Shibuya’s Genki Sushi!

It’s been a while since I last documented one of my sushi adventures. I mentioned that in April and May I may have or may have not consumed mountains of sushi, but unfortunately didn’t give any info on where you can get some of this raw fish deliciousness. I won’t be selfish and I’ll share some fun sushi spots around Tokyo. I have already described my impromptu sushi adventure in Omotesando some time ago, so today it’s time I showed you one place in Shibuya I frequently visit. 

GENKI SUSHI in SHIBUYA

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ADDRESS:

 24-8, 1F, Leisure Plaza Bld.,

Udagawa-cho, Shibuya-ku,

Tokyo, Japan, 150-0042

MAP: *click here*

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Upon arrival you’ll get a card with your table number. Find your seat… and you’re ready to order! Genki Sushi is not really a kaiten sushi = conveyor belt sushi restaurant. You place orders using a screen and your food arrives on a tiny plate. Super easy! You can choose whether you want wasabi or not, which is actually great because I’m not really into wasabi‘s pungent taste. 

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THE MENU ( ←click on it)

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 Albacore tuna with black pepper

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Tuna with onion and spicy oil

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 Salmon roe and cucumber

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 Spicy salmon

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 Salmon

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 Shrimp with avocado, onion and mayo

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Salmon with onion and mayo

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Shrimp tempura

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 Egg

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 Dried gourd shavings maki

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 Firefly squid

(if you’re not exactly a fan of food with eyes and tentacles, I can’t wholeheartedly recommend this one…)

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  Cheap sushi chains often have games you can play using the screen used to place orders. I hardly ever win anything, but this time I gave it a go and won this voucher I later exchanged it for a tiny salmon roe sushi ♥

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 Would I recommend this place? It’s really touristy and the ratio of foreign and Japanese customers is probably like 7:3, so if for some reasons you don’t like that kind of place — don’t go there. They do speak English, but if you start speaking Japanese to them, they won’t pretend they didn’t hear it and they won’t continue speaking English ← and that’s definitely a good point. There’s not much interaction with the staff needed, so if all you want is a cheap sushi place with a super easy ordering system — it’s a good place to go!

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Thanks for reading!♥

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Impromptu conveyor belt sushi in Omotesando!

Do Japanese people eat sushi everyday? – No.

Is sushi cheap in Japan? – Yes and no.

Is it possible to find good sushi at a cheap price? – Yes (if you’re not very picky)!

Is supermarket sushi edible? – If you like metallic taste of disappointment – yes.

Have I ever eaten expensive sushi? – Yes. 

How expensive is expensive? – For me it was 3300 yen for 11 pieces of nigirizushi for lunch. 

Was it better than cheap sushi? – We’re comparing apples and oranges here.

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Sushi in Japan is considered festive food, eaten on special occasions. I have been teaching English lessons for over 2 years now and I just repeat what I’ve heard from all my students. I have taught probably well over 300 people by now. I routinely ask them “How often do you eat sushi?” – answers vary, but in 90% of cases I hear “once a month maybe…?” For Japanese people sushi = expensive sushi. Cheap sushi is a snack. I cannot imagine master Jiro Ono — the owner of Sukibayashi Jiro (3 Michelin stars!) — serving crab salad, tuna mayo, seared salmon and cheese nigiri sushi and other rather free interpretations of what sushi should be. Who knows, maybe someday I’ll get a chance to try his amazing sushi worth gazillions of yen…? Well, anyway, the 10th of November was not that day.

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It was rainy and gloomy that day, so when I saw colourful pieces of sushi zooming round a small conveyor belt, I thought “Why not! I haven’t had sushi in aaaages!”….

…..so here it is — my impromptu conveyor belt sushi adventure.

HEIROKU SUSHI

 5-8-5 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo 150-0001

→map←

heiroku.jp

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You noticed the English text on the blackboard? Omotesando is a touristy area and I got a feeling that this place would serve touristy sushi too. There were at least 5 foreigners there, including myself, and that really doesn’t happen that often. Not everyone likes it, so I’m warning you now — in a place like this, they WILL try to speak English to you because you’re a foreigner.

