Tokyo in Snapshots: Akihabara Electric Town and Gundam Cafe!

Akihabara is everything you think that it is— and more! Yes, it’s full of manga and anime. Yes, it’s a real kingdom of electronic devices and games. Yes, AKB48 are the goddesses here (well, not only here, but this is where they started from, so I guess it’s a ‘special’ place for the fans). And finally yes, it is full of otaku,  maid cafes and barely dressed anime characters on every corner.

Akihabara was the first place I visited when I came to Japan. The sky was grey and I was terribly sleepy because of jet lag. I ate my first tsukemen which cost me about 800 yen and at that time I thought “I’m gonna go bankrupt here!”…What else? Oh, I remember! I was looking for a wi-fi spot just so that I could check-in at Akihabara on Facebook (“Everybody has to know I’m in AKB YASSSSSS!”). Ironically, it wasn’t easy to find such a spot though! You would think, Akihabara = internet everywhere, but well, not really. In any case, I went back to Akihabara many times after that. I taught English at a cafe, I visited my beloved Donki (AKB’s Donki was the only one I knew at that time), I left a substantial amount of money at Yodobashi Camera. Oh and how could I forget the most delicious ramen I have ever had? It’s in AKB too! I’ll be sure to show you that place because the ramen there is insanely delicious.

Since I moved a bit further away from the Ueno/Akihabara area, I haven’t had as many chances to visit the Otaku Town. This time I went back to find some interesting things I could show you and Akihabara didn’t disappoint me. It never does!

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Akihabara 秋葉原

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If you choose the Electric Town Exit, you’ll be greeted by video game arcades, ubiquitous photos of AKB48 and anime characters. All this cuteness can make you dizzy, but the atmosphere is none the less absolutely unique.

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I need to admit that I am not a big fan of manga or anime. Of course I have watched classics like Ghost in the ShellBarefoot Gen and most of the Ghibli animations, but somehow… I don’t know, I just never really got into it that much. I still enjoy walking the streets of AKB though. Japanese people say it’s too weird, too expensive and too overrated. It’s like a younger clumsy brother of Nakano Broadway, which is a real deal for hardcore anime lovers  (read more about Nakano Broadway → here←).

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Boobs, short skirts and zettai ryouki

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Comic book stores, Japanese idol CD stores, and yes, of course, countless maid cafes. No, I have never been to one. High school students wearing maid costumes, speaking in an unnaturally high-pitched voice, infantilizing themselves to serve as some sort of fetishy entertainment for anime loving guys? No, thanks, maybe…umm…someday.

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You may think that the Donki at AKB should have even more weird unusual stuff than other Donkis… It does have lots of anime stuff, anime slippers, anime wine bottles, anime whatever you want, AKB48 merchandise, pillow girlfriends and other items you could find in a “How To Become Otaku for Dummies — Starter Kit”, if such a thing existed.

Wait, it’s Japan. It probably does.

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Gachapon machines on the street! They were a hit in Poland when I was a kid. I still remember 10-year old me buying those gross rubber hands in gachapons we had in Poland. They looked like giant snots and you could stick them to walls which made it more fun.  How could I know that about 13 years later I would find myself buying half-naked anime figurines from machines on the streets of Akihabara?

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And what do we have over here…..?

….GUNDAM CAFE Akihabara!

11 Kanda Hanaokacho
Chiyoda, Tokyo
(or just take the Showa Dori exit, it’s on the right, next to the AKB48 cafe!)

 

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The cafe has a really nice atmosphere going on! The mechanical mascot Haro and some mini pink Gundam robots. It feels like a spaceship and you can watch some Gundam episodes on a large screen TV. Actually, some people seemed to have come there only for the TV. Maybe this is the reason why there’s a time limit in the cafe? Apparently, you can’t stay there longer than 2 hours. Enough to watch a few episodes though!

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Fancy drink bar with Gundam characters and the mobile suit itself!

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THE MENU

Everything looked yummy! Curry and taco-rice-ish dishes at reasonable prices? Fried rice with chicken wings shaped like a Gundam spaceship?  MS-06 Zaku II and ACGUY curry rice? Gundam SEED hashed beef rice? Sounds awesome! I decided to get Kira no hayashi raisu = Kira hashed beef.

