I honestly feel that (more so than any where else) shopping is the major pastime here in Tokyo. Department stores and malls are often located in the same buildings as train stations and business offices, and dozens of shops line the streets just outside. The suit-clad employees are seen at all hours (before work, during break, after work, etc.) browsing the shops, making their purchases, clicky-clacking here and there. And as it is part of the culture here and as we want the full cultural experience, we felt deeply compelled to immerse ourselves in the shopping culture here.
Why is everything soooo damn cute here?!?!?! (May M.)
Today we spent our day at the Imperial Palace East Garden (Higashi Gyoen), which includes remnants of castle walls and towers still remain. Just off the Tokyo Station, the garden, built for recreation and defense, is still well maintained and is absolutely stunning, complete with ponds, waterfalls and koi fish. It is quite pleasant and we spent several hours among the flowers and bushes, capturing the Kodak moments that so often arose.
After several long hours, we headed back toward the Tokyo station, but being absolutely famished, we had to refuel – and what better way then at the convenient Marunouchi Building directly above the station? The huge building has at least 5 floors of shops and restaurants, and after much menu-comparing, we decided on Katsugen, a lovely katsu restaurant on the 6th floor. After much pointing and nodding and bowing of our heads, we finally ordered. And it was quite possibly the most delicious and most expensive katsu I have ever had.
There were several varieties available, including pork loin, shrimp, chicken, fish fillets, and even minced pork. All entrees came with shredded cabbage salad, pickled daikon and cucumbers, dried fish, clam miso soup, and a large portion of rice. It was super satisfying and totally filled us for the rest of the day. Something about the panko was very delicate – melts in your mouth, and I swear there is a tad bit of coconut milk in the batter. The bill ran a little on the steep side (1800-2500 yen), and I’m not sure my college checking account can handle it – but I will worry about that later. We all have credit cards for a reason, right? 😉
After the heavy meal, we had to exercise – ourselves and wallets. And oh boy, we made good use of the Marunouchi, especially the Loft (think Target with TONS of cute stationary). We followed that up by a trip to Ginza to window shop and find Muji – essentially an Ikea with clothing. And we proceeded to buy even more stationary. Sigh. Tokyo is a shopper’s paradise. And as if that wasn’t enough activity in one day, we had to go Karaoking near Shinagawa station. Two hours was about 14,000 yen for 4 people (EXPENSIVE!), but it was fun reliving Motown, those days of boy bands and early Britney, and attempting to rap crude rap lyrics. There is an embarrassing video up somewhere of me doing Billie Jean – NOT pretty. Pray you never find it.
All in all a full day – soo much fun with my 3 friends. I’ve known them since the 6th grade, would you believe it? And yes, we still keep in touch despite going to school in different parts of California. It’s been a good 10 years almost since I’ve known them, and we still laugh and giggle like we did in 6th grade.
Until soon readers!