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MENU

(you can click on it to enlarge it)

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Tuna salad

It doesn’t exactly look like a definition of scrumptious, but surprisingly it’s really delicious! Looks can be deceiving. 

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Salmon roe ♥

Cheap kaitenzushi chains usually serve ‘fake’ salmon roe, you’ll know if you’re a salmon roe lover. ‘Fake’ salmon roe is too soft and watery, it doesn’t pop in your mouth. Real salmon roe is a bit hard, like tapioca and it pops when you chew it (which is somewhat satisfying… Or am I weird…)

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Fatty salmon and suspicious looking green onion

All the sushi ingredients should be fresh. But then again I shouldn’t complain because this particular sushi cost like ¥130?

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Crab salad

I really don’t know why I chose crab salad sushi as it’s my least favourite. I can’t even count how many times I gave crab a chance and it failed miserably.

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Natto & raw quail eggs & onion

I’m a big fan of natto (fermented soybeans)! I always eat it mixed with raw egg, green onion and some other ingredients and it is really delicious, please believe me! I must share my secret recipe one day — if you dare to try it, there’s actually a pretty big chance you’ll like it!

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Salmon

Who doesn’t love it? Even cheap salmon is good. Not tasty salmon does not exist.

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Torched salmon & onion & mayo

It’s not your usual sushi, but the salmon + onion + mayo combination is just perfect! Sometimes I’m wondering what ancient Japanese would say seeing today’s wild sushi variations though.

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Overall!

It’s not my usual restaurant review, since this kaitenzushi wasn’t Final Fantasy themed, had no Rilakkumas whatsoever, and didn’t even have toilet-shaped dishes. Just your usual kaitenzushi chain. The place has a great location — right on the main Omotesando street, surrounded by big brands, perfect! They have a menu in English, their staff speaks some English (and will not hesitate to use it), it’s nice and clean and everything….BUT! If you are looking for budget sushi — find Kurazushi or Sushiro. Wider selection, even lower prices and a fun ordering system. I guess they’ll be the next in line to be reviewed by shichijyuuni.com!

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Thanks for reading and if you happen to have visited this place, let me know what you think of it! ♥ (and any restaurant recommendations would be appreciated!)

EORZEA Cafe — Final Fantasy themed restaurant in Akihabara!

I have a horrible confession to make — I don’t play any video games, I don’t watch anime, I don’t read manga. It’s not that I don’t like them or think they’re inferior to the traditional culture of Japan and I absolutely don’t take pride in not-liking them — it’s just, I don’t know, I was more into visual kei, fashion and history. It doesn’t mean that Akihabara bores me, no! It’s quite the opposite. Because I never got into that culture myself, it’s really interesting for me to see it. And I get to see it in the place of it’s origin, which makes it even better. In my last blog update I mentioned watching Ghibli Studio cartoons for the first time at the age of 19, which I regret hadn’t happened earlier. I quickly realized there was so much more to see, learn and discover and movies and cartoons were a good way to do that. After absolutely magical Ghibli creations, I decided to get a glimpse of the world of fantasy made in Japan. And that was when I watched Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. I’ll be honest here — I don’t remember much, but I do remember I liked it. Is it a good enough reason to check out the new Final Fantasy themed restaurant in Akihabara? Of course it is!

 

 ♥

FINAL FANTASY EORZEA Cafe

PASELA RESORTS AKIBA Multi Entertainment 2F
1-1-10 Soto-Kanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Opening times: 11:30-22:00

(actually, what served as in inspiration here was Final Fantasy XIV, not Final Fantasy VII)

website (JP)

map (you should check it carefully, even though it’s like 3 minutes from AKB station, I still managed to get lost)

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I have to admit that I don’t have enough knowledge about Final Fantasy to try and pretend to be an expert here, so I will resort to some reliable sources I’ve found online.