This is how they described the dish:

ガンダムSEEDの主人公、キラ・ヤマトをイメージした、力強い味わいのハヤシライスです。 トリィを表した温泉卵とチーズがキラの優しさのようなまろやかな味に仕上げます。 しっかり食べたいあなたに。

“Strong-flavoured hashed beef rice with the main character of Gundam SEED – Kira Yamato. A soft-boiled egg and cheese representing Torii (a lime green bird-robot) give off a flavour so mellow, like Kira’s personality” — if that doesn’t sound mouth-watering, I don’t know what does.

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…and apparently this is what Kira’s personality looks like. In the world of Photoshop I guess I shouldn’t be really surprised seeing that the reality is a bit different from the photograph, but well…I still can’t say it was half as good as I had imagined it. It was decent. But Japanese soft-boiled eggs are to die for so I’ll be generous this time and give them 6 out of 10.

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The coffee was surprisingly good though! If you’re not a fan of curry, grab a latte! And just look at that adorable chibi Gundam Tencho (=Manager Gundam) ♥

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I guess that the main hero at Gundam Cafe is Gundam of course, the food is only an addition. Well, if that works for them and brings them clients, why should I complain? I had a decent lunch and a good coffee and I didn’t break the bank! If you’re a fan of Gundam — I’m sure you’ll go there. If  not — well, if you happen to be in AKB and crave some curry, why not stop by the Gundam Cafe?

Whatever they say about AKB — no one can deny that it grew to be one of the symbolic towns of Tokyo.

Thank you for stopping by and reading my thoughts !

***

Oh Akihabara….

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Tattoos in Japan: Tattoo ♥ Girls vol.13

Muggy July night, 2013. I finished work at about 9 PM and went back to Kita-Senju, where I lived at that time. There was one bookstore I liked to visit. I rarely bought anything, I was just one of the many people browsing through magazines in silence. That night I saw a magazine called “Tattoo♥Girls” and naturally, it caught my eye. Well, I’m a tattooed girl, let’s check it out. I bought it, went back home and placed myself comfortably on the couch. Okay, let’s see what this magazine has to offer. My first impression? Actually…I was a bit disappointed. I imagined a magazine like some of the European ones, with beautifully styled models covered in tattoos from head to toe, posing professionally. I thought I’d find lots of ideas for half-sleeves, full body wabori designs etc. What I was looking at was a photo collection (well, locally called a mook actually, magazine + book) of girls I saw everyday. With the only difference — they had tattoos. The tattoos though… Most of the designs were tiny and hidden. Anyway, I’d like to say thank you to whoever came up with the idea to publish a magazine like this. The idea is brilliant.

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I rarely saw tattooed people on the streets of Tokyo, and if that actually happened, they usually happened to be Japanese guys or foreigners. Tattooed girls in Japan — do they even exist? I am really glad I bought the magazine that night. I saw cute snapshots of Japanese girls and their lovely tattoos. Well yeah, like I said,  most of them were very small, so-called ‘one point’ tats, but each to their own right? The magazine gave me a great insight into the tattoo culture of Japan. You won’t find wabori tattoos here, no. You’ll find cats, dolls, stars, quotes, butterflies, cherry blossom petals. Lots of initials of beloved people, dates of some memorable moments, pet names, places. All kinds of lovely stuff.

I would have never thought that counting one year from that night, I would find myself on one of the pages of “Tattoo♥Girls”.

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/translation/

Tattoo designs: stars, cherry blossom, Sailor Moon planetary symbols, maneki neko, kokeshi

Studios where I got them: Tattoo Studio LaRuche, tattoo artist Betty; studios in Poland

“I love Japan so I got a lot of Japanese designs tattooed on my body♪ Recently I got this Sailor Moon tattoo! Looking at it takes me back to the time when I was a child. My favourite tattoo is the kokeshi one! I’m planning on adding a goldfish and a daruma tattoo to my quarter sleeve kokeshi tattoo soon!”

(let me just tell you that I’ve told them quite a lot about my tattoos, it was kind of an interview. They asked me many questions like “When did you get your first tattoo? Why? Why did you choose stars for your first tattoos?” or “What advice could you give to other girls who want to get a tattoo?” etc.)

