Tokyo as Told by Kyle the Sequel

Hello there. Good to see you again. It’s me… Kyle:  son of my mother who writes these posts in a loving and motherly way and world-renown blogger.

It’s time for round 2. You know the drill, Bill.

So, It turns out that the weather was really bad in Osaka and our ship needed to refuel, so we had one more day in Tokyo. Yay?! We actually really wanted to go to Osaka since there are some wicked cool Buddhist temples there and whatnot… but of all the stops to get put at twice, Tokyo would definitely be at the top. This time we went out at a more reasonable time and only spent a couple of hours in the city (since our previous day’s excursion was so massive and we were all really tired). We were determined to go to a few of the shopping malls in some of the train stations and visit one of the shrines in the middle of the city. Did we end up doing any of these things? Well, you’re here and listening to me (which I greatly appreciate) so you’re about to find out.

From right to left: Kayla Bo Bayla Banana Nana Fo Fayla, Mr. Sourpuss, Sarah Conner from Terminator, and Thumb

We hopped on the train and got blasted with even more terrifying ads before landing at our first stop, which was one of the train station marketplaces. It took us a bit of time to find the market since the signs were all in Japanese (and were just a weeeeeee bit misleading), but eventually we found it underneath the train station.

Unfortunately we didn’t get a large-scale photo of just what the market looked like (mostly because we were tired and it was difficult to take any photos down there with all of the people) but believe me, the amount of shops and things to do down there was staggering. Each of the subway tunnels moving people in-between the different tracks were heavily populated with knick-knack stores, restaurants, and other fun places for us to poke our heads into. Needless to say, we hung out here for a couple of hours.

This was a Jump Shop? It had a lot of stuff similar to what we’d already seen in Electric Town so we didn’t stick around for too long. Also, does that bag(?) on the right say ‘Die Organic’ or ‘Oldie Gorganica?’ Either way I should have bought it…
It’s really difficult to mentally wrap your mind around the merchandise in these stores. If you can’t already tell, Kayla is attempting to do that very thing right here. That’s why her head looks like it’s always expanding (Love you, Kayla).
These are all the different flavors of Kit-Kat candy bars in Japan (or at least in this little side-store we found). The most notable one is ‘wasabi.’ Good luck imagining what that tastes like.
While we were walking around we saw a lot of lines like this just outside the doors of a few notable sushi restaurants. This got us really excited for lunch, since we knew that if there was a line, the sushi must be pretty good (we hadn’t actually had sushi in Japan yet. Shhhh. I know, I know. I’m getting to that).

Mom and Fred went to a convenient chair massage place and Kayla and I went around to explore on our own terms (I.E do all the nerdy stuff). We found a store with a lot of cute kawaii bear merchandise, a Pokemon store, a store dedicated to Snoopy from the Peanuts(?), and our favorite… a Studio Ghibli store. If you don’t know what Studio Ghibli is, it’s a really popular and high-quality Japanese animation studio. They’ve made films like My Neighbor TotoroPrincess Mononoke, and Spirited Away. I’m a little bit disappointed because we don’t have any photos for the store itself (that might be my fault because I was responsible for pictures), but it was really lovely store. All of the shelves were made of wood and there were tons of really intricately designed statues and leaves to help create a very mystical atmosphere (like you were standing in one of the film’s worlds). We ended up getting Kayla two Studio Ghibli art books for her birthday which she absolutely adores.

SUSHI was next on our list! We were really hungry by this point in the day, so we dropped Freddy off at a conveniently-placed Starbucks (since he can’t stand to be around seafood).  Afterwards we moved into food mode and began scouring for the best sushi joint in the whole marketplace. There were so many to choose from, but we finally settled on what was called a Sushi Go-Round.

That look in their eyes… the slight twitch in the nose… it’s Hungry Boy and his companion: Starving Girl.