→ Final Fantasy Wiki ←

“Square Enix and Pasela’s collaborated Eorzea Cafe is a Final Fantasy XIV themed cafe located in Tokyo’s Akihabara. Opened 31st July 2014, the cafe is modeled after the Carline Canopy, an in-game location, and is named after Eorzea, the region where Final Fantasy XIV takes place. The décor uses details from the game, such as weapons, armor, and moogles, as well as a giant map of the world. The cafe has computers where patrons can play the game. The food and drinks served at the cafe are Final Fantasy themed; the menu has 33 articles of food, and 28 articles of drink. Many of the drinks are named and presented after alchemy recipes familiar from the game.”

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 The restaurant is located on the 2nd floor of Pasela Resorts, just a stone’s throw away from Akihabara Station. When we finally arrived at the 2nd floor, ready to grab some of that Final Fantasy inspired noms, two nice ladies greeted us and asked if we had a reservation, which, apparently we did not have. One of the ladies asked when would be good for us, 4PM or 7PM, and then I realized that I should have probably checked their website before actually turning up at the place. What we should have known about but we had no idea at that time was….

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….THIS.

Don’t repeat my mistake and be aware that there are actualy only 4 tours when clients can come in and enjoy the real-world Eorzea for a limited time of 2 hours.

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 We could take as many photos as we pleased and naturally I took the opportunity to snap a million shots, so here’s my photo guide for all of you who plan to visit Eorzea Cafe.

Weapons hanging on the walls, looking cool and stuff.

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Some more weapons, magic creatures and probably a video of the game being played by someone.

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Eat delicious food and play Final Fantasy aka geek paradise! I don’t play computer games myself, but I think this idea is pretty darn awesome.

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THIS IS COOL.

Voted the best restaurant interior element I’ve seen to date. (Voted by me and only me.)

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Magic potions being made….

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Moogles! It was the first time to actually see these creatures, but look how adorable they are! Awwwwww ♥

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Time to take a look at the…

MENU!

 

Drinks like Garuda, Bahamut, Titan, Good King Moggle Mog, Leviathan, Odin… Sounds familar? Yes or no, you’ll have fun choosing from a rather rich menu.

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Our magic potions ♥

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 FOOD!

Pizza named after Infrit — a powerful demon “with control over scorching flames hot enough to turn the whole world to ashes”? Or Camp Bentbranch vegetable quiche? Feeling like nibbling on something sweet? How about Moogle honey toast then?

<I may not know much about FFXIV but I did my research>

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And my magnificent 岩神タイタンの大地の重み! It can be translated as Titan Yagami and the weight of the Earth…? Anyway, it was pretty decent! Not the best burger I’ve had in my life, but they bought me with that fancy Titan seaweed. Remember, if you want to impress me, get me some Titan seaweed.

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If you feel you’re so hungry you could eat a horse, don’t order the steak. Japan is the country of miniature stuff, miniature dogs, furniture, apartments. And steaks.

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FREE STUFF!

 Every time we placed an order, each of us got a coaster. Since we placed quite a few, we ended up with like 20 of them. I still don’t know what to do with them, but YAY freebies!

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All in all! Going there was fun and I really liked the interior. I mean, look again at that stained glass thing. The weapons, the Moogle statues, and the coolest thing I’ve ever seen in a restaurant — actual gaming PCs! The food and drinks were okay, a bit pricy though, but I expected that, no surprises here. As a person, who knows nothing about FFXIV I enjoyed my experience at EORZEA Cafe. I can only imagine how exciting it has to be for the fans!

Final verdict: RECOMMEND!

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Big thanks to this lovely couple, Kim and Micky, for being such lovely companions! Thank you guys for everything!

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 Thanks for reading and please let me know if you decide to check out Eorzea Cafe after reading my thoughts ♥

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You can also follow me on Instagram, Facebook (← I will soon hold a giveaway!) and YouTube — though I don’t have anything there yet, there will be some fun videos coming in the near future so stay tuned!

Toilet themed restaurant in Ximending, Taipei!

Have you ever travelled alone? Most likely many of you will answer yes to that, but I still get that shocked/surprised/admiring sort of look when I mention it here, in Japan. As you may know many Japanese people are not really the type of people who love venturing off the beaten track and you may often see them in bigger groups following a gaido-san. I think I now understand why many Japanese do that though. This time I booked my trip to Taipei through a travel agency (mainly because it’s really quick and convenient) and I even joined one tour (for the same reason)! Let’s say that being the only foreigner in a group of like 30 Japanese tourists was an interesting experience. But this is not a post about that! Anyway… My point is — I really enjoyed travelling by myself this time. I could go wherever I wanted, set my own schedule, visit any store or restaurant that seemed interesting to me.