I thought I could translate the page dedicated to LaRuche — so you could see for yourself why I chose them among others.

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“Tattoo Studio LaRuche — a cozy and welcoming studio, frequently visited by girls thinking “I want to be beautiful!”.

In fact, about 80% of clients choosing LaRuche are female! In the shop we can see photos of beautiful tattoos previous customers got, showing us that every girl can be a model. What tattoo will make you shine? An exquisitely balanced tattoo created by Betty, who gets her inspirations from everything around her and who is well-aware of the anatomy of the human body — which is significant for a tattoo artist.

“The tattoo outline, the colour that matches your physique and highlights its beauty can change your attitude towards yourself, it can make you feel better” — she says.  “I think that the sense of balance is important in tattoos. In the Japanese art of tattooing, the way the customer sees the world — their point of view – is what we give our thoughts to the most”. It is not only about bringing a photo of a design you want — describe how you imagine it, tell Betty what feelings should your tattoo convey and it’ll serve as an inspiration for an original tattoo. Taking it from there, she will create a unique design only for you.

Moreover, Betty is talking about unconventional tattoos and colour combinations for those who want to express more through their tattoos: “While drawing on paper is limitless — the human body has its limits, therefore we always try to suggest unique colour gradation to make your tattoo vividly charming; using white ink we can make your tattoo so bold that it’ll seem to pop out in 3D. What is more, there are many clients who want a fashionable tattoo and of course, before we choose the right place for the tattoo we think it through very thoroughly” — the way your tattoo will cooperate with your fashion is of the highest importance here. You can also have a proper photo shoot in the studio as an added bonus! Looking at the photos, you will see very clearly how beautiful you have become. It’s an ‘if you go there once, you’ll definitely be back’  kind of studio!

You can read more about my tattoos and my experience with Tattoo Studio LaRuche →here ←

Also! If you’d like to book an appointment at LaRuche, ask them about prices, or need someone to go there with you to translate for you – please contact me!

⇓⇓

shichijyuuni.gmail.com

or here

tattoo.laruche@gmail.com

..and if you’ve ever wondered what tattoos are popular / common in Japan — here’s the answer! I shared only a few snapshots though, not to reveal too much of the magazine contents — it’s worth reading so get your own copy ASAP (if you get a chance and if you’re interested in the topic of course!). It’ll be on sale until July 2015, so you’ll have the whole year to get your hands on “Tattoo♥ Girls”!

Some common designs

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My personal favourites

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Tiny and cute — what most Japanese girls get inked

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Thank you for reading! ♥

(by the way, I made a Facebook page for my blog — like it for updates, sneak peeks and extra stuff! → Shichijyuuni Blog)

the 12th of July♥

shichijyuunishichi – 7, jyuuni – 12. 7月12日. The 12th of July.

 I came to Japan on the 12th of July 2012. I flew from London to Beijing, where I had to wait for about 4 hours, and from there I flew to Tokyo.  I remember that the airport in Beijing smelled like soy sauce, it was huge and empty. After another 4 hour flight I was in Tokyo. It felt kind of strange, knowing that I just arrived at the country I’d been dreaming about since I was 16.

I had  never been in Japan before, I had only imagined walking through the streets I had seen in movies or guide books. And then, after years of imagining, I was actually in the land of my dreams. I think I kind of couldn’t believe I was actually here in the flesh. At Narita Airport I thought “It’s not as humid as everybody told me it would be”. Then I went outside, and I understood what they were talking about. It felt like sauna, heavy sweet air seemed to stick to my body. So these will be my first memories, wow. The sound of cicadas, the ubiquitous monotonous female voice repeating the same announcements over and over again, very serious train station officers, and jet lag. And super clean cars. Seriously, every car here looks like it’s new (coming from a country where people wash their cars like once a year, yeah, that was surprising).

Yup, these are my first memories.

