Day 3 of this expedition was an all day shopping tour. Shortly after breakfast, our group of gaijin headed to the subway station and set on off to the Ginza district.
Our first stop was the Sony Building. Sony was celebrating the 30th anniversary of Michael Jackson’s Bad album. A life-sized cutout of Michael was set on a stage outside the building and people were encouraged to take pictures. I got a photo of myself doing the moonwalk while Mat took a before picture of himself giving “Michael” the bunny ears followed by a photo of himself sprawled out on the ground, unconscious. I guess “Michael” showed him who’s bad.
After perusing and purchasing various knickknacks in the Sony Building, Yukie took us outside the restaurant of a legendary sushi chef. I don’t remember his name, but he had recently been the focus of a documentary. His restaurant is incredibly small, but reservations must be made a month in advance in order to eat there. There is also no menu. The food is whatever the chef feels like preparing that day. If you want to eat there, bring lots of money as the cost is a staggering $300 per person to sample this legend’s wares.
From there, it was off to the Shinjuku district where we visited the Square Enix store. Square Enix is a video game company best known for creating the Final Fantasy series of games. It was a very small shop, but it had lots of interesting models to look at. I ended up picking up some mystery monster toys for my niece and nephew.
After our visit to Square Enix, we headed over to Harajuku where we enjoyed a late lunch at a ramen restaurant. I ordered a Kanoban (spicy) pork ramen. Dave and Mat ordered similar dishes, but theirs had eggs in them. When we received our meals, they inspired the classic Matism, “I can smell the porky goodness.” And it was a delicious meal.
Once we had recharged our batteries with the food, we explored the market in Harajuku which has a more underground feel. I bought a t-shirt for myself that had a kanji which translated to “I’m in Japan” and bought a Hello, Kitty thingamajig for my sister-in-law. I also caved to peer pressure as I bought a crepe along with Mat and Dave. I’m usually not much for sweets, but this was an excellent dessert.
Soon our time was up and our group of merry wanderers made its way to Shibuya where we stopped at a bazaar. I did most of my souvenir shopping at this place as there were all sorts of items to choose from. I chose several beautiful items made out of ceramics for my friends and family like fish, lotus blossoms, and a few interesting stones.
Afterwards, we headed back to our hotel for a little bit of down time before our group headed out to a kaiten (conveyor belt) sushi restaurant for dinner. The name is just what it sounds like. We sat around a giant centerpiece that had all kinds of sushi being moved by conveyor belt. If something caught your interest, you grabbed it and enjoyed it. When you were finished eating, the plates would be counted up and that’s what you would be charged. I seem to recall that the price was 118 yen (a bit over $1) a plate. Mat, who has a superhuman metabolism, said he had polished off 18 plates of sushi when he had eaten at this place 2 years previously. Mind you, the plates are about the size of a tea saucer with a just a piece or two of sushi on each dish.
Once we had dined, it was back to the Hotel Tokyo Metropolitan where we took it easy for the rest of the night. We were going to need all of our strength tomorrow as we were heading for the centerpiece of the Tokyo Maximum Tour. . .the Tokyo Game Show.