Sunday, 9 June 2013
Saturday, 1 June 2013
Saturday, 4 May 2013
I had the Organic Potato Hash which consisted of organic free range eggs, hollandaise, a smoked eggplant relish and some braised greens. It was a superb dish that I would definitely order again.
For coffee, I had Kokako's Cold Brew Coffee which is soft brewed for 8 hours and very mellow to taste. Served with ice in a beautiful glass that accentuated its aroma, it was a very different flavour to what I expect from an iced coffee. It also came with the remainder of the coffee in a jar that made it look like medicine (which coffee obviously is). I started off really not sure if I liked it or not but by the end was enjoying it a lot more but still not 100%.
Jane had Kokako's Cold Drip Coffee which had been filtered for 4 hours through a cold drip. I found the taste of it to be quite bizarre but Jane in fact preferred it over mine.
The food arrived in a timely manner but the staff could learn how to smile and actually engage with their customers.
Sunday, 21 April 2013
Friday, 1 February 2013
I had another epic day today. Today I decided to head over to Obaida which is on a man made island in Tokyo Bay and was amazed at what I got to see.
I even got to see the statue of liberty! The bridge in the background is the Rainbow Bridge and it seems to have funky colours at night.
The Fuji TV building (on the right) looked very cool; even the statue raised her arm in agreement.
Walking through the Symbol Promenade Park there were some great sculptures (and a mammoth robot) to be seen.
Inside the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) there were also other robots on display and an excellent display in multiple languages of their uses. The therapeutic robot was a cool seal that reacted when you patted it in various places or spoke to it due to many sensors it has. It has proven to be useful as a “pet” for people and to make them happier.
This robot is capable of standing up, lying down and maintaining its balance. It could be very useful, and what’s also great is that they have open sourced its platform to enable others to innovate further with it with OpenHRP (Open Architecture Humanoid Robotics Platform).
I then found a couple of geocaches nearby and picked up a trackable to bring back to NZ.
Toyota’s Mega Web was pretty good. It is a bit of a showroom, concept room, history of Toyota, Racing games, simulators and more. There was a huge emphasis on hybrid and electric vehicles and education about how they work.
The Venus Fort shopping complex was almost empty and done in the style of an 18th century European town.
The historical part of the Toyota Mega Web is also in Venus Fort showcasing various old cars. I can’t say I was super excited by it.
and went to the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. Since it was closing 40mins after I arrived (it closes at 16:30) I had to rush around but still got to see a fair bit of it. The 200 yen cost was worth it and I can imagine it being beautiful when the cherry blossoms are out.
For my last evening meal in Tokyo I had some superb yakitori at a busy restaurant (Yakitori Akivoshi) on the western side of the station (which incidentally has lots of guitar shops nearby. Since I could decide between beer or sake I decide that obvious solution was to have big bottles of each; it worked.
On a Friday night, Shibuya seems to be a great place to be and Shibuya crossing was great. I even took a video of it. Enjoy!
Thursday, 31 January 2013
I planned my day out before I departed this morning and after getting off the train at Ueno and making my way to the metro saw a sign to Ueno Park and decided to change my plans.
Before long I arrived at Kappabashi-dori (aka Kitchen town) where it seems you can buy anything you need to setup a restaurant including pots & pans, tables & chairs, clothing, crockery, ovens, plastic food, ….I checked out the golden turd (aka Asahi Flame)
I caught the metro to Suehirocho and walked through Akihabara and tried out the toilets in the Sega building I had missed on the last visit. They have a peeing game there (bizarre)!
Following a train line while walking can work in some situations but I managed to walk probably about 5 extra kilometres by following the wrong train train line on two occasions trying to get to the Ogawamachi ski shop area, which didn’t have any great deals of stuff I was looking at. The Kanda Second Hand books stores looked quite interesting, with most books being Japanese but some others too.
When looking at my map and looking at the address for Mojo which I couldn’t find on it but thought it was in this area (which I’ve since found it is – maybe tomorrow) somebody asked if they could help with directions. They said Shinjuku was a long way away and to take the subway; sounded like a challenge to me, so I walked there instead via Ushigome which contained lots of apartment buildings.
Entering Shinjuku from far east meant I came in at a different angle which was great. I wandered about for a while and then decided to walk to my hotel in Ikebukuro many kilometres away following close to the Yamanote line. Once past Shin-Okubo it was mostly dull.
Close to Ikebukuro I was on a cool street that even had railway control signals and had to wait for a train to pass.
It’s just past 10pm now and according to my Fitbit I’ve walked 41,883 steps today (a new record) and covered just over 30km. I should sleep well.
Wednesday, 30 January 2013
Since we were in Tokyo we thought we should spend a night in a capsule hotel. The capsules were stacked two high and you could sit up in them and lengthwise even I found the length to be just ok (and I’m not exactly tall at 173cm!). These ones were stacked two high.
In terms of luggage, big items were left behind reception and everybody was given a locker with enough space to fit a small bag in. We were even provided with pyjamas which we put on after using the Japanese-style bathing room/sauna (aka Onsen).
The capsules aren’t exactly sound proof, so I did hear people coming and going throughout the night, a ridiculous quantity of alarm clocks going off in the morning and people watching tv.
Earlier in the evening once we finally arrived in Tokyo after snow at Narita airport delayed our flight by a few hours we headed out to Roppongi and Roppongi Hils for a bit of a look. Roppongi is known as the place to go clubbing and there were a few seedy types around. Roppongi Hills on the other hand is quite an upmarket shopping area, where we ended up having dinner.
For Chris’s last day in Tokyo we started off by going to the opening of the day at the Takashimaya department store and all the staff bowed as we walked around. It was a really strange feeling. There were only about a dozen people waiting to go in, so it was great and we made a line to the escalators and did a lap upstairs before they got started for the day.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building as a free viewing platform (in fact one in each tower). It was a great day to look around Tokyo and Mt Fuji was easily to be found.
We then headed off to a bunch of places shopping and had a better look around Harajuku, predominantly down Takeshita street and the surrounding blocks. Harajuku is where you really see individuality in what some people wear.