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2012

Beautiful Odaiba, where watching the sun go down will leave you mesmerized (and then you will find out that Odaiba is actually built on top of a pile of rubbish and the magic will be gone forever). Japanese supermarkets, where you’ll have everything you have ever dreamt of buying. Everyday sushi? I could finally have it. Chewing gum with millions of flavours, colourful bentosenbei, sashimi, all that goodnes just 5 minutes away from the guest house I was staying in. My first summer festival wearing a yukata. Cheap geta sandals made walking as painful as it gets, but it was worth it. Izakaya and suspiciously thin beer. Don Quijote! I wish I could remember what I thought when I went to my beloved Donki for the first time and saw some stuffed bums and boob towels hanging from chains. Oh Donki, you’ll always have a special place in my heart. Awesome Japanese food! Believe it or not, the very first time I had gyudon (cheap beef bowl rice) at Matsuya, I thought “Holy crap this is DELICIOUSSSS, I’m gonna eat it everyday” (and I actually did for some time…). *team Matsuya here, Yoshinoya doesn’t hold a stick to it*

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 Akihabara! I actually went there the next day and had my first (oh so delicious) tsukemen there. So many random memories…Asakusa, that’s where I got my very first omikuji, I wish I had kept it. Tokyo Tower with Zojoji Temple, such a beautiful and peaceful place! And the sky over Japan in the summer — it has this unreal azure colour. Like a Ghibli animation.

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2013

 

Living the life of a working person. Wearing a suit everyday, not much time for fun stuff.  I experienced my first hanami in Ueno Park,where thousands of people celebrated the coming of spring. Ueno Park — full of cockroaches, homeless people and shady guys. I love it.

Rainy season again! There are two things I associate with the rainy season: frizzy hair and the cockroach paranoia which means walking with your head down most of the time, because you’re checking if there are any of those ugly black creatures on the ground, so you can either avoid stepping on them or step on them intentionally. My 23rd birthday spent in Harajuku… if anyone had told me a few years back, that all this was going to happen, I never would’ve believed them.

Finally first real vacation! Fukuoka, Nagasaki, Okinawa. It was hot as hell but heavenly beautiful. 2013 passed so fast… I moved into a proper apartment, visited Korea, got a beautiful kokeshi tattooed on my right arm… Too many things to list! And you see, that’s why I love tattoos. When I’m old and wrinkled, I’ll take a look at them and I’ll remember that time when I was living my dream in Japan.

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Cat cafes, Tokyo Sky Tree, Tokyo by night, kimono photo shoot… Sumidagawa fireworks! My friend and I spent 2 hours getting dolled up just to end up soaking wet in the pouring rain. The fireworks got cancelled and I had the longest walk in the rain, wearing a wig and a yukata, with Tokyo Sky Tree in the background. In July 2013 I started volunteering and I consider it to be one of the best things I have ever done.

Best memories.

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2014

And this year? Let’s see… I met some of the loveliest people on the planet, discovered more of the amazing places around Tokyo, started some new hobbies. Got some more beautiful tattoos… and I appeared in a magazine called “Tattoo Girls” — as you may have guessed, it’s about tattooed girls and it’s the only magazine of this type in Japan. Stay tuned because I’m going to post some scans here!

Such happy 7 months in 2014!

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The largest city in the world has been so kind to me this far. I still have a lot to learn, to see, to explore and experience.

What are your first memories? First impression of Tokyo or any other place in Japan? If you haven’t been here yet, how do you imagine Japan and life here? Share your thoughts in a comment!

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Thank you for reading!♥

Coffee Prince コーヒープリンス– a lovely cafe in Shin-Okubo ♥

Are you a fan of Korean dramas? If the answer is YES then you’ll definitely know a drama about a girl who pretends to be a boy in order to get a job at an all-boy staff cafe — “Coffee Prince”. If the answer is NO then no worries, I admit I haven’t seen any Korean drama yet either. I kind of knew that a show like this existed, but that would be pretty much where my knowledge ended. Before writing this blog update I did some more reasearch and discovered that the cafe that I’m about to show you is not just a random coffee place. It is actually meant to be a replica of the real cafe used on the set of  the aforementioned drama! Let’s check and see if the Shin-Okubo replica conveys the atmosphere of the Hongdae original.