The Sushi Go-Round was super cool for a multitude of reasons. Our server brought us over to our own individual booth where we were met with an incredibly strange sight:

This is the conveyer belt system, which took us a little while to figure out… but it ended up being really neat. We ordered the individual sushi pieces on that mini terminal there and then after a few minutes it would literally be delivered via the second conveyer belt up top. It was absolutely amazing each and every time it happened and it made the experience all the better. The sushi was straight from the kitchen too (as it should be?) so it was fresh and super duper awesome. The conveyer belt down below seemed to be advertising other dishes that you could pick up at your leisure (which baffled all of us because we had no idea how they’d know if we did that… but that mystery was solved a little later).
Gorgeous sushi. Notice that Kayla is already going for her sushi roll like the Starving Girl she is. We couldn’t wait to dig in to this glorious feast you see before you… on your computer screen.  See all of the different types of plates?  They each have a cost associated with them.  When the server comes at the end of the meal, they just add up how many of each plate you have…and you know how much you pay!
The ONLY complaint I had for the restaurant was that no server came by to give us water (which was a little bit frustrating since I was mega thirsty). This did, however, influence us to look at the drink menu on our terminal where we saw the very peculiar melon-flavored Fanta. Since we had already let the wasabi Kit-Kats behind we jumped to the occasion and ordered it. It ended up tasting like a jolly ranger, surprisingly, and was nice and yummy. I honestly wish we had this back home.

The sushi was fantastic. It was probably the best sushi experience I’ve ever had (and we know some top-quality sushi restaurants back at home) so it was a pleasant surprise. I guess Japan lives up to the hype when it comes to sushi (that could have just been that restaurant though. It’s hard to determine with only one restaurant to refer to, you know)? After being sufficiently fed and entertained we regrouped with Freddy and headed out to the shrine that was closest to our train station (maybe a few stops over).

A lovely shot by the lovely Freddy. The slight angle of the camera helps represents the stability of the shrine’s arches… and the three goofballs towards the bottom represent the fact that literally anyone can just walk into these sacred shrines apparently.
This beautiful staircase is what we were met with when we started walking up to the shrine’s courtyard. We walked up these steps as quietly as possible since everything around us was practically silent.
This is a historical picture of an ancient shrine monkey giving a sign of approval. I believe this is the technique known as the ‘thumbs-up.’
This is the first building we came across. We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside so this is all you get. I don’t even remember what was inside though so maybe it wasn’t all that interesting? It certainly looks cool though.
This fountain was sitting just outside the first building we came across and was/is intended for washing your hands and mouth before going into the sacred space inside.
A view of the courtyard. Notice the peaceful air, clean stones, and loud construction taking place with that building in the background there.
These two girls were wearing colorful kimonos. I still have no idea where they came from or why they’re dressed like that… but they’re at least cute, aren’t they?
This other fountain was located just outside of the shrine and people were actively using it to wash their hands and mouth. 
A closer look at the fountain. A great description of that closer look at the fountain to accompany that closer look at the fountain. I’m good at this, I swear.

Surprisingly, the shrine didn’t really offer a whole ton of things for us to see or do.  By this point we were worn out from all of the walking and decided that we had done all we had wanted to do for the day, so we hung out for roughly 10 minutes and then took a train back to the port to get back on the ship.

If you’re wondering why this photo looks pretty great, that’s because Mom took it.  It’s of the port at Yokohama right near our cruise ship.

And thaaaaaaat’s Tokyo. We really enjoyed our time here and I think we’re going to go out of our way to come back here sometime. If you ever get a chance to go to Tokyo, I highly recommend it. The food is great, there’s a ton of stuff to do, and the people are super polite and respectful of the people around them.

*sniff* I’m going to miss you Japan.

Thanks for reading, yo. We’ll see if Mom makes the mistake of letting me write more of these. See ya!

-Kyle

One Reply to “Tokyo as Told by Kyle the Sequel”

  1. Really interesting. Thanks, Kyle – fun to follow your family’s adventures! I tell you, I could taste that sushi and was salivating, it looked so good and your descriptions were so great (and funny)! Glad you guys are having fun – hope the weather clears up. Sounds like Fred is feeling better. Love and hugs to all!

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