There was one particular place that I’ve been wanting to visit for some time, and I wasn’t sure if I’d ever get a chance to actually go and find it if I went to Taipei with friends… Not everybody wants to eat their lunch while sitting on a toilet, at a table made from old sink basins, drink from a urinal and eat from a toilet bowl.

I wouldn’t be myself if I hadn’t tried it, though.

Modern Toilet 便所主题餐厅

 108, Taiwan, 台北市萬華區西寧南路50巷7號2樓

2F, No.50-7 Xining South Road

Taipei Ximending

WEBSITE

(this place just asks for lame puns, but I’ll stop myself, I promise)

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  Have you ever thought that poop could be cute? No? Take a look and think again.

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 ⇑

 Before usage of smartphones became so widespread, people had to spend their time reading something interesting while doing their business. If there was no newspaper around, a shampoo label had to suffice. Don’t tell me you can’t relate. I wouldn’t believe you anyway.

What I liked about this offbeat Taipei gem was that everything from the cutlery to the interior lived up to the name of the place — Modern Toilet. When I visited Rilakkuma Cafe in Shibuya, I was a bit disappointed seeing only a few simple Rilakkumas there. But here… it was a whole different story. Bathtub tables, toilet seat chairs, bathroom tiles on the walls. There was even a toilet bowl serving as a sink! That’s what I call a proper theme restaurant.

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You know what would’ve been funny? They should have left the covers open… Now that would’ve been so comfy!

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What was very new to me and surprised me in Taiwan was the way of ordering food at restaurants. There are menus of course, but waiters won’t come to you to take your order. You have to fill out an order sheet and go to the counter.  It left me really confused when I ordered food for the first time, like an hour after I arrived at Taipei. I had to ask other customers to help me, because I couldn’t figure out the order sheet by myself. Luckily all the staff members at Modern Toilet spoke fluent English and they explained everything nicely.

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THE MENU

Don’t expect Taiwanese food. Modern Toilet offers dishes like spaghetti, curry,  pork / chicken cutlets and other very usual stuff.  The waiter who served me recommended their curry but I imagined brown, watery sauce in a toilet bowl… aaand I ordered spicy Thai chicken.

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A bowl of rice, soup and salad and a toilet bowl of spicy Thai chicken, followed by chocolate ice cream in a lovely poop shape. (I don’t want to be gross, but have you ever seen a poop shaped like that? Well, I haven’t and I’m wondering where did it come from?)


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All that poopness… I mean goodness (excuse me while I bathe in the superiority of my most magnificent pun) for only 260 NT which is only about 900 yen. I say only because theme restaurants in Japan are ridiculously expensive and I’m sure that if Modern Toilet ever decide to expand to Japan, they’ll cash in heavy piles of yen.

 

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The chicken was quite good I must say! Green tea and seaweed soup I got as a set meal didn’t really have much taste, but I’ll repeat what I usually say when I review theme restaurants — it’s not the food you’re paying for so enjoy your unique experience!

 

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It’s understandable that you’d like to have a souvenir from such a unique place like Modern Toilet. T-shirts with cute poop prints, a urinal serving as a mug (ummm…nope), a toilet bowl plate, a tiny toilet speaker, Hello Kitty reading a book while riding the porcelain bus… Best examples of how to convert crap into money!

 

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Final verdict…Well, I wouldn’t go there again. It’s a nice once-in-a-lifetime experience (if you consider eating out of a toilet bowl as something that you can count as nice experience), but let’s be honest here — it definitely is not a place that has some unique magical atmosphere that will make you want to come back. Either way, I love theme restaurants and I’m glad that I got a chance to visit this particular odd place. It will all make great stories for my grandchildren one day. And in case I lose the photos, I got myself this glamorous yellow poop mug to have as a tangible proof of my visit.