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The original “Coffee Prince”

I have been to Hongdae (Seoul) but most probably I just didn’t pay too much attention to cute cafes (there were hundreds of them! I think there’s a cafe on literally every corner of Seoul). I’ll be sure to visit the place next time I’m in the Land of the Morning Calm though. If you happen to be in Seoul or you’re planning to, check out this website (it’s in Korean though!):

Coffee Prince coffee shop: http://www.hongdaeya.com/?document_srl=7919

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image from: hongdaeya.com

 

 …and here’s the copy in Shin-Okubo!

Coffee Prince

コーヒープリンス  커피프린스

Tokyo, Shinjuku, Hyakunincho, 2 Chome−2−3, TRN新大久保ビル3

 

It has everything I like: good coffee, nice atmosphere, very charming staff and good music. And you can always enjoy karaoke on the 4th floor, after you finish your coffee! By the way, here’s one song I heard in the cafe and one of the waiters was kind enough to write down the title for me so I could find it later: Epitone Project – 오늘 (Today)

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According to some posters we can find on the wall outside the cafe, if you go there early enough you’ll get toast for free. Yay for free toast!

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What is the concept of “Coffee Prince”? Let me quote Wikipedia here: “In order to attract female customers, he [the owner] only hires good-looking male employees” (⇐about the drama series). That would explain why all staff members are male (and yes, they really are handsome) and why 99% of customers are female.

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 The original interior of the cafe in Hongdae

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image from: hongdaeya.com

 

…and Shin-Okubo’s (in my opinion successful) attempt to create a similar mood.

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 Hongdae

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image from: hongdaeya.com

Shin-Okubo (great job copying the sunflowers!)

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The menu!

A few words from myself: it is not a cheap cafe. You might actually be a little disappointed after you pay over ¥600 and get a coffee that would be called “short” at Starbucks. Their desserts are delicious though, and actually the “couple set” is a rather good deal! As it is in the case of most of the cafes in Shin-Okubo, it’s not only coffee and desserts you’re paying for — it’s the relaxing atmosphere, good music and lovely customer service too.

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Bubble tea with puffy cats. Waffles with kiwi, bananas, vanilla ice cream and strawberry sauce. And the cutest of all the Ghibli creatures – chocolate Totoro as a bonus!

Too cute to eat them…but way too tempting not to.

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 ⇑(notice happy cutlery on the right…)

Naturally, we had a small photo session before drinking these lovely puffy cat bubble teas. Who wouldn’t?

Here’s my friend Madoka being cute ♥

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Some more of the lovely chocolate sauce art

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Frog Shin-chan! If you haven’t seen at least one episode of Shin-chan – a 5-year old who loves showing his bum – you’re missing out big time.

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 ⇑

That was actually a couple set — two drinks of your choice, waffles with ice cream and choux cream with sweet beans and Oreo cookies ♥

Boys do come to this cafe, but I guess they’re almost always accompanied by their girfriends, hence the couple set.

***

The Hongdae shop has some cute window art going on…

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image from: wikipedia.org

…and so does the Shin-Okubo one. And it’s really adorable!

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If you’re a fan of Korean dramas and “Coffee Prince” in particular – check it out! If you like quiet cafes where you can spend a few hours sipping on your coffee, looking outside the window and enjoying good music – this is the place! If you’re a connoisseur of stylish, tall and handsome Korean men — they’re waiting for you right over here at this cafe! If you like waffles and like to instagram your food because it’s cute — it’s a must go! I feel like I should have some kind of a scale, like 1 to 10 so….I’d give this place a whopping 9! Let’s say it’s on the pricey side in Shin-Okubo, but you’ll most likely be back once you check it out!

(If you ever decide to try out any of the places I’ve recommended, please let me know in a comment!)

Thank you for reading! ♥

How to: Budget fashion in Tokyo aka Lookbook vol. 1

I think there’s this myth that Japan is the most expensive place on the face of the Earth. Well… it’s not! Unless you’re a fan of Louis Vuitton and refuse to wear nothing but high brand clothes, when you go shopping here you can fill your closet with hundreds of super cheap items, which don’t necessarily look that cheap. Actually, I don’t spend a heap of money on clothes I’ll probably wear just one season. I’d rather go to an interesting restaurant, hang out with my friends in some cool places, save up money for a trip or stuff like that. When I was a kid, my mother would take me to second-hand shops and we would spend ages digging through piles of clothes in search of a gem. When I was a student, it was actually necessary, because the lion’s share of my savings was spent on rent / books /food. I still love sales, cheap fashion stores, thrift shops, flea markets etc. and Tokyo is like a treasure trove for that kind of thing. Here’s my humble attempt to show you how to do budget fashion in Japan (there will be more posts to come, so stay tuned if you’re interested in that topic!).

