our pantry - cute little details
HM brought me up to the ryokan's rooftop bath which she had had the luxury of soaking in the night before while I had been downloading photos from my camera and such.
scrub a dub dub
ooh a soak
Of course, the day we decided not to eat in, there was inhouse entertainment.
We ventured out to look for breakfast. We didn't find many possibilities but the walk in the crisp morning air was stimulating, visually and otherwise. The shutter art was a nice touch...
work in progress - first, the outline
work in progress - then colour within the lines
The pickings were surprisingly slim. Before we succumbed and found ourselves in a Denny's, we decided to give a nearby cafe a shot.
our breakfast joint
It probably wasn't the best of decisions.
the Japanese breakfast set...
... with ham and eggs
It turned out to be one of the few bad meals we had in Tokyo. Mediocre and insipid, the 1600Y (S$24) meal was a washout.
After that, we had just enough time to take one last walk down Nakamise Dori to pick up some snacks, sweets and pastries, for ourselves and friends back home, before proceeding back to Ryokan Shigetsu to pack and check out.
sesame seed and seaweed rice crackers
Back at Oakwood Shinjuku, we took a 30 minute nap before hitting the streets. We were hungry - it was an opportune moment to check out the Freshness Burger outlet right across the street from our apartment.
opposite Oakwood Shinjuku
a bright, welcoming space
HM had been waiting for this moment, ever since she had read about Freshness Burger on Chubby Hubby's blog. We were pretty impressed by the food. For a fast food joint, the ingredients tasted more fresh than processed, and the patties were juicy. Even the fries were flavourful, actually tasting like potato.
And then we were on our way again. There was no time to lose - shopping awaited us. Our agenda that afternoon was the shopping mecca of Ginza.
outside the Sony Building
as always, HM on shoe shopping mission
one of the big guns
the Grand Dame herself
a travel promotion - what's with the obsession with Hawaii?!
Despite the cornucopia of goods on sale, we didn't find much to buy, apart from an iPod or two. To some extent, everything was expensive (although undeniably of superior quality), but also, much of what was on sale, designer brands et al, was available back home.
In the end it was the food that caught our attention. In the basement of one of these mammoth shopping centres slash department stores, we bought ourselves a snack...
Japanese savoury pancakes
And then we found a cafe to have a spot of tea in.
royal milk tea
Despite this, Ginza did not hold our interest for long. We headed back to Shinjuku. There, we made our pilgrimage to the Pierre Herme counter at Isetan Shinjuku. Then, clutching our precious purchase, we found ourselves at the taxi stand of all places. Where else could we find a seat, we reasoned, the sales staff's stern instruction to consume the confections within the hour still ringing in our ears.
Therefore, despite the odd looks we were getting from Tokyoites, we perched at the taxi stand and luxuriated in our pink and white confections, not the least put off by taxi fumes. (We would like to think that those were looks of envy...)
inside the bag there was a...
inside the box there was an...
... an Ispahan!
The Ispahan is a Pierre Herme signature confection. Two rose-flavoured macaroons sandwiching rose-flavoured cream, fresh raspberries and lychees - what's not to like?
We also had ourselves some delectable macaroons.
to die for
We ended our day at Takashimaya Times Square, at a restaurant recommended by Lonely Planet.
Imahan specialises in wagyu beef, especially done sukiyaki style. We are not fans of sukiyaki though so we ordered the shabu shabu set:
The beef sashimi was lovely. Even HM who normally does not like raw beef found it palatable.
starting with nothing but a piece of kelp
luscious marbled meat
The shabu shabu was delicious, especially with the two dipping sauces, citron (yuzu? ponzu?) and sesame (goma).
dessert - a sorbet and a gelee
All in all, this was a pretty good meal, although not quite as outstanding as the one at Tsunahachi or even the one at the Asakusa izakaya. Still, it helped to lift an otherwise dreary day.
a Shinjuku landmark