Thank you for reading and I wish you happy everyday!♥

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Rilakkuma Cafe in Shibuya ♥

“Nowadays, kawaii is used as description of general positive features of humans, animals, objects and phenomena. It helps to describe people and things that are not only pretty, attractive, nice, sweet and graceful, but also innocent, weak, helpless, tiny, even a little bit pathetic. In simple terms, it mainly refers to what is cute in a childish, immature manner, therefore arousing admiration. It may be a clumsy kitten, which has just fallen from the couch, a stuffed animal attached to a purse, a soft, big-eyed mascot without lips, a pink toaster, a furry photo frame or a ribbon attached to one’s hair. Also included in the term are things naturally tiny or the miniatures of what in nature is large and dangerous, e.g. smaller versions of wild animals such as elephants, hippos, bears. Soft and fluffy creatures like kittens, puppies, pandas, koala bears, bunnies, small seals are absolutely adorable for the Japanese.

The world of design is ruled by the same aesthetic. Kanako Shiokawa puts it aptly: “Kawaii lies in stylistic simplification, especially in terms of roundness”. Adding daintiness, picturesqueness and childish connotations to that definition, we get a basic tutorial on how to turn something into the quintessence of cute. By analogy, round-shaped objects with soft edges, devoid of spikes and sharp elements, rule all fields of industry, where kawaii has become a main factor in attracting customers.”

–a short fragment from my graduation thesis titled “The aesthetics of kawaii and its influence on everyday life in Japan” 

An adorable, lovable, sweet as sugar, soft and big-eyed stuffed bear? Ladies and gentlemen, I present you the quintessence of kawaii – Rilakkuma!

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Japan is the Kingdom of the Cute, no doubts about it. There’s Sanrio Puroland here – a Hello Kitty theme park, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu the Kawaii Princess, extremely popular mascots like Kumamon and Funnasyi. This summer Tower Records Cafe collaborated with San-X and the outcome was this lovely cafe that I’m about to show you!

Tower Records Shibuya, Rilakkuma Cafe

 1-22-14 Jinnan, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

5 minute walk from Shibuya station (JR Yamanote, Tokyo Metro Ginza, Hanzomon, Fukutoshin Lines)

Limited opening time — 2014/7/10 to 8/17!

 

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The cafe is on the second floor of Tower Records in Shibuya and there’s actually a bookstore there. And since the presence of books is somewhat calming, the cafe also had this rilakksing atmosphere going on! (pun so intended it hurts)

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 So much chubby cuteness ♥

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 As you can see there were quite a few customers there! There’s a time limit though (one hour or one and a half hour?) so you can be sure there will be a table for you too.

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  If you’re a fan of Rilakkuma you’ll know that there are countless series and special editions like “Space Rilakkuma”, “Picnic with Rilakkuma”, “Bathing Rilakkuma”, “Sleeping Rilakkuma”, “Baseball Rilakkuma”, “Sailor Rilakkuma”, “Strawberry Cake Rilakkuma”…As I am writing this I am sitting on a “Nap on a cloud Rilakkuma” pillow. I thought that Tower Record could use it and decorate the cafe with different Rilakkumas, but maybe they wanted to keep it simple?

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 THE MENU!

As you can see the choice is rather limited, but the cafe is there for a short time only, so let’s be understanding. We have some übercute curry with Rilakkuma sleeping on a scrambled eggs pillow and  two dessert sets: Rilakkuma caramel mousse and Rilakkuma apricot baked cheesecake. As for drinks, you can get super adorable Irish milk coffee (aka sweet milk). All that goodness at rather steep prices but you only live once, yo.

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 Not only was it cute but it tasted really lovely!

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If you can handle some more of that kawaiiness, be sure to check out Rilakkuma Cafe’s souvenir store!

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Of all things cute Japan is drowning in, Rilakkuma has to be my favourite. If you feel the same way about the plumpy brown bear, check out the cafe the next time you find yourself in Shibuya. Trust me, that Rilakkuma curry will make an awesome Instagram post 😀

 

Thank you for reading!♥

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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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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.

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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! ♥