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I had 8 days off in June, so here’s my 8 cheap outfits for each of those days.

1.

top: Topshop, about ¥1400

my absolutely favourite jeans shorts: Mustang, bought second-hand for ¥1990 at WEGO Harajuku

creepers platform shoes: Nadia, bought second-hand for ¥2000 at MODE OFF

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2.

 

top: bought in Harajuku for ¥2000

ripped jeans: WEGO, about ¥4000

boots: okay, that one time I treated myself to some Jeffrey Campbell Lita boots I’ve dreamt about for ages. But! I got them on sale for ¥14,000 instead of ¥25,000! And here’s one piece of advice, if you’d like to lay your hands on new Litas or other JC boots, be sure to go to Laforet Harajuku someday between 7/24 and 7/28 and grab them for almost half the price! As far as I know there are only two big sales at Laforet; New Year and Summer sales. I’ll be there!

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3.

top: ridiculously cheap GU t-shirt, ¥500 or so

skirt: GU again, about ¥1200

boots: Glad News, bought second-hand at my favourite thrift shop — Jumble Store for ¥1900! (market price over ¥10,000)

bag: random temporary store at Marui shopping center in my town, ¥999

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4.

 

shirt: GU, about ¥1200

skirt: GU, about ¥500

(look at the prices of the clothes on the right!)

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5.

 

sweater: GU, about ¥800

sneakers I bought ages ago: random cheap clothing store in Nippori, ¥990

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6.

 glasses: ABAB Ueno, ¥1000 (ABAB shopping center, a few floors are a cheapskate’s paradise… there are many other ridiculously cheap clothing stores in Ueno, though)

top: Forever 21, ¥880

platform sneakers: Jouetie, bought second hand at Jumble Store  for ¥3300

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7.

 

top: WEGO, ¥800

boots: Jeanasis, about ¥6000

frizzy hair: humidity, ¥0

…and by the way, this photo was taken in Shimokitazawa — a Mecca for second-hand stores, in fact I’m not even sure if you can buy any new clothes there!

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8.

 

top: Forever 21, bought second hand at Jumble Store for ¥700

skirt: bought second-hand for 400¥ (there’s this awesome second-hand store in Kita-Senju and Shin-Okubo — Shibuya 109 brands and such for ¥400 each!)

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 I’ll be sure to share some of my favourite shopping spots, so any cheapskate like me can find something that will appeal to them.

In the meantime check out these stores — I’ll write about all of them in detail soon!

JUMBLE STORE — I absolutely love it, you can find brand name items at extremely low prices here (Jeffrey Campbell, Marc Jacobs, Jimmy Choo, Joyrich, Alexander Wang, all Shibuya 109 brands, Vivienne Westwood…)

⇓⇓⇓

JUMBLE STORE WEBSITE

MODE OFF — have you ever seen Book OFF? It’s a store with used books and magazines, virtually on every corner in Tokyo. So now imagine a store like Book OFF, but filled with clothes (many brands!)

⇓⇓⇓

MODE OFF (Japanese) 

MODE OFF (English)

Thank you for reading!

Traditional Japanese multi-course meal — kaiseki ryōri restaurant in Nihonbashi!

 If you didn’t know by now, what I do for a living is teach English. Not many people know that I also teach Polish on the side, though. As you may expect, there’s not much demand for Polish speakers in Japan, so I don’t have a whole lot of  students…To be perfectly honest, I only have one! It’s a lovely lady in love with Chopin and the Polish language. I have been teaching her for about one year and a half, and we have actually become good friends. She’s a native-born Tokyoite, so she really knows the best spots around the city. This time she took me to an amazing restaurant in Nihonbashi, where I had an opportunity to try kaiseki ryori for the first time! Beautifully arranged traditional Japanese food, which is a true delight to the palate? Yes, please!

