Monday, May 12, 2014

Fernandezes in Japan: Tokyo Day 1

After a refreshing stay and a bountiful buffet brunch in Sheraton Hiroshima, thanks again to our family friend Tita Beth, we set off to Tokyo via Shin-Osaka by Shinkansen Sakura and changed trains from there.
The reserved car seats for the Sakura train were the best seats we've had yet. Sakura, by the way, is the Japanese name for cherry blossoms. The train just started its service on 2011 and the seats appeared to be still brand new. It was spacious and felt like a green car even though it was just ordinary reserved seating.
We had a pictorial in front of the vending machines in Shin-osaka station while waiting for our train to Tokyo. I think that was when Joselle found her favorite drink in Japan, Calpis. She did not drink it yet at the moment but she showed interest in it and asked me what was it like. I told her it was something like yakult and I thought to myself I'll let her try it later if we found it again. For now we just bought Milk tea which is my favorite.
By the time we reached Tokyo, it was already 4pm and getting dark. We headed to Shinjuku by the JR Chuo line and deposited our bags in a coin locker inside the platform. I remember the locker was so loud and noisy. Anyway, after that we went to the famous photo op site LOVE sign in front of Shinjuku i-land building by foot.

Along the way, we saw a street singer singing at the side of a pedestrian lane in front of Shinjuku station. This was not a rare occurrence but I saw him also getting warned by a nearby guard when we were leaving. He was probably obstructing traffic with the crowd he was making. That is Japan for you, always thinking about the public.
We met a Korean couple who were taking pictures in front of the love sign before us, and we asked them if they could take our pictures too. They were kind enough to comply and even suggested poses for us as well. I asked them if they wanted us to take theirs too, but I don't know if they didn't understand but they refused to give us their camera. They only spoke Korean. I wish I could speak it too.
After the photo shoot, we went ahead to the Tokyo metropolitan office observation deck. It was only a couple of blocks away from the love sign and a good place for a date. The Tokyo lights observed from above could be very romantic. There was still some dusk sunlight when we reached the top of the building but we were able to experience the light fade away and the city lights shine like stars below us. With romantic music coming from the restaurant inside the observation deck, we were able to enjoy the scenery of Tokyo at its finest. 
We then found a purikura or print club booth inside the deck and went in to take our first purikura in Japan, or our very first ever for that matter. It was regular fair for a purikura in Japan but I forgot to mention that there was a time limit to Joselle. I told Joselle that we could go to Akihabara the next day and take another one as she wasn't satisfied at the drawing we made on our purikura within the time limit.
We then headed underground towards the subway to go to our dinner reservation at Alice in fantasy book restaurant. Even though it was still in Shinjuku, we had to take the subway to Shinjuku 3-chome. The restaurant was difficult to find as it was hidden in the underground of a building. The restaurant was kind enough to accommodate us even though we were 1 hour earlier than our reservation. 
Once you enter the restaurant from the lobby, you would feel like you entered a real fantasy book. The main door was shaped like a big book cover and a waitress dressed as the bunny will guide you to your seat. The waitresses are also dressed in Alice's costume. The restaurant itself was not so big, but the mirrors on the walls made it look like it was bigger. Not to mention the gorgeous chandelier and table seats that looked like they came from the mad-hatter's tea party. It was a wonderfully themed restaurant.
The food was very good as well. We were told that we needed to order one drink and one entree per person. Besides that, there was also a 500 yen fee for entrance, but with it comes a free appetizer: crackers that said "eat me" and a choice of your favorite dip. I ordered dum and dee which was a set of 2 non alcoholic cocktails which were glowing blue and red with light bulbs in it. They said I could enjoy them separately or mix them both as I pleased. I liked one of them but the other was too tart for my taste. In the end I mixed both of them and it seemed to balance off a bit. Joselle ordered the Fantasyland carousel for her cocktail which was recommended by our waitress. It was apple flavored and had a rose like scent with a plastic rose sitting in the middle.
The main course was tenderloin mille-feuille shaped like a guard of hearts and cream spaghetti with bacon shaped like a rose. They were both unexpectedly good, as I expected less from a themed restaurant. I thought they only make the food look nice and paid less attention to the taste. I was proved wrong. We also had Alice's handmade chocolate cake with ice cream on top for dessert. It also had a biscuit shaped like Alice as a decoration. I could imagine why there were so many girls eating there as the food was so cutely designed and so intricately decorated. We had our fill and when it was time to go, they gave us strawberry teabags which said "drink me." From the beginning to the end it felt like we were in Alice's wonderland.

That was our first day in Tokyo.


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