alcohol (mind you, weak drinks) for 90 minutes, and share a variety of inexpensive fried foods, sashimi, and noodles with friends.
Danny had the beef tongue and I had a delicious stew.
Cutie Cafe called Hattinfnatt designed in a style like a treehouse
Had a loft inside
Looking down at the little cafe with its cute panda art
These noodle places are squeezed in anywhere they can fit, and even places they can’t.
You can get coke in all kinds of strange cans out of vending machines… including this resealable 12 ounce can, and a 4loko sized tall can.
Tommy Lee Jones is the spokesman for Boss Coffee advertising.
At 7-11 you can buy a variety of Haagen Dazs, the flavors were green tea, cherry, or anin(!?) It is almond milk flavored and deliciously creamy.
We went for Soba Noodles at this historic 1880 noodle house Kanda Yabusoba. The cashier chant-sings the orders to the kitchen, it sounds very monastic.
Address: 2-10 Awajicho Kanda Chiyodaku
Umbrella security is serious here, most people carry the long hooked handle kind. You can lock up your umbrella before entering a public place.
There is a Toilet museum in Tokyo because Japanese toilets are really crazy awesome. We did not go, but any old public toilet is enough to make you think wtf?!
One of our favorite things on our trip. Ever been lonely and wanted some coffee and a few pets around to play with? In Tokyo there are Cat Cafes like this throughout the city because most people do not have the space for pets. You pay 1,000Y ($12) per hour and have access to dozens of cats. There is a statistics book on each cat, and they hope that you fall in love with one and want to come back and visit it again and again…
Ever been lonely and wanted a drink and a group of friendly costumed young girls to talk to?
One of Lisa’s favorite things about Tokyo. A “Maid Cafe” is a place usually frequented by depressing Japanese men, which made us curious about the draw. The cafe we visited, Cafe Pinafore looked like it was decorated by a group of 6-year old girls. It is a costumed pink cutie world where squeeky adorably smiling happy “Maid” waitresses serve coffee and food while dressed in Tokyo-fied versions of a French maid costume or kimono. I was expecting to go just to be creeped out buy the strange idea, but the girls there were so sweet and adorable, and they made our food so cute! There was one Japanese female customer there with some guy friends but I was the only woman and we were the only westerners. The girls just spoke to us in fast squeeky sweet baby-voice Japanese. Our waitress kneeled down eye level with me and asked ”Cat?” and “Bunny?” what animal I would like to decorate my latte foam, and then she drew a bunny face cutely with chocolate syrup.
Same with my omelette
You could see that there were some sad looking Japanese guys, and they would pay extra to play a card game with their server or talk to them for a long time. Though the Japanese men may like the frilly petticoat dresses, there was nothing overtly suggestive about these girls. I think the men come back to have someone be kind to them and to live in a sweet cute fantasy world.
They gave us a free fan with photos of the maid girls advertising the cafe and its food art.
We did not encounter the famous “used pantie vending machine” but that may be for the best. We found many others, Tokyo has 1 vending machine for every 23 people!
Entire stores vending photos of celebrities in little plastic balls
We were walking through the red-light district and I saw this alpaca claw game and wanted a baby alpaca. I tried the claw but failed. An employee, seeing my sincere disappointment, came over and opened the glass and hand positioned a baby alpaca perfectly on a cliff so that no matter how terrible my skill level, a baby alpaca would fall. Taking no chances, I “gave Danny a turn” and that little pink alpaca fell to my delight. The employee and I bowed to each other and he seemed happy too.
Noice the Engrish? Alpacasso…
A claw game where you can win a live fish!
Bars are tucked into random residential buildings next to a variety of other types of shops. They have great names and signs.
Erica took us to this bar where she is a regular and hangs out with semi-famous Japanese rock stars. The bartender hand cuts the ice block into cubes.
In contrast, this place felt more like a loft apartment.
These guys take women out to drink, chat, act charming, and make women feel special. But if the women come back, their drinks get more and more expensive.
We saw Harry Potter on opening night, but it was poorly attended, not the sensation that it is in the U.S.
They have cool popcorn holders in Japan.
We were lured by a Karaoke tout into coming to this tiny karaoke hole which offered “all you can drink for two hours”. Erica belted out some Japanese favorite tunes, while we sang classics like “Who Let the Dogs Out” and “I am the Walrus.” at one point we felt the place moving, the music the drinks…and I said “Woo! this place is really rockin!” and Erica replied, “Yea, I think it’s an earthquake,” and it was… a 5.5 earthquake, that’s Tokyo for you!
Babydoll dresses and wigs
A group of friends all wearing the same polka-dotted dress
A dress made out of our 1980’s childhood Mickey Mouse bedspread!
So many choices for socks!
GARDENS & ARTS
Chinzan-so Garden, with a thousand year old wooden pagoda and relics from all over Japan
A very serene temple and its guards
A little old couple comes to the park and brings all of the cats a boxed lunch, and we saw cat beds scattered in the hills.
Ueno Park, home of many temples and the National Museum
Can you spot the pokemon?
Hachiko Statue, this dog who waited outside Shibuya metro station for his master (who had died) to come home… for 12 years. The most loyal dog ever (or maybe locals just fed him).
Golden cloud-poop building
Tokyo is very accessible for people with visual impairments, this yellow bot-dot road tangles through the entire city, and the dots change at the edge of a street or for a bus stop.
Kitchen Supply District
Tea cup balconies mark the entrance to the street: a highly recommended area to visit if you want some cool things to stock your cupboards with. Lisa bought tiny coffee spoons, tiny plates, and chopsticks.
For all your fish-waffling needs
Plastic food store for restaurant displays
If you’ve ever played Jet Grind Radio, you would definitely recognize this place as the first level, Shibuya Bus Terminal. We took a bus and ended up here, it was very fun and weird to get off a bus and find myself in a video game.
During cramped rush hours on metro lines notorious for skirt-grabbing there are designated cars just for women to ride in. We heard a man protesting against this in a square.
If you drop your hat, don’t jump on the tracks! A nice man will retrieve it for you!