日本橋 皆美 Minami (Nihonbashi)

〒103-0027 Tokyo, Chūō, Nihonbashi, 1−4−1, コレド日本橋4F

Their website: http://www.minami-g.co.jp/nihonbashi/

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There’s one thing you’ll notice quickly. ‘High class’ department stores and (pricey) traditional Japanese restaurants have the same kind of clientele. Apparently, Japanese seniors spend their days on what they didn’t have time for when they were working.

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会席料理 kaiseki ryori is a traditional Japanese meal that consists of many small dishes. The arrangement, the order, the ingredients and even the colour… Everything is thoroughly planned and prepared with the highest precision. Historically, kaiseki ryori cuisine was associated with the imperial court, samurai,  tea ceremony — everything that is truly Japanese. And you can really taste it! Each dish seems to tell a story, flavours meld, creating the ultimate royal feast.

Okay, I ran out of grandiloquent comparisons, so just follow the photos and see for yourself!

The menu

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食前酒 shokuzenshu — aperitif and 先付け sakizuke — appetizer

梅サンゲリアume sangeria ・酢味噌掛け蛍烏賊 sumisogake hotaruika   ・分葱 wakegi  ・ 海老 ebi

plum wine sangria, blue firefly squid with vinegar miso, scallion and shrimp

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Soft firefly squids melt in the mouth

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お椀 owan — literally “a bowl”

雲丹真丈 uni shinjou ・ 椎茸 shiitake ・ 鶴菜 tsuruna ・ 大根  daikon ・ 人参 ninjin 

Soup with a minced sea urchin ball, shiitake mushrooms, New Zealand spinach, a daikon radish and a carrot

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造り tsukuri — raw seafood

 maguro ・ 勘八 kanpachi ・ 甘海老 amaebi ・ 山葵 — wasabi

Tuna, amberjack and pink shrimp sashimi with a little ball of wasabi and perilla garnish

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焼き物 yakimono — flame-broiled fish

鰆のレモン焼きsawara no remon yaki ・ 桜鯛昆布〆寿司 sakuradai konbujime sushi・杏子蜜煮 anzu mitsuni・ 茗荷 myouga 

Flame-broiled Spanish mackerel with a piece of lemon, a little ball shaped sea bream sushi, apricot in honey syrup and  Japanese ginger

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煮物 nimono — simmered food dish

飯蛸 iidako ・竹の子 takenoko・里芋 satoimo ・ 桜麩 sakurafu・ おくら okura

Octopus, bamboo shoots, taro root, a piece of cherry blossom shaped wheat cake and okra plant

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Hidden octopus

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揚げ物 agemono — fried food dish

桜海老と菜の花のかき揚げ sakuraebi to nanohana no kakiage ・ 青唐 aotou    

Sakura shrimp and broccolini tempura with a green chilli pepper on top

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「家伝」鯛めし一式 kaden taimeshi isshiki — some very traditional food with about 150 years of history!

大根おろしdaikon oroshi・ 海苔 nori・ そぼろにした鯛の身 soboronishita tai no mi ・ 裏ごしした卵の黄身 uragoshishita tamago no kimi ・裏ごしした卵の白身 uragoshishita tamago no shiromi ・きざみ葱 kizami negi

 Here we go…grated radish, dried seaweed, minced sea bream, egg yolk puree, egg white puree, chopped green onion. You put a little bit of everything on rice and add a special broth to it. The outcome is like heaven to the taste buds!

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お菓子と抹茶 okashi to matcha — Japanese sweets and green tea

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As you may have already guessed, it is a rather pricy meal (6000 yen  ~ 15,000 yen), but it is definitely worth giving it a go, as a once-in-a-lifetime experience (or twice…or more if you like it and if your wallet doesn’t suffer too much…). Sushi, takoyaki, okonomiyaki, tempura? Cliche! Imagine telling your friends: “I had blue firefly squid in vinegar miso for lunch”. How cool is that! Besides, the restaurant itself is amazing. Absolutely scrumptious food, very relaxing atmosphere and excellent customer service.

Feast for the eyes and delight to the palate!

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Thank you for reading!♥