Archive for the 'Japan' Category

I Drink Tea with Cats

One of my favorite parts of Japan was going to JaLaLa, a Neko Cafe, with my aunt. Neko means cat in Japanese. However, a Neko Cafe is not a cafe FOR cats, but rather a place to drink tea while playing with cats. After you take off your shoes, place your bag in a cubby (one not occupied by a snoozing cat), and read the rules (Do not wake a cat that is sleeping, Treat the cats nicely, etc…) you are sent to a little room with a sink to wash your hands with both soap and hand sanitizer. (They were very particular about this part). Then you are given a drinks menu. We chose our tea, picked it up at the little window connected to the kitchen, and drank it at a tiny little table (with a cat sleeping underneath it). The only cat that was awake was Anne, so I played with her a little bit with one of the many cat toys strewn around the place. It was so cozy and nice, and I was sad that we had to leave after a half hour to go to our baseball game. I would LOVE to go back there again.

Giant Gundam stalks Tokyo

The 18 meter tall Gundam in Odaiba officially goes on-line this Saturday. He’s part of a publicity stunt to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the anime series and to bring attention to Tokyo’s bid to host the 2016 Olympics. We visited while it during the last stages of construction. If you’re in Tokyo, my recommendation is to take the monorail out at night and visit when the giant mobile suit is lit up. Follow the path around the waterfront away from Gundam and you’ll encounter a copy of the Statue of Liberty. The island’s mall complex isn’t interesting, but a huge selection of gashapon on the top floor of one of the buildings kept us entertained for awhile.

Star Wars tenugui

Tenugui are 3.5 ft by 1 ft printed cloth strips used as wall hangings, head scarves, present wrapping and towels. I found this awesome assortment of Star Wars themed tenugui on the top floor of the Kiddy Land toy store on Omotesando Street in Tokyo.

20 moments from our family trip to Japan

The day after school shut for the summer, we headed to Tokyo to visit my brother and his family. We had a great experience that blew away our expectations and preconceptions. Here are just a few of the adventures we had in our two weeks in Tokyo, Kanazawa and Kyoto.

  • Cheering the Yakult Swallows in their win over the Lions at Jingu Stadium
  • Taking the monorail to Odaiba to see the giant Gundam
  • Buying crazy socks in Harajuku
  • Stumbling upon the original Nintendo offices in Kyoto
  • Snacking on Crunky Popjoy and sweet potato cakes
  • Hiking the tourist-free trail behind Kiyomizu-dera
  • Discovering a hidden alter to Buddha in a Kyoto alley
  • Feeling a hawk swoop between us to snatch Nettie’s SoyJoy bar
  • Grilling our own food at a Korean BBQ in Ebisu
  • Sketching temples and gardens
  • Watching the country fly by from the window of our bullet train
  • Shopping at the Tenjin market at Kitano Tenmangu
  • Getting iced coffee, green tea and jelly drinks from the ubiquitous beverage machines
  • Playing in the mist and picnicking at Showa Kinen Park
  • Feeding the Carp and the Gashapon
  • Reading Doraemon and Pok√©mon
  • Eating at Kaikaya by the Sea
  • Visiting Totoro at the Ghibli Museum
  • Being greeted like royalty at the Tokyu Food Show’s morning opening
  • Hanging out with our expatriate family/tour guides for a great couple weeks