Thursday, June 12, 2008

Day 8: Familiar Favourites

We had a slow start to the day. Fatigue had finally caught up with us, after seven days on the go, and we slept right through our alarm. By the time we finally dragged ourselves up and out of our apartment, it must have been after 9.

Our last full day in Tokyo - so much to see, so little time. We couldn't leave Tokyo without first seeing the rest of Oakwood Shinjuku.

exactly as it says

We popped our heads in to have a look and found shelves with trash-filled plastic bags which was a strangely primitive mode of disposal somehow.

Then we went up to the top floor of the apartment block, to have a look at the Sky Lounge.

the view from the lounge

The lounge was pretty nifty - nicely designed, with DIY coffee and tea, newspapers, and a great view.

Also on the top floor was this:

all we could see of the penthouse

Down we went to the basement.

important for those typhoon days

we had to have a look, didn't we?

HM was suitably impressed by the quality of the equipment available.

The laundry room was just as well equipped.

We agreed we wouldn't mind living long-term at Oakwood Shinjuku. If only the apartments were a bit larger... and we were paid nice fat expat paychecks!

And then finally we were out the door of the apartment complex.

A little further down the road, we found yet another noodle shop, for a late breakfast.

this one sold soba, not just ramen

We ordered two different kinds of tempura soba:

HM's - vegetable tempura

mine - you can tell by the raw egg

With our stomachs filled, we made our way to the train station, grateful for Oakwood Shinjuku's proximity to Shinjuku Station and the convenience of the Tokyo train/subway system in general.

clean and efficient

our favourite train poster - we need these in S'pore!

thank you, Suica Penguin! - we loved the convenience of Tokyo's answer to our EZ-link card

Our plan for the day was to revisit Harajuku and Ometosando, and to shop of course. Walking through Harajuku, we had our second Harajuku crepe.

a banana split, by any other name

Then we found ourselves hanging around outside the funky Laforet Shopping Centre...

... waiting for opening time. We were not alone.

Inside, Laforet was Hipsville, with everything from high-end maid's outfits (hence the clientele - see above) to one of a kind pieces. Too bad photography was not allowed and I only managed to sneak these pictures.

very hip - eco bags

the lift!

Laforet was perhaps a little more sedate than Shibuya 109, but it was definitely the classier of the two. At least here, HM was able to find something to buy!

After Laforet, we popped into Kiddyland for gifts and more Ghibli merchandise. There's no such thing as too much Ghibli merchandise.

seven floors of merchandising - what's not to like

next door

Done with our shopping, we made our way up Omotesando where there was something interesting around every corner...

outside a church

high maintenance dog

highclass ah bengs (you gotta give it to the Japanese - they do dress so well!)


It was soon time for lunch. Stomachs growling, we made our way to Maisen, a veritable institution renowned for its black pork tonkatsu.

Formerly a bath house, the restaurant was huge, with several dining areas. We were seated inside the big family restaurant-style room.

starter - bonito flakes and stewed radish

special sauce for the black pig

I had the katsu-don set

HM had the tonkatsu set, made with black pig

Our sets came with side dishes:

The katsu and tonkatsu were both mouthwateringly juicy and the crusts were just so, nicely crisp and light.

We finished off with a little sorbet, just the thing to offset the deepfried food.


We emerged, amply pleased with the excellent meal.

Maisen takeaway counter - tempting!

Then we resumed our exploration of Omotesando, particularly the little boutiques that peppered the area.

small local outlets

Japanese cult brands

hence the queues

Japanese staples

international branches of American icons

Of course there was more than fashion to admire.

a hark back to the past, at least in design terms

even the roadworks were picturesque

no wonder Tokyoites were out in full force

All too soon, it was time to leave. My only regret was missing the Ukiyo-e Ota Memorial Museum of Art which we did not find till it had closed for the day.

Back at Oakwood Shinjuku, a nap was in order before we sauntered out for dinner.

Which of our dining experiences did we want to replicate before leaving Tokyo? We opted for another kaiten sushi sortie, this time at a marginally more upmarket place in Shinjuku.

not as much of a dive as the last one

Our initial after-dinner plan was to go out for drinks at one of Tokyo's skybars, but we were bushed. In the end, one last night walk was all we could muster, before heading "home" to pack.

Of all our impressions of Tokyo nightlife...

... we will remember best, and fondly, the food!

the one that got away - there will